Many Czechs are familiar with the old expression Panenko Skákavá, which literally means Jumping Virgin Mary, but few know about the origin of the phrase. Jumping Virgin Mary, or more precisely, the Virgin Mary of Skoky, is the patron of what used to be one of Bohemia’s most famous Roman Catholic pilgrimage sites. In this edition of Spotlight, we visit Skoky, now an extinct village with a run-down Baroque church that once attracted large crowds of believers.
Tuesday was a state holiday in the Czech Republic, the Day of Czech Statehood, which marks the feast day of the patron Saint Václav, or Wenceslas. While it has always been a red-letter day for Czech Roman Catholics, who commemorate the martyr’s murder in the year 935, it is only in recent years that the date has gained in political significance. This year the office of the government marked the occasion with a special ceremony to return an 80 year old film epic about the holy monarch to the screen.
A new exhibition at Prague’s Municipal Museum recalls the days when people only had one day off a week, but really knew how to make the most of it. Entitled Prague Restaurants on Days Out, it shows the largely disappeared world of hostelries where people would stop for refreshment at the end of a day-trip from the capital. Radio Prague spoke to the exhibition’s curator, Tomáš Dvořák, to find out more.
What do Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler and Ferdinand Porsche have in common? Most of us would assume that these well-known personalities were all born in Germany or Austria, but all of them, in fact, started life in what is now the Czech Republic. You won't find that much written about them in Czech schoolbooks however - they're not really regarded by Czechs as ' one of us'. But a new exhibition in Prague is trying to change that.
Historians at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes have announced they recently uncovered previously unknown video footage in the archives on the events of 1989. Footage shot – and heavily manipulated - by the former regime’s secret police, the StB. Carefully presented images and a propagandistic voice-over in the “documentary” were meant to give a diametrically different picture of public demonstrations which shook the country 21 years ago, suggesting they were a provocation and a sham. Swiftly overcome by events, though, the Communists
No visitor to Prague can fail to admire the beautiful National Museum, the dominant feature atop the long boulevard of Wenceslas Square. It is home to millions of items of natural and social history. However, today’s edition of Spotlight focuses not on the exhibitions inside, but on the building of the National Museum itself, one of the instantly recognisable landmarks of the Czech Republic.
Today in Mailbox we reveal the identity of August’s mystery Czechs – yes, there are two of them – and announce the names of the winners (again two this time). Listeners quoted: Salahuddin Bhuiya, Ian Morrison, Don Schumann, Sandeep Jawale, David Eldridge, Chun-Quan Meng, Xiu-Ping Qian, Hans Verner Lollike, Colin Law, Charles Konecny.
August 18 marked the 130th anniversary of birth of one of the most distinct figures of the old Austrian empire, Emperor Franz Joseph I. He ruled his peoples for nearly seven decades, and although Czechs today don’t seem to identify with this particular period in their history, the legacy of the ‘aged monarch’, as he was semi-officially referred to towards the end of his life, is still apparent in most of his former empire today.