The eleventh edition of the Night of Open Churches gets underway across the Czech Republic on Friday. This year, more than 1,600 churches and other religious sites will remain open to the public until the late night hours. Visitors will be also able to attend concerts, exhibitions, workshop and other programmes:
Prague Castle held an open day on Saturday allowing the public to see parts
of the complex that are normally inaccessible. The free of charge event was
held to mark to start of the summer season at one of the country’s most
As well as getting to view the rooms where the president appoints governments and welcomes foreign dignitaries, visitors could peruse presents given to the head of state by visitors and a mock-up of a state dinner table.
The Office of the President is this year celebrating its centenary. Marking that anniversary, interwar presidential seals, copies of the Order of the White Lion (the highest state honour) and period documents were put on display on Saturday.
The Spanish Synagogue in Prague is set to close the public at the end of
May due to renovations, the Jewish Museum informed on Thursday. The
monument, built in the late 1860s in the Moorish style, is expected to
re-open at the end of next year. The aim of the renovation works is to
modernize the exhibitions and improve the visitor facilities.
The Spanish Synagogue is one of the most visited historic sights in Prague. Last year it attracted over 460,000 people. It currently houses an exposition on the history of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia in the 19th – 20th century and also serves as a concert venue.
The Czech Republic’s cultural heritage is set to become more accessible than ever after the Ministry of Culture announced it will create a freely accessible central database of the country’s heritage online. Dubbed Czechiana, the EU funded project will make it possible to see anything from maps, pictures and diaries normally located in Czech museums and galleries, on the internet by November 2020.
Demolition work will begin on the Prague centre Transgas building at the
turn of March and April, a representative of the company that owns it said.
Campaigners had fought in vain to preserve the Brutalist structure, which
is located between the National Museum and Czech Radio. The demolition work
will last for several months.
The owners of Transgas said last month that they were planning to either sell the building or the empty site that remains after its demolition, depending on how soon they could complete a sale.
The Czech state will remain owner of a Baroque flower garden in
Kroměříž, according to a ruling by the Moravia town’s district court,
which rejected a claim by the Archdiocese of Olomouc.
The Flower Garden of Kroměříž is exceptional in a broader European context as it represents a transition between late renaissance Italian gardens and classical Baroque gardens of the French style.
The Archdiocese argued that the garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site, forms a coherent whole with the adjacent chateau, both of which the Catholic Church recovered in 2015 in restitution. The properties had been confiscated by the communist regime.
The 18th century Villa Bertramka in Prague, notable for its connection to
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, has been declared a national cultural monument,
the Ministry of Culture announced on Monday.
The villa, which was turned into a museum dedicated to the famous composer several years ago, has been closed for over two years for reconstruction. The Mozart Society running the museum has had problems revitalizing the property and making it attractive for visitors.
According to the ministry, the status of a national cultural monument would help the society in its endeavour.
Mozart stayed in this villa on his visits to Prague in 1787 and 1791. The museum has acquired some of the composer’s valuable manuscripts, his harpsichord and a lock of his hair.
The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial
Communist proposal to tax churches on monies they receive in line with a
property restitution law enacted in 2012. The proposal will now go to the
Senate for further debate.
Opponents of the proposal argue that it is unjust to tax money paid in to the churches in compensation for properties confiscated by the Communist regime. They argue it is akin to punishing the victim of a theft and also unconstitutional, as in their view it violates earlier treaties.
The coalition government comprised of the ANO and Social Democrat parties backed the proposal by the Communists, who had threated to withdraw their tolerance of the minority government if they had rejected it.
According to the Communists, the state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to 16 churches under bilateral agreements.
In total, the churches should receive 75 billion crowns worth of land and property confiscated by the Communist regime and get 59 billion crowns worth of compensation money for the rest, to be paid out over a 30-year period.
The western Bohemian spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and
Mariánské Lázně have entered a wider joint bid for inclusion on the
Unesco World Heritage List.
In total 11 European towns known for their healing thermal waters have joined the bid, filed in Paris on Tuesday, under the heading the “Great Spas of Europe”.
The concept behind the joint Unesco application in part highlights the role of spa towns during the 18th century through the 1930s as intellectual hotbeds that helped spread the idea of a united, democratic Europe.
The other European locales are in Germany (Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen), Austria (Baden bei Wien), Italy (Montecatini Terme), France (Vichy), Belgium (Spa), and the United Kingdom (the City of Bath).
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