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.
The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes has made public never-before-published photos from Prague Castle from March 15th and 16th 1939, after Bohemia and Moravia were occupied by German troops and were proclaimed a protectorate of Nazi Germany. The historic photos, which show Adolf Hitler and other Nazi officials in stately rooms at Prague Castle, were only recently uncovered by researchers in the Prague City Archives.
If you can imagine a group of scientists in the 25th century going through the cushions of your couch, and excitedly labelling your loose change and lost socks, then you can get some idea of what has been going on in Prague Castle for over the last few months. Taking advantage of the restoration of a floor in a main hall, archaeologists sifting through the backfill have stumbled upon a hoard of items of everyday use - that are now historical treasures.
New finds by archaeologists under the floorboards of Prague Caste have helped to show the richness of life there during the renaissance and baroque periods. Finds at the imposing Vladislav Hall at the Old Palace include playing cards, remnants of letters and pages from books, buttons, safety pins, pipes, and beads. One of the biggest discoveries is a pocket sundial watch. Archaeologists worked at the hall from November until mid-February ahead of the reconstruction of the floor. They are expecting further discoveries from analysis of the timbers. The overall research is already painting a much fuller picture of place life in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Alžběta Pezoldová, heiress of the Schwarzenberg aristocratic family, has won a court battle over a family crypt after a court in Jindřichův Hradec, southern Bohemia, confirmed her claim on Tuesday. She lost several court cases in a protracted battle for the property but in January of this year the Czech Constitutional Court cancelled all previous verdicts in the case, making way for today’s ruling. Ms Pezoldová has filed lawsuits for the return of billion of crowns’ worth of former family property around the country.
The Czech Republic is famous as a country of castles but this week I had a chance to visit one that is truly exceptional: the renowned Konopiště Chateau, found just 40 kilometres south of Prague. Konopiště, together with its wide surroundings and gorgeous interiors, is of course particularly famous for its ill-fated last owner – the heir-apparent to the Austrian throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, assassinated, together with his wife, in Sarajevo in 1914 - the spark that set off the First World War. In this edition of Spotlight we visit some of
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