Newlyweds Zika and Lida Ascher left Prague in early 1939 for the UK. There Zika Ascher launched a silk business that was soon thriving – and began approaching top artists, including Matisse and Henry Moore, to produce designs for a special collection of scarves, the Ascher Squares. Many of them, and other exquisite pieces produced by the company, have just gone on show as part of extensive exhibition here in the Czech capital. Shortly before it opened, I spoke to the couple's son, Peter Ascher.
When 23-year-old Jan Vlachynský and his friend decided to open a bar in their local town they hedged their bets on originality and customer service. Seven years later it seems their project paid off bigtime. He now co-owns five bars across Brno whose distinct character has not only made them popular among locals, but has been covered by prestigious outlets such as the New York Times and The Guardian. I popped down to the Moravian capital to ask him about the secret behind his success.
In a world still ruled by men, Hana Podolská –later dubbed the Czech “Coco Chanel” –fulfilled her childhood dream – she married a man who loved her passionately and built up a family fashion empire. Her clothes and fashion advice was sought after by the film stars of the First Republic, the wives of rich entrepreneurs and the country’s first ladies. But the communist take-over robbed her of everything she had worked hard to achieve and she died abandoned and forgotten in the harsh normalization years following the crushing of the Prague Spring.
Czechs are marking twenty years since the death of Jaroslav Foglar, youth movement activist and author of the legendary comics Rapid Arrows. Among the events remembering the famous writer is a performance of his novel Mystery of the Puzzle Box at Prague’s Minor theatre, which has been sold out for weeks. Meanwhile, the Scout Foundation of Jaroslav Foglar, which is in charge of his heritage, is releasing a special, limited edition of his autobiography.
Whether it is glutton-free, paleo, vegan or just low-carb, the modern world offers special diets for the most selective consumers. But how does one eat when all but the most basic foodstuffs are cut off? That was the question that Czechs living during the Protectorate era between 1939 and 1945 had to ask themselves nearly every day.
The festive dinner on Czech Christmas Eve is mostly associated with fried carp and potato salad, but few people know that this is a fairly modern tradition, established only after the Second World War. In the old days before the tradition of fried carp and salad was established, Czechs used to eat more humble meals, although they came in a rich variety of styles.
It is not just at local markets where gingerbread in all shapes and colours can be found. Baking the delicacy is a treasured tradition among most Czech families as well. On average each household bakes around eight types of gingerbreads, known as the perník, ahead of Christmas and children are often excited to partake in their preparation. To find out more about the way they are made, Radio Prague visited a museum that specialises in the baking of exquisite gingerbreads.
Prague to finish reconstructing Kafka’s house in May
Underwater remains of Prague’s first bridge explored by researchers
The 1946 US operation that proved a propaganda coup for Czechoslovakia’s Communists
Why is it so hard to remove a Czech president?
David Černý’s CyberDog: an (educational) ‘nuts and bolt’ tour of Europe’s first robotic wine bar