One of the familiar voices that will forever be associated with Czechoslovak Radio belongs to Miloslav Disman, who worked here between 1930 and 1973, and who changed the style of radio broadcasting in this country, with such informal programmes as Okénko (which you just heard a snippet of), and through a radio children’s ensemble, which bears his name to this day.
Today it is easy to forget that Prague’s Letná Park overlooking the city once served as a pedestal to the largest statue in the world of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Derisively referred to as ‘fronta na maso’ (queue for meat), the massive granite work featured the marshal followed by a line of anonymous ‘heroes of the proletariat’. Prague was freed of the sculptural monstrosity in 1962; now, thanks to a film crew shooting the story of sculptor Otakar Švec, Stalin will temporarily return.
Charles IV, the 14th-century Holy Roman emperor and King of Bohemia, is without doubt one of the greatest figures of Czech history and with the upcoming anniversary of his birth, a great many events are taking place to mark his legacy. But recently, there have also been an increasing number of voices questioning the picture of Charles IV as the greatest Czech of all time, suggesting that there are also some darker aspects to his rule.
‘Dreams of a Great Small Nation’ is a book by US scholar and historian Kevin J McNamara. It traces the circumstances surrounding the exploits of the Czechoslovak legion during WWI and in particular their takeover of the Trans-Siberian railway and most of Siberia in 1918. McNamara characterises the legion as “a mutinous army that Threatened a revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe.”
The Czech Republic is celebrating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, whom Czechs perceive as the “father of the Czech nation” and the greatest Czech that ever lived. The anniversary is being marked by a wide range of events including exhibitions, conferences, themed tours and street parties which will peak on the anniversary proper, Saturday May 14. I asked Kateřina Pavlitova of Prague City Tourism about the highlights of the celebration.
Last Saturday Trabant fans from around the country descended on Prague’s Motol district, in the western suburbs of the city, for the opening of the one-and-only Trabant Museum in the Czech Republic. The small two-cylinder vehicle born in communist East-Germany as an affordable car for the masses was neither affordable, nor easily accessible, but somehow or other the smoke-belching, sluggish Trabi has won many people’s hearts and still has fan clubs around the world.
Hello and welcome to a special programme celebrating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Charles was born in 1316, and reigned as Emperor from 1385 until his death in 1378 at the age of 62. During his reign, Charles put Prague on the map as a major royal seat of power, as well as a major centre of culture. He founded Charles University, and also started construction on Prague’s famous eponymous bridge. He also established a number of castles, including the famous Karlštejn Castle near Prague.
A memorial ceremony was held at Czech Radio’s Prague headquarters on Thursday to mark the start of the Prague uprising against years of Nazi oppression at the end of the Second World War. It was a radio broadcast which sparked the rising and the building became the focus for some of the fiercest fighting over the following days in the capital and surrounding countryside.