Jan Špidlen is the fourth generation of his family to work as a master violin maker. What are some of the secrets to crafting top class violins? And how has the industry changed in the last few decades? I discussed those questions with Špidlen surrounded by an array of traditional tools at his Prague centre workshop. But I began by asking him about the first violin he ever produced?
The annual Letní Letná festival returns to Prague next week with some of the world’s best contemporary circus acts, from puppet shows and cabaret to breath-taking acrobatic performances. The 16th edition of the event kicks off on Wednesday night with a sky walk over the Vltava. I asked to Letní Letná manager Ivana Pěkná to tell me more about the opening night.
EDISON Filmhub is a new boutique cinema in the heart of Prague. It exhibits top festival films, premiers, hosts debates, discussions and talks along with a modern café. The former Edison electric company venue, a functionalist building protected by UNESCO, opened its doors to the public on June 1st. I spoke to the director of Film Europe Media Company, Ivan Hronec, about what makes EDISON Filmhub so unique and how it aims to draw visitors to the cinema in the age of Netflix and other streaming services.
Over 90 percent of books in the Czech National Library printed after the year 1800 are threatened with destruction caused by acid, which has been forming in the paper over the years. The library has now taken a major step to prevent the valuable volumes from turning to dust, sending several thousand of them to Germany to undergo special chemical treatment, called de-acidification.
For nearly ten years, the company Nanovo has been buying, renovating and re-selling design items from Czechoslovakia’s Communist era, from home décor to furniture. I visited the company’s warehouse in Prague’s Vysočany district to meet its two owners, Jirka Mrázek and Adam Karásek and I first asked them if it was still easy these days to come across original pieces from communist Czechoslovakia:
T-Club is the name of one of the two gay clubs that operated in the Czech capital under Communism. The place, frequented by the LGBT community, was immortalized in a series of pictures taken by photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková. They are now on display within the Prague Pride festival, which got underway on Monday.
Gerald Turner is a leading translator of Czech literature into English and is currently preparing to take on no less a work than Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk. Though now mainly based in his native England, throughout the 1970s Turner lived in Prague, where he lost his enthusiasm for communism and fell in with lots of notable figures on the city’s art scene. Our tour of “his Prague” begins at the pub U Parlamentu in the Old Town.
Czech award-winning singer and songwriter Lenka Dusilová has launched a new project aimed at raising funds to repair dilapidated historical landmarks in the former Sudetenland in north and west Bohemia. The four-part music and visual show, called MONUMENT / UM, features video-mapping by VJ Aeldryn. The second part of the series took place this Saturday in the medieval castle Haunštejn in Ostrov nad Ohří.
Czechia has 12 cities, towns and other historic sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. They are as diverse as the magnificent center of Prague and rural cottages in the village of Holašovice in the South of Bohemia. Does inclusion on the prestigious list still help local authorities to keep them preserved? And aren’t the growing crowds of tourists becoming more of a problem? Vít Pohanka looked for the answers, both in the Czech Republic and at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.