If you've ever set foot in a Prague souvenir shop, then you know the work of Jiri Votruba. An architect by training, a painter and illustrator out of love, and a celebrated -- yet somewhat reluctant -- graphic designer by providence, Votruba's work is seemingly everywhere. His often humorous images depicting the sights of the Czech capital and its famous sons, in particular Franz Kafka, adorn countless postcards, tee-shirts, and coffee mugs. We caught up with the artist in his studio this week to hear about his latest projects, and began by asking
Under communism it was practically impossible to be homeless in this country. Since the 1989 revolution that has changed dramatically, with one survey finding there were over 3,000 people living on the streets in the capital alone. For the down and out, getting back on their feet is no easy task. But for a few years now a Prague theatre group has been helping the homeless regain some self-esteem, and a semblance of normality. On Monday it premiered a new play.
He's no diplomat but he has survived nine foreign ministers: meet the Czech Foreign Ministry's 50 year old mascot Pepik. Corruption is a serious problem, but it's giving Czechs a lot of laughs. And, an earthquake rattles window panes in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
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.