In days of yore, when the greedy pagan Prince Křesomysl reigned over the Czech lands from the ancient Prague castle at Vyšehrad, he forced peasants to abandon their villages and fields to pan for gold and mine for silver to fill the royal coffers. With famine looming – so the legend goes – a knight named Horymír tried to reason with the prince, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. What’s more, miners torched the knight’s estate, setting off a cycle of revenge. And Horymír would have been beheaded – if not for his noble steed, Šemík. The white horse
In the early days of space travel, years before the Apollo 11 mission, an Austrian journalist walked into a travel office in Vienna asking to reserve a flight to the Moon. Pan American Airways took his reservation, launching what would years later become the carrier’s ‘First Moon Flights Club’. Among the nearly 100,000 people who joined it was the grandfather of Czech documentary film producer Veronika Janatková. Her directorial debut, ‘Ticket to the Moon’, offers a unique perspective on universal longings across the divide of the Iron Curtain,
Countless statues of Tomáš Garrique Masaryk, the founding father of Czechoslovakia and the country’s first president, were erected in town squares in the first two decades of the new democracy. Scores were torn down under the German occupation, melted down in Third Reich forges to make bullets and artillery shells. But the fate of a handful of others remains a mystery.
Although many people today crave the latest technology, there is a persistent, strong fascination with “veterans” – old-timey cars, trams and busses which appear on the streets are instantly surrounded by admirers, and the owners of these historic jewels bring them out on special occasions. Ostrava City Transport is now preparing to celebrate the centenary of the oldest trams in its collection – the famed No. 25 tram, a wooden model that hit the rails in 1919, cruising the city at 15 kilometres an hour.
The 1969 moon landing glued millions of people around the world to their TV sets 50 years ago. For Czechs and Slovaks, this historic event had a special, bittersweet, taste. Vít Pohanka spoke to two Czech journalists who had the unique opportunity to cover the Apollo flight both from the USA and Prague.
Preparatory work for the reconstruction of Břeclav Castle has unearthed a rare archaeological find –the remains of a medieval wall from the beginning of the 11th century. Archaeologists believe it was part of a fortified settlement built by Břetislav, Duke of Bohemia, who administered the region and gave the town of Břeclav its name.
Animator Gene Deitch settled in Prague almost 60 years ago and directed Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons behind the Iron Curtain for the US market. The small number of other Americans who moved here in the communist period were one subject we discussed in the second half of an extensive interview. But I began by asking Deitch about the time the great folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger, a good friend of his, visited Czechoslovakia in 1964.
July 6th is a public holiday in the Czech Republic honouring the memory of reformer priest Jan Hus who was burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church in 1415. A theologian, philosopher and professor at Charles University in Prague, Hus was a central figure of the Bohemian reformation. Hus is considered to be one of the first church reformers before Martin Luther, later inspiring the Hussite movement. Following his tragic execution, the Hussites followed his religious teachings and rebelled against their Catholic
July 5th is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrating the legacy of the Greek missionaries Cyril and Methodius who came to Great Moravia in 862. As founders of the liturgical Slavonic language and the Glagolitic alphabet, the Byzantine brothers are referred to as ´fathers´ of Slavonic literature. Not only did they greatly influence literary development and culture, but they also translated the Bible and largely contributed to the spread of Christianity among Slavic peoples. Though both were born into wealth and prestige, they chose to
A child survivor of the Holocaust who was interned at Terezin at the tender age of five, Vera Egermayer could be forgiven for wanting to forget the past. Instead, like so many other Holocaust survivors, she has devoted a great deal of her time to sharing her story in order to make sure that the tragic lessons of WWII are kept alive for future generations. When she last spoke to Radio Prague in 2013, from her home in New Zealand, she had a dream: to build a memorial honouring the one and a half million children killed during the Holocaust. That dream