The writer Jan Stavinoha was born in Prague in May 1945, a couple of weeks after the Soviet Red Army freed the Czechoslovak capital from Nazi control. In 1968, the Soviet Army returned to Prague not as liberators but as oppressors. Stavinoha, then a young student of classical music, forged paperwork saying he was a "reliable person" worthy of a passport — and promptly fled to the West. Today, nearly forty years later, he is a popular 'Dutch' novelist, and, he says, a "tourist" in the land of his birth.
As of the 1st of January a few more items will be added to the national cultural heritage list. Among other monuments, the government has decided to include the bells of Prague's St Vitus' Cathedral, the television tower on Jested Mountain - one of the few architectural masterpieces of the communist era - a number of medieval manuscripts and also a collection of historic automobiles. The most famous among them is probably the legendary Tatra 87, in which the popular post-war explorers, Miroslav Zikmund and Jiri Hanzelka travelled around the
Gazing out of the window of a spacious room in a romantic neo-gothic chateau, I see the image of a woman in a beautiful early twentieth century dress sitting on a bench in the scenic park that spreads out before me. Two men, a writer and a poet, are keeping her company, taking in the calm of the landscape around them but keeping their eyes fixed on their muse - Sidonie Nadherna.
Did you know that the Czech Republic is the original home of the mass-produced gnome? Gnomes, elves and dwarves have quite a tradition here, but it is a tradition that has been scorned by snobs and neglected by the rest of us. Not any more: an exhibition currently showing at the Museum of Central Bohemia in Roztoky, just north of Prague aims to put things right. David Vaughan donned his red cap and went along, accompanied by the museum's programme director, Tana Pekarkova.
St. Stephen's Day - better known as 'Boxing Day' -- became known as such because that was when churches opened their alms boxes to hand out money to the poor, in the spirit of Christmas. In the Czech Republic, the day (in fact, the whole week) is one for feasting with family and settling down to watch 'pohadky' -- fairy tales -- on the telly. In that spirit, and as part of our holiday series, We now treat you to a look at some of the most beloved Czech fairytales on film.
"Christmas Eve" is the first ever concert melodrama that was introduced to the Czech audience. In celebration of the 130th anniversary of its first ever performance, Dita Asiedu explores how this masterpiece by the great Czech composer Zdenek Fibich was born and visits a Prague exhibition devoted to Christmas Eve in art.
The little town of Roztoky, just a few kilometres north of Prague is a perfect place for a day trip from the city. Its main landmark is the old castle - originally a moated gothic manor house - down by the River Vltava - which houses the Museum of Central Bohemia. Among its exhibits the castle includes a room furnished in the style of the mid-19th century, when Roztoky first became a popular out-of-town resort for better-off Prague citizens. Not far from the main castle there is also a mill and a delightful little building from the turn of the
This October the Czech Republic lost one of its greatest artists, with the death of Eva Svankmajerova. She was probably best known for her painting and her collaborative film work with her husband Jan Svankmajer, but she was also a very accomplished writer. We talk to Gwendolyn Albert, who translated her Surrealist novella, "Baradla Cave".