No visit to Prague is complete without a stroll across Charles Bridge. A masterpiece of mediaeval architecture, the bridge has survived floods, sieges and even some poorly executed renovations. In this edition of Spotlight, we walk across the bridge with architect Martin Krise from a preservationists’ association called the Club for Ancient Prague.
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast has long been the number one destination for Czech tourists during the summer months and as a result, three years ago, the Croatian government offered Czech police the opportunity to cooperate in key areas. Although they have no authority on their own and do not carry firearms, they are able to assist their Croatian counterparts in communication with Czech tourists in cases of theft or in traffic accidents.
Tour operators have registered between a 10 – 15 percent decrease in the number of Czech vacationers buying package tours in normally popular destinations such as Egypt or Tunisia. Vacationers are choosing to save more in lean economic times, and are apparently being more selective in how they spend their funds: either opting for cheaper destinations by plane, or by vacationing by car or bus a little closer to home.
I wanted to go back to Afghanistan the minute I left it. No less because within twelve hours of doing so, I found I’d swapped all the gritty wonders of that country for the faux mystique of Dubai. Dubai has as much mystique as Disneyland, but a cloud of volcanic ash kept me captive there for three days. At least I had a chance to fill myself up with fish, before going back to Prague, and to consider everything I had seen and heard over the two weeks past.
CzechTourism has launched its biggest ever advertising campaign aimed at encouraging Czechs to spend their holidays in their own country. The state tourism body’s project aims to promote various kinds of leisure activities rather than specific tourist destinations. Markéta Chaloupková is in charge of the CzechTourism campaign. I asked her if getting Czechs to vacation at home was a big challenge.
It’s twenty years since the fall of communism, but there are some Czechs nostalgic for aspects of life before 1989. Many older people, for example, have fond memories of the factory workers’ holidays organised by Communist Czechoslovakia’s trade union organisation, the ‘Revolutionary Trade Union Movement’ or ROH for short. Now, a Czech travel agency is offering them the chance to relive those holidays at a dilapidated mountain hotel in neighbouring Slovakia. Rob Cameron went there to have a look.
Anyone visiting the area of southwest Bohemia throughout May to October shouldn’t miss a tour of Švihov Castle, one of the country’s most significant water castles found not far from Plzeň. Founded in the late 16th century, the castle represented the best defence system in its day – a combination of high fortifications and moats that put off the most obstinate of would-be attackers. Today the castle offers two tours, which include a look into its inner courtyard, a private chapel and the armoury.
The Central Bohemian town of Beroun has just earned the title of Historic Town of the Year 2009. The prize, which comes with a million crown award for the city, honors towns and cities in the Czech Republic that have excelled in preserving and renewing their monuments and historic buildings. Sarah Borufka reports.