At only 25, Michael Hugo Rosak may seem rather young to run the Czech branch of an international NGO. But Michael is well-qualified to head the Prague office of AFS, having himself taken part in its international student exchange programme while still at school. AFS stands for American Field Service, and was started during the First World War by Americans who preferred to provide back-up services rather than fight; their experiences in Europe convinced them of the value of spending time abroad. But when did AFS first come to this country? That
The second half of the 1960s in Czechoslovakia was a time of change. Things were happening that had not been seen, or even heard of, for almost two decades, since the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia took over the country in February 1948. Twenty years later, people in Czechoslovakia began to wonder whether Soviet-type of 'socialism' was the only way to go. On the eve of the anniversary of the crushing of that movement, we look back at a momentous era in modern Czech history.
Pivnice U Zlateho Tygra, At the Golden Tiger, is a name that resonates with all Czech beer lovers. Located on Husova Street in Prague's Old Town, it is one of the oldest pubs in the centre of the city and was the second place in the capital to serve the renowned Pilsner Urquell. Among its famous regulars was Bohumil Hrabal, the great Czech novelist.
Hradec Kralove lies on the spectacular confluence of the Elbe and Orlice Rivers, about 100 km east of Prague. This extraordinarily pretty town boasts a rich architectural heritage, especially in its historical quarter where handsome renaissance buildings testify to the wealth and status the town enjoyed thanks to the trade that used to pass through en route to Silesia.
In recent years Lenka Reinerova has acquired almost legendary status as Prague's last living writer in the German language. Her novels, stories and essays, many of which are strongly autobiographical, are widely read both in Germany and the Czech Republic. She is currently at the centre of a fascinating literary project. Prague has always been a city of two languages, Czech and German, but after the trauma of World War Two, the German language disappeared almost completely. A huge literary tradition was lost, in which Prague's most famous literary
The International scouting movement celebrated its 100th birthday on Wednesday, and Czechs, along with scouts from around 200 other countries, have been taking part in the festivities. There are now more than 45,000 scouts in the Czech Republic - a far cry from the 13 that attended the first Czech scout camp back in 1912. The rise in membership is impressive, but it's been a bumpy ride for the Czech scouting movement over its first hundred years. With a brief history of scouting in the Czech Republic, here's Rosie Johnston:
Milada Horakova was the only woman ever to be executed for political reasons in the former Czechoslovakia. In 1950, she was tried and found guilty of treason and espionage, charges which were later proven to be false. The Communist government annulled the verdict in 1968, but it wasn't until the fall of communism, more than 30 years later, that Milada Horakova was fully exonerated. Now, an incredible 57 years later, it is the prosecutors from this trial who are, themselves, heading for the dock. A Prague state attorney has just brought charges
This week in Mailbox: the village of Lidice in Central Bohemia, where is the Red River Valley mentioned in a song featured in SoundCzech, a restoration project discussed in Insight Central Europe, and what colour is the red squirrel? Listeners quoted: Elizabeth Funnekotter, Charles Chambers, Dick Derksen, Aloisie Krasny, Paul Kail.
In April the statue of Jan Hus dominating the Old Town Square was surrounded by scaffolding and covered up in large canvas to undergo vast renovation, which will take at least two years. In the meantime, tourists visiting the site will only see a huge advertisement in its place. This week the media reported that the scaffolding was causing damage to the statue: rust from the wire mesh, which holds the ad in place, has been dripping down, leaving orange stains on the stone.
Stories about the sterilization of Romany women stretch back as far as the 1970s. Experts suspect that there could have been as many as 2000 women sterilized in what is now the Czech Republic against their will. Since the fall of Communism, this topic has repeatedly made headlines, especially when last year a United Nations commission advised the Czech government to compensate victims of involuntary sterilization.