Police have reported the discovery of one of the biggest hoards of silver coins unearthed on the territory of the Czech Republic. Two years ago a treasure hunter in Moravia came upon the find of his life: a jug containing thousands of silver coins minted between the 15th and 17th centuries. He failed to report the find, selling most of it to a collector and only part of it has now been retrieved.
Czech President Václav Klaus leaves offices on Thursday, as his second term at the helm of the country expires. Mr Klaus has been one of the country’s most distinct public figures of the post-communist era. Credited with creating a democratic political system and carrying out economic reforms in the 1990s, his presidency has been marked with controversies over his strong views on a number of issues, from global climate change to the EU.
Monday marks the 65th anniversary of the communist putsch of 1948 which for the next four decades turned Czechoslovakia into a totalitarian state and a satellite of the Soviet Union. The anniversary is being commemorated by a series of events, warning against the Communists’ growing support in the society.
More than a dozen people who risked their lives to stand up to the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia received recognition from the government on Monday for participating in the so-called third resistance. The Prime Minister awarded 12 former dissidents, people smugglers and political prisoners for their resistance to the totalitarian regime. Six awards were granted posthumously.
The name of Václav Babinský is familiar to almost every Czech. The Babinsky legend lives thanks to a folk song, passed on from generation to generation and, curiously, most popular with very young children. It tells the story of a notorious criminal named Babinský who is awaiting execution in a flea infested prison. In today’s Czech History we find out whether the song remains true to history and we look at the life and legend of the 19th-century Bohemian highwayman Václav Babinský.
My ears pricked up recently when a guest on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs selected as one of the songs he’d like to be stranded with a track by Louis Armstrong – recorded live in Prague. The LP Louis Armstrong in Prague: Lucerna 1965 was extremely familiar from the racks of the city’s secondhand shops. But I had never picked up a copy.
A new photography exhibition that gets underway in Prague on Thursday takes a novel approach to one of the thornier subjects in modern Czech history: the massacres that took place during the expulsion of millions Germans at the end of WWII. Photographer Lukáš Houdek has reconstructed some of those actual events – using Barbie and Ken dolls. Ahead of the opening of The Art of Killing, Houdek told me about how he prepared for the unusual project.
Last December a group of archaeologists from the National Museum returned from an excavation expedition in the Sudanese locality of Wad Ben Naga. They have been working there since 2009 and are helping their Sudanese colleagues fulfil the requirements to enable the whole area to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first ever direct presidential election brought renewed focus on a trauma that continues to haunt Czech society even sixty years after it occurred. The forced deportations of some three million Germans from Czechoslovakia after the end of WWII still divide Czech society, as does the historical role of Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš, who sanctioned the move.