Before the Velvet Revolution, the picturesque southern Bohemian village of Polná na Šumavě, like others within the 22,000 hectares comprising the Boletice military training zone, was strictly off limits to most civilians. But a decade ago, the military began excluding populated areas from the vast no-go zone. Czech Radio recently visited Polná na Šumavě to get a sense of what life is like in such reborn villages.
The title Village of the Year for 2019 has gone to Lipová in the Usti
region. Ratibor, located in the Zlín region, Moravia, came second and
Libovice in Central Bohemia placed third.
The criteria include civic activities and social life, maintenance of buildings, energy sources and greenery. 206 villages competed for the title this year.
The competition aims to draw attention to small municipalities and encourage people living in the countryside to take an active part in the development of their village. The title has been awarded since 1995.
The Association of Local Administrations has warned that Czech small towns
and village are facing depopulation and called on the government to take
steps to resolve the situation, Czech Television reported.
The main reasons people are moving away from smaller urban areas are a reduction of services and insufficient civic amenities.
The head of the Association of Local Administrations, MEP Stanislav Polčák of the Mayors and Independents, told Czech Television that young people were moving to regional cities, leaving only older people in some areas.
The problems faced by specific municipalities are recorded on a special interactive map that the association has been working on for three years.
A new ranking of the best and worst places to live in the Czech Republic has just been published. The country’s major cities and surrounding municipalities generally performed well, while towns in the poorer regions of the northwest and northeast tend to lie at the bottom of the table. The index primarily aims to provide people with a list of locations that have a high quality of life, while also giving municipalities the means through which to better target their public spending.
Czech municipalities have become adept at managing their finances, suggests a study carried out by credit rating agency CRIF and cited by the news website iDnes.cz. The country’s local authorities as a whole have been in the black for the last eight years and no less than CZK 125 billion crowns lies in their collective bank accounts.
Prague is the second most sustainable city in Central and Eastern Europe after Vienna, suggests the Sustainable Cities Index, put together by international consultancy company Arcadis. In comparison with major cities around the world, it has placed 23rd. The index, which is put together every two years, describes the Czech capital as a “balanced innovator.” I asked Jan Jurčíček, head of marketing at Arcadis, to explain what that means in more detail:
Nine towns in the Czech Republic have streets with identical names, despite
a 2011 regulation issued by the Interior Ministry that this must be
corrected, Czech Television reported.
Identically named streets present a problem for postal workers, police and paramedics, and a surprisingly large number of towns had them.
This is due to the merging of satellite villages with bigger towns in the vicinity and the fact that streets are often named after famous figures in history.
At one point the town of Kladno near Prague had 31 twin streets with the same name which were only distinguished by their locality.
The Interior Ministry is pushing to resolve the problem, but does not have the right to order towns to change the name of a given street.
More than 100 neighbourhoods in Prague and 23 other towns and cities joined
the annual outdoor festival Zažít město jinak (Different City
Experience) organized by the civic association Auto*Mat.
Billed as a celebration of public space, the event involves neighbours getting together for a meal outdoors, concerts, theatre performances and workshops.The event has gained increasing popularity and is being held for the thirteenth time this year.
Central Europe abounded in thriving Jewish communities for many centuries. They were frequently a target of official discrimination and had to try very hard to carve out their place in societies that were often hostile to their culture and religion. But there are many examples of peaceful coexistence of the Jewish diaspora in the predominantly Catholic Czechia. One of them can be found in the heart of the Highlands region.
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