President Miloš Zeman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš have stood up for Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová who is under fire for declaring her official residence to be the tax haven of Monaco. Finance Minister Babiš said in an interview for idnes.cz that since the Czech tennis star generally plays abroad her tournament wins would not be taxed in the Czech Republic anyway. President Zeman noted that Kvitová’s decision was a common practice among world class tennis stars and that the Czech Republic should be proud to have such an ambassador. He said he would be happy to receive her at Prague Castle. Left-wing politicians have slammed Kvitová for the decision and suggested she should no longer play for the Czech Republic.
Czech Philharmonic perform to 4,000 at Prague Castle
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performed a free concert to around 4,000 people on Hradčanské náměstí in the Prague Castle complex on Tuesday night. The concert, conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek, featured pieces by Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and a number of other composers and brought the orchestra’s 118th season to a close. During the performance, which was broadcast live on Czech TV’s Art station, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated the release of the recording DVOŘÁK Complete Symphonies & Concertos.
The National Heritage Institute which is responsible for the protection and preservation of the country’s historical monuments has over 100 palaces, castles and manor houses in its care. Over the past 20 years it has worked hard to restore many of those long-neglected buildings to their former glory and today they represent the best part of the country’s national heritage. Regrettably, many of those outside Prague remain undiscovered by foreign tourists. Tomáš Brabec of the National Heritage Institute says this is something that the institute is
The Czech Republic boasts hundreds of castles, chateaux, and churches which annually attract millions of visitors. Regular maintenance is a must – a task that requires not just a considerable amount of money but an army of professionals highly skilled in the reconstruction of precious historical sites. The Czech National Heritage Institute has just launched a pilot project aimed at educating new specialists in the field.
The Office of the President has been ordered to return a building seized by Czechoslovakia’s former Communist regime to relatives of the original owners. The family home, located within the vicinity of Prague Castle, was seized by the state in 1957 for security reasons. The state now has three days upon receiving the verdict to sign an agreement with the family on restitution. Although the decision is binding, the Office of the President is reportedly considering taking the matter to the Supreme Court.
The Czech Republic boasts hundreds of castles, chateaux, and summer palaces visited by countless visitors each year. It is, in short, one of the biggest attractions. The new season began on April 1 (individual sites may vary) and in this week’s In Focus, I talk with The National Heritage Institute’s Simona Juračková about upcoming exhibitions and events not to be missed.
Hundreds of people participated in demonstrations in the Czech Republic on Saturday in protest at Russia’s military incursion into Crimea, where a referendum on the Ukrainian region’s future is being held on Sunday. The biggest gathering took place by a statute of TG Masaryk at Prague Castle, where around 150 people condemned Moscow’s actions. Among a number of speakers were pro-European demonstrators from the Ukrainian capital who have received medical treatment in the Czech Republic.
President Miloš Zeman will mark the first anniversary of his inauguration with a celebration at the Spanish Hall at Prague Castle on Friday. Over 250 people have been invited, including supporters of the head of state’s presidential campaign and figures from the spheres of public life and culture. However it is not an official state event and no politicians will be in attendance. Critics have questioned Mr. Zeman’s relatively broad interpretation of the powers of his office and interventions in party politics, though others credit him with an active and pro-European presidency.
Miloš Zeman has improved the image of the Czech Republic since being appointed president on March 8 last year, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said on the eve of the former’s first anniversary in office. While his predecessor Václav Klaus was a Eurosceptic, Mr. Zeman is avowedly pro-European and returned the EU flag to Prague Castle after his appointment. Mr. Sobotka said he had noticed the Czech Republic had a better image while on foreign trips.