Prague's Church of Our Lady Victorious on Karmelitska - or Carmelite - Street is home to one of the most revered images in the Roman Catholic world, the Bambino di Praga, or Child of Prague. We'll come to the famous statue in a moment, but first let's find out a little about the Church of Our Lady Victorious, and its troubled history.
If Prague's Veletrzni Palac or Trade Fair Palace didn't house the modern art collection of the National Gallery, most of us would probably not notice the large building that stands just a few metres away from the city's exhibition complex. But the Palace is one of Prague's earliest and largest buildings in the Functionalist style.
For years now one of the most impressive publishing houses in the Czech Republic has been Joachim Dvorak's Labyrint, focusing on serious prose and poetry as well as the arts, even offering a number of illustrated children's books. Joachim Dvorak has been in love with books all his life and today publishes a number of prominent Czech authors that include Lenka Reinerova, Jaroslav Rudis, and New York-based children's author / illustrator Peter Sis. It was at a book launch of Sis' in Prague last December that I first met Dvorak and saw him promoting
This week saw the launch of a book entitled "100 Works from the National Gallery in Prague", which was published to coincide with the 210th anniversary of the institution's foundation. The man behind the publication is Milan Knizak, director of the Czech National Gallery; he says selecting 100 pieces from the many thousands owned by the state body was no easy task.
The Czech theatre group Vlastenecka Omladina, or Patriotic Youth, was founded 120 years ago in Vienna. It performs two productions annually for the Czech-speaking minority in Austria. But this week audiences in Prague also have the chance to enjoy its work, as the group takes part in a mini-festival entitled Open Arms 2006.
Opera is considered by many of its devotees to be the highest form of the performing arts. Back in the early 19th century, at the time of the Czech national revival, an original Czech opera was just what the Czechs needed in their effort to catch up with their illustrious neighbours. 180 years ago this week, the first Czech opera - "Dratenik" or "The Tinker" by Frantisek Skroup was premiered in Prague.
Mozart's Don Giovanni is one of the best known operas of all time, but how many people know that it was written, in part, in Prague and premiered here in 1787? Mozart had an exceptionally good relationship with the city, where his music was generally far better appreciated than in Vienna, so it is apt that Prague is playing a big part in celebrations of Mozart's 250th birthday this year.
To mark the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birth, we visit the Villa Bertramka, where the great Austrian composer stayed in Prague. The villa now houses a permanent exhibition devoted to Mozart and his hosts Josefina and Franz Xaver Dusek - two renowned 18th century musicians. Dita Asiedu was given a tour by the museum's director Lenka Pokorna.
The Czech Republic marks Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, January 27th, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945. Some 80,000 Bohemian and Moravian Jews perished in the Holocaust, and before the community could even start recovering from the war, the communist regime practically froze its activities. It was not until the fall of communism in 1989 that the Czech Jewish community could start to rebuild.
Theatre director Pavla Dombrovska has long been fascinated by Romany culture; inspired by the vigorous, joyful and often tragic tone of Gypsy music, and enthralled by this people's storytelling tradition. So she set out to adapt for the theatre a collection of Romany folktales: they were compiled - or rather, lovingly transcribed - by the noted scholar Dr Milena Hubschmannova, in the '60s and early '70s. But the play got off to a difficult start: Dombrovska was shocked to find how little she really understood of these "naïve" fairytales, and how