During the summer season many towns around the Czech Republic compete for tourists by putting on all kinds of festivals. Some towns have arts festivals of various kinds, while others celebrate all kinds of Czech folk traditions. Food and drink are also common themes, with Trebic for instance holding an annual potato festival. But surely one of the most unusual events of its kind has to be the "festival cesneku", or garlic festival, held every year in the town of Buchlovice in south Moravia.
This weekend I'm not actually in Prague - I'm a couple of hours' drive west of the capital, in the spa town of Karlovy Vary, which is currently hosting its 40th International Film Festival. The town gets its name - like Prague's Charles Bridge and Charles University - from Emperor Charles IV. The story goes that he stumbled upon the then little known village of Wary in 1358; he was so taken with its health giving waters that he built a bathtower nearby and gave it its prefix, and a royal charter, 12 years later.
Last year in the West Bohemian city of Plzen, the foundation stone was laid for a large bronze statue of General George Patton, whose 3rd US Army liberated the city in the spring of 1945. It seemed an apt gesture to remember one of the war's great generals, and the unveiling was to be one of the highpoints of this year's 60th anniversary celebrations taking place next week in Plzen. At the time no-one could have guessed that just a few months later the stone would be dug up again, and that the city would not have its statue after all, after city
I'm currently at the beautiful and romantic North Bohemian baroque chateau of Jezeri. It's about a two hour drive away from Prague and is actually a former Medieval castle that was rebuilt into a renaissance chateau in the sixteenth century, and then once again after a fire in the eighteenth century. Jezeri lies on the wooded southern slopes of the beautiful Krusne Hory, or Krusne Mountains, but instead of overlooking the ancient park that once stretched out for miles below, the chateau is on the edge of a vast opencast coal mining area. Jezeri
With its sloping cobbled streets, beautiful baroque churches and an abundance of historical architecture, Olomouc is easily one of the most appealing cities in the Czech Republic outside of Prague. Typically, this bustling university town in North Moravia owes much of its architectural splendour to its long and somewhat chequered past. Some claim that this ancient city dates back as far as Roman times, when it was reputed to have been founded by Julius Caesar himself.
What do Ireland, Italy, Cuba, and the Czech town of Bystrice nad Pernstejnem have in common? Well, they've all decided to crack down on smoking in public places. Bystrice - a quiet country town in Moravia - has become a Czech pioneer in the battle against tobacco. As of February, smoking will be banned in all buildings and facilities owned by the town.
Excreting in a gallery -how far should one go in protesting against an art exhibition. The TV star who was smuggled into the country. And, a message from the police: if you find your car's been stolen on Saturday morning -please look around your favourite pub first! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
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