Three young men have been charged with arson in connection with the fire that destroyed a historic wooden church in the town of Guty, Silesia. The church, dating back to 1563 was one of the best preserved wooden churches in the country. The authorities have already announced that the church will be replaced. Petra Batkova of the National Heritage Institute told the ctk news agency that negotiations underway to secure funds for the project. Besides the insurance money, contributions will be made from state and church institutions and the public. A collection has been launched and a charity concert is being planned to help raise funds for the new church.
It has been years in the making and the subject of protracted discussions, but this week one of the ministry of culture’s main flagship legislative proposals hit the buffers with a blunt rejection in the lower house of parliament. The ministry was aghast but some conservation groups welcomed the demise of the proposed new law aimed at protecting historic buildings.
The culture minister has decried a move by the lower house of parliament to reject a proposed new law on protection of the country’s cultural heritage saying that it was surprising and ‘a dirty trick and added the final vote was the result of political manoeuvres and lobbying.’ Herman said the proposed new law would have offered better and more efficient care. But he added that Czech cultural heritage could still be protected under the current much amended 30 years old rules. Members of government parties failed to vote in a single block for the new rules.
The Ride of the Kings – a unique and colourful tradition practiced in only four south-east Moravian villages took place in the village of Hluk on Sunday. The ride refers to the flight of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus from Czech King George of Podébrady in the 15th century and involves a festive ride through the village with a boy portraying the monarch dresses in a traditional women’s folk costume to ‘mask’ his identity. The event which involves months of preparations end with a big celebration, dancing, drinking and merrymaking. The Ride of the Kings is on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.
More than 1,500 houses of worship will open their doors to the public across the Czech Republic on Friday night for the annual Night of Open Churches. Visitors will be able to view church interiors that are normally off-limits and attend concerts, exhibitions and other programmes. This year, one of the highlights will be a candlelight pilgrimage across Prague’s Charles Bridge from the Church of St. Thomas in Malá strana to St. Salvador Church across the Vltava River.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a letter to Czech President Miloš Zeman praising Czech lawmakers for their criticism of UNESCO in May. They had called on the government to suspend the country’s payments of membership fees to the organisation, voicing opposition to a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization critical of Israeli conduct in Jerusalem and Gaza, describing Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ and rejecting Israel’s sovereignty over the city. The resolution was backed by 22 countries. Mr Netanyahu wrote that Czech-Israeli ties had strengthened during Mr Zeman’s time in office and said he hoped to welcome the Czech head of state in Israel soon.
The lower house of Parliament on Tuesday rejected a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization critical of Israeli conduct in Jerusalem and Gaza. The lower house has also called on the government to suspend the country’s payments of membership fees to the organisation. The resolution, which describes Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ and rejects Israel’s sovereignty over the city was backed by 22 countries. The Czech Republic should pay UNESCO over 30 million crowns in annual membership fees.
The general director of the Czech National Museum has just signed an agreement committing the institution to helping Syria save, preserve and conserve much of its cultural and historical heritage damaged by six years of war. At the Prague signing, Michal Lukeš and his Syrian counterpart were on hand to describe the task they face.
The restoration of Kuks, one of the most beautiful baroque complexes in the Czech Republic, has won the European Grand Prix for heritage conservation. The prestigious award was presented by the Europa Nostra association in Finland’s Turku on Monday. The jury praised the interdisciplinary approach of the restoration work, saying it should serve as a strong example for conservation projects across Europe.
The renovation of a Baroque complex and gardens in Kuks, Eastern Bohemia has earned the main prize in the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. The director of the Czech National Heritage Institute, Naděžda Goryczková, picked up the prize in Turku, Finland. She said it represented an historic success for the Czech Republic as it was the first time a Czech project had received the honour.