October 28th is the Czech National Day, the anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, an opportunity look at the role of music - particularly patriotic music - in the creation and development of the Czech nation. A good place to start is Bedrich Smetana's opera Libuse, which is an early and very important musical manifestation of the Czech national awakening which had begun in the early 1800s.
The Czech construction boom of the nineties was an exciting time to be alive for people whose business it is to make sense of the past. There have been more large-scale archaeological digs in Prague over the past decade than ever before in the city's history. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of a far larger and wealthier early medieval city than historians had long believed.
Presenters on the BBC Czech Service had the unenviable task of announcing their own demise this morning. The BBC World Service is about to introduce sweeping changes to its programming - ten of its language services, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, are to be axed in order to finance a new Arab-language TV station. Among the ten services to go is the Czech Service, which has been on air since 1939. John Renner is a member of the World Service Management Board. He told Radio Prague why the changes were being made:
Earlier this year he captured the hearts of many young listeners, winning the country's 2nd Pop Idol contest: now singer Vlasta Horavath hopes to follow up his success with his very first album. Titled 'Misto zazraku' - roughly translated as 'A Place of Miracles' it was released on Monday evening and Radio Prague was there.
This week in One on One Rob Cameron speaks to TV producer Zora Cejnkova, who's just returned from Cuba where she was forced to work undercover after being refused filming permission by the Cuban authorities. The result is Cuba Incognito - a look at ordinary life on Castro's "Island of Freedom". Zora began her journalism career in 1994, as an investigative reporter for the commercial station TV Nova.
The Czech Republic lost one of its finest artists this week, Eva Svankmajerova: writer, painter, and Surrealist artistic collaborator with her husband Jan on numerous mixed live-action/stop animation films including the award-winning "Little Otik" in 2000. Over forty-five years Eva and Jan Svankmajer became inseparable on the Czech arts scene. They collaborated on deeply visceral works that echoed the darkness of totalitarian life as well as life in general, hiding and subsequently revealing surfaces beneath surfaces: sexuality, corruption, hidden
As we reported on Tuesday, restoration work is still going on in order to repair the damage caused by the massive floods in the summer of 2002 in various archives around Prague. Because the memory is so fresh and conservation experts in the Czech Republic have gathered a lot of experience over the past three years, the Prague City Council has offered to send a team of Czech experts to New Orleans to help the city restore its historic heritage damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Prague Castle dominates the sky-line of the Czech capital and is one of the most potent symbols of this country's culture and history. A new exhibition, at the Castle, features haunting and intriguing photographs of the former seat of Czech kings - from the days when the art of photography was very much in its infancy.