The spokesman for public broadcaster Czech TV, Ladislav Šticha, has revealed that 1.5 million local viewers watched a live broadcast on Thursday on the signing of the new Start treaty at Prague Castle by the US and Russian presidents. By comparison, the figure is lower than the number of those who tuned in for coverage of last year’s visit by Pope Benedict XVI – more than 2.3 million, or the number of those who saw Barack Obama’s speech outside Prague Castle last year, in which he outlined his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons. That was seen by 1.7 million people.
The tourist season kicked off for Czech castles and chateaux on Saturday with the ceremonial opening of Křivoklat Castle in the west of Central Bohemia. Speaking at the event, Minister of Culture Václav Riedlbauch announced that season would see a continuation of last year’s Memorials Reborn project (Oživlé památky). In May, visitors will be able to take tours of Czech castles guided by the wardens and access parts of the monuments that are not generally open to the public. In June then that system will apply to castle gardens. The summer months are to highlight the household life of noblemen, and September will offer special programmes providing an inside look at the process of memorial restoration.
A stately home on the edge of Prague has been snapped up for just under a quarter of a billion crowns. The new owner of the well preserved Baroque Koloděje landmark will be getting not just a luxury property and grounds but also an interesting slice of Czech history. We look at the individual property and top of the range real estate market.
If there were a capital city of legendry in the Czech Republic, the town of Nepomuk would be a hot contestant for the honour. There are said to be graves that glow when someone’s about to die, a landscape littered with the petrified cattle of a greedy pagan and the ghost of an evil musketeer who walks the earth with the still-ferocious spectre of his dog. The official population of Nepomuk may be 3,700, but that’s only if you count the living.
Zbiroh Chateau has stood on its hill between the Křivoklátské and Brdy Forests since the 12th century, a beautiful thing, wistfully recalled in the famous melody by Václav Vačkář, “A Memory of Zbiroh”. Until recently, memories of Zbiroh were just about all anyone had, because the chateau and its many treasures and mysteries were strictly sealed off for most of the 20th century. The memory of its illustrious history is only resurfacing today.
A 15th century statue of Jesus Christ, considered to be the most valuable woodcutting in the Czech Republic, has been found after 20 years, during which time it was thought to be definitively lost. The statue was found in an organ loft, upside down between some chairs, in the Old Royal Palace. After getting its first restoration in almost 40 years and being remounted to its cross, the statue will be returned to its original home in the Basilica of St George, above the tomb of Prince Boleslav II.
Anything can get misplaced, even masterpieces of art, and caretakers at Prague Castle were well relieved this week when they rediscovered the 15th century wooden Statue of the Crucified Christ, 20 years after losing track of where it was stored. As it turns out, the statue they feared was lost forever was just a short way down the road from its proper home in the Basilica of Saint George. Earlier I spoke with Magda Machková, the curator of permanent collections at Prague Castle, who told me the story.
One of the best kept secrets among Czech castles and historic sites is the gorgeous Kozel Chateau founded in the late 18th century in western Bohemia. Founded by nobleman Jan Vojtěch Černín, a member of Emperor Joseph II’s court, the stone residence served an as exquisite hunting chateau and today is one of the best examples of Classicist architecture in Bohemia. The site is surrounded by fine lawns, a beautiful park and forests perfect for visits in the spring and summer. What’s more, Kozel is only an hour or so away from Prague and just minutes
One of the biggest cultural events of the season in the Czech Republic, the annual Shakespeare Summer Festival, has just begun at the Supreme Burgrave’s House at Prague Castle. Opening the festival on Thursday night was a new production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring the great Czech comic actor Bolek Polívka as Falstaff and directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Jiří Menzel.
Remnants of medieval wall dating back to 1041 unearthed in Břeclav
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