On Thursday Prague’s National Museum launched a new exhibition at the Kinský summer palace, located in Prague 5 at the edge of Petřín Hill. The show, called New Czech Fables (or New Czech Myths), examines urban legends, sayings, social rituals and counter-culture movements in the former Czechoslovakia as well as present-day Czech Republic. The show’s themes include tramping (an emulation of America’s Wild West), compulsory military service under the Communists, and role of punk and metal movements under the former regime.
Langhans photographic gallery is currently celebrating the 130th anniversary since the original studio, which became the most famous in the country, was founded in the centre of Prague in 1880. A fraction of the million and a half negatives that were built up there over the following seven decades now forms a valuable pictorial archive which is still being worked on and conserved for the future by a specially created foundation. We look at the archive, ongoing restoration and future plans.
Jan Wiener, a hero of World War II, has died in Prague at the age of 90. Mr Wiener fought with Britain’s RAF before, like many of his peers, being imprisoned by the Communists after the war. Charismatic and a wonderful storyteller, he had in recent times been sharing his remarkable experiences with today’s young generation.
This November marked the 40th anniversary of the death of Johannes Urzidil, the Prague-born writer, poet, historian and journalist. Urzidil was a member of the so-called Prague Circle, a group of mostly Jewish German-speaking authors who met regularly in the city’s cafes in the early part years of the 20th century. While not as well known obviously as his friend and fellow author Franz Kafka, Urzidil has a firm following, and some of them gathered in Prague recently to remember his life and work.
A unique and extremely rare medieval casket has just gone on display at Prague Castle. The 13th century artefact – gilded in gold and silver and covered with precious gems – is believed to contain the remains of a lesser known French saint. But the story behind the shrine is just as compelling as the work itself: it was hidden at the end of WWII, and only re-discovered in the 1980s under circumstances that resemble a Cold War spy novel.
Danish and Czech researchers have just completed the first part of a project that should throw more light on the death of the 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe. Legend has it the Dane died of a burst bladder, though tests of his hair indicated possible mercury poisoning. The scientists this week took fresh samples from Brahe’s remains, before returning them to his tomb at the Týn Church in Prague. Just prior to the reinterment, Radio Prague spoke to the head of the team, Jens Vellev.
Twenty-one years ago on Wednesday, on November 17, 1989, a student march was brutally attacked by the police in Prague’s Národní Street; that event sparked a public revolt against the regime and eventually led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. In today’s special programme, we walk along Národní Street, or Národní třída, a remarkable boulevard which is home to the National Theatre, Prague’s most famous delicatessen, a jazz club where Bill Clinton played, and some of the city’s greatest cafés: a street where history was made two decades
Twenty-one years after the Velvet Revolution there is now a generation of young Czechs for whom the communist era is little more than a chapter in their history books. A Czech NGO has now launched a school project which should portray the communist years through the fate of individuals and entire families.