In the 1930s Prague was a modern city, with a passion for innovation. New buildings were springing up, celebrating the technology of steel, chrome and glass, jazz and swing were playing on the radio, and despite the impact of the world economic crisis, the Czech love of the motor-car was growing fast. One of the gems in our pre-war archives is a report from 1st January 1936 on the city's first traffic light. The intrepid reporter is standing at a busy Prague crossroads, and we hear the traffic roaring around him.
Albrecht of Wallenstein (or Waldstein) was without question one of the most important figures in 17th century Bohemia, a Czech nobleman and military leader who made his strongest mark as an Imperial commander in the Thirty Years War. This Thursday, the Waldstein Riding School sees the opening of an unprecedented new exhibition looking at his life and times. The show, called “Albrecht of Waldstein and his Era” brings together more than 700 items, from works of art (including busts, portraits, military scenes) to weapons, clothing and other artifacts
The recently discovered horoscope of Duke Albrecht of Wallenstein is one of the most important of its kind. It surpasses other horoscopes from the period with its detailed explanations of the Duke's life, and its use of the then most contemporary astrological techniques. Created in 1627 by an unknown astrologer, it charts eleven years of the duke's life, and is a document which, if it had fallen into the wrong hands, could have provided what would be regarded as sensitive information to his enemies. The horoscope featuring in a major exhibition
The young Czech writer Jiri Sulc recently shot to fame when he won the annual Czech Book Club award for his bestselling novel Dva proti Risi - translating literally as "two against the Reich". The book tells the story of two of the Czechoslovak patriots parachuted to occupied Bohemia and Moravia from London at the height of the Second World War. Their goal was to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - "the Butcher of Prague". He was the man that Hitler had put in charge of the occupied Czech Lands, and at the Wannsee Conference of January 1942 Heydrich
US Ambassador Richard Graber presented the National Film Archives director on Friday with unique footage shot by American soldiers in western Bohemia right after the end of the war. The footage, which had not been seen in the country before, will be identified, analyzed, and publicly screened in the very places where they were filmed.
The first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk is remembered as the founding father of the country. It was he who from his exile in Britain and then America in the First World War negotiated the terms for an independent Czechoslovakia. When he died on 14th September 1937 at the grand old age of 87, the whole nation went into mourning. In sombre tones, Czechoslovak Radio broadcast the entire funeral. The five-hour event was the radio's first major outside broadcast, using a whole team of the star presenters of the time.
Quasi-military organisations called the National Guards were established by the far-right National Party on the 28th October, the anniversary of independent Czechoslovakia. The move did not receive much attention in the Czech Republic at first, although Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic was quick to warn the Czech authorities of the danger of indifference. Meanwhile, top Czech politicians have condemned the idea of National Guards.
This week in Mailbox: We reveal the identity of the mystery man from Radio Prague's October quiz and announce the names of this month's winners. We also have a brand new competition question for you. We quote from e-mails sent by: Hans Verner Lollike, Helmut Matt, Pier Carlo Acchino, Jin Ok Um, Samuel Maddox, Charles Konecny, David Eldridge, Henry Umadhay, and Colin Law.
Over the next six months we'll be looking at some of the most fascinating recordings to be found down in the Czech Radio basement. Czech - and previously Czechoslovak - Radio has been archiving its material since way back in the 1920s, and has built up one of the richest radio archives in the world, surviving war, invasion and even a German aerial torpedo in May 1945. We start the series with our very earliest recording, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, talking 79 years ago, on 28th October 1928. President Masaryk was born