Anyone who has ever visited the Czech capital will have visited the 14th century Charles Bridge; but if you think you know the city’s most famous landmark, think again. You may be surprised to learn that part of the structure houses two hidden chambers - large enough for dozens of visitors. The areas, not surprisingly, remain off-limits and even their very existence until now was known only by a very few.
After the split of Czechoslovakia at the beginning of 1993, Radio Prague devoted several programmes to the impact of the new border on ordinary people’s lives. For most, life stayed much the same, but the split did have a very real impact on people living close to the border, and on Czechs living in Slovakia or vice versa. Here is one Slovak student, settled in the Czech Republic, talking to Radio Prague a few months after the split:
President Václav Klaus said he wanted an opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to shield Czech courts from European law, mentioning in particular the prospect of property claims from Sudeten Germans – ethnic Germans who were expelled en masse from what was then Czechoslovakia after the war. But not everyone in the Czech Republic shares Mr Klaus’s concerns, in fact some organisations highlight the country’s German heritage as a positive thing. Rob Cameron visited the former Sudeten city of Ústí nad Labem, and spoke to Ondřej Matějka
Reconstruction of an area rich with monuments near the village of Valeč in West Bohemia yielded a mystery that has archaeologists and anthropologists scratching their heads. When workers renovating the Church of the Holy Trinity belonging to the noble Štampach family lost a hammer through the floor, they discovered a hidden tomb and the oddly laid remains of an unknown woman. Earlier I spoke with the head of the archaeological team, Kateřina Postránecká, who described the scene:
One of the more curious aspects of Radio Prague in the early 1990s was that the station’s name kept changing. In 1991, for no particular reason, we stopped calling ourselves Radio Prague and became Radio Prague International. Then, at the beginning of 1992, in order to seem less Prague and Czech centred, we became Radio Czechoslovakia. The change was largely cosmetic, because the great majority of programmes, with the exception of a daily commentary sent from Bratislava, continued to come from the Czech part of the federation.
Descending the historic Old Castle Stairs on the way from Prague Castle to the left bank of the Vltava River, an unusual structure will catch your eye in the middle of a small park between the river and a busy road. The five-and-a-half-metre tall wooden watchtower looks strangely out of place among the 19th-century urban architecture. It is an exact replica of a watchtower from a communist-era labour camp near the town of Příbram southwest of Prague. As a symbol of the oppression of the communist regime, the watchtower is part of an extensive outdoor
Looking back at the events of 1989 in Czechoslovakia, most people will probably think of the student demonstration on November 17th which kicked off the Velvet Revolution. The November protest was the last in a series of events that took place that year and were violently suppressed by riot police. One of them was an illegal rally to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia on October 28th, 1989 held on Prague’s Wenceslas Square.
Wednesday marks the 91st anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. In conjunction with that anniversary, the National Memorial on Prague’s Vítkov hill has just been officially reopened after extensive renovations. It was built in honour of the Czech legionnaires whose bravery in World War I helped pave the way for the creation of the state, and reflects much of modern Czech history.
A play based on the short but stormy love affair between the Third Reich’s infamous propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and a young Czech film star has been causing quite a stir locally. Goebbels-Baarová has sparked controversy ― partly because of its unforgiving treatment of actress Lída Baarová and its message aimed at today’s Czechs. We investigate the play’s background and talk with its joint author and director.
No landmark in Prague is more famous than the 14th century Charles Bridge, which has undergone major renovation over the last two years - a project that has come under unparalleled scrutiny and also criticism. On one side, representatives of the city as well as the firm conducting the repairs say the project is slowly but surely nearing successful completion; on the other, activists - including a newly-founded civic association - say critical mistakes were made, resulting in damages to the historic bridge. One thing is certain: when it comes to