The Czech Republic is becoming more popular with foreign tourists. The latest figures show that in the first three months of this year, almost 1.3 million tourists visited the country which represents a 13-percent increase compared to the same period last year. German tourists continue to top the list of foreign visitors, followed by Russians who are the fastest growing group. RP discussed the development with Rostislav Vondruška, the head of the state agency CzechTourism.
A Marian column that stood on Prague’s Old Town Square for some 270 years is to be re-erected this year, according to the daily Lidové noviny. Citing Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, the paper writes that the long reconstruction of the column is nearly complete and that its return to the historic square must yet be approved by the city council. The column was erected in 1650 to give thanks for the protection of Prague during the Thirty Years War. Locals however viewed it as a symbol of the Austrian, Catholic, domination of the country and it was torn down by a crowd in 1918. A fountain from the 16th century may also be rebuilt in the next two years as part of a restoration of Old Town Square.
A discussion on the future of the Žižkov Cargo Station on Tuesday found that its reconstruction would cost between five and eight billion crowns. The former railway station has been in limbo for years as developers, activists and the local government have argued over how best to use it. Many consider the structure an important technical monument and would like to see it preserved. Present at the meeting was Culture Minister Alena Hanáková, who is to decide on whether the site should be made a monument. The local town hall has decided that an agreement must be reached on the matter as soon as possible as the structure is in a worsening state of disrepair.
It can easily be called one of the most important documents in the history of modern science. Gregor Mendel’s priceless manuscript on the inheritance of plant traits, composed in Brno in 1865, opened the door to the field of genetics. This month, after many years of changing hands and much negotiation, it was brought home.
The Czech Republic’s Ride of the Kings – a tradition dating back centuries still practiced in south-eastern Moravia – was added at the weekend to UNESCO’s list recognising intangible cultural heritage. The ride – practiced in just four villages in the Slovácko region – refers to the flight of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus from Czech King George of Podébrady in the 15th century. Organisers had strived for years to see the tradition recognised and – following UNESCO’s decision – had every reason to celebrate.
The Ride of the Kings – an annual tradition practiced in the Slovácko
region of southeastern Moravia in the Czech Republic has been entered onto
UNESCO’s list recognizing intangible cultural heritage. The decision was
taken by the UNESCO inter-government committee meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
Overall, the committee is to assess 84 cultural traditions from around the
The famous Ride of the Kings is held in Hluk, Kunovice, Vlčnov and Skoronice - all in the Slovácko region. According to some researchers the tradition originated in pagan times when young boys competed in putting cattle out to pasture – where the best ‘became king’. Other ethnographers explain the origin of the ride as related to the flight of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus from Czech King George of Poděbrady in the 15th century. In order to mask his identity Corvinus dressed in women’s folk costume and put a rose in his mouth.
The folk festival is highly colorful and is accompanied by folk music. The Czech Republic sought the Ride of the Kings being added to the UNESCO heritage list for several years. The Ride of the Kings is not the first Czech tradition on the UNESCO list. The Slovácko folk dance of military recruits that originated in the 18th century was entered in 2005. The Shrovetide processions with masks in the region of Hlinsko, East Bohemia, as well as falconry, whose roots go back to the 9th century Great Moravian Empire, were added last year.
It is a very crisp autumn day here in South Bohemia. And I’m slowly trundling towards Slavonice, which is in the very far south of this country, right on the Austrian border. I’m in a modern-looking, but as you can probably hear, rather shuddery sort of train. And I’m heading towards this stunningly pretty Czech town, which I hear, in recent years, has become something of an artists’ colony. So, I’m off to find out more about that in this week’s Spotlight.
The Czech Republic has criticized Monday’s vote which granted the Palestinians full membership in the United Nations' cultural agency UNESCO. Palestine was admitted as a UNESCO member by the votes of 107 member countries, while 14 countries, including the Czech Republic, voted against the step and 52 abstained from the vote. Prague, which lobbied in vain to try to get the EU to abstain from the vote, said the move was ill-timed and would bring nothing positive for the Middle East peace process. The vote is definitive and will take effect as soon as Palestinian representatives sign the UNESCO Charter.
The planned demolition of an Art Nouveau building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square is drawing increasing opposition in the form of an on-line petition, while seeing hundreds take part in a protest meeting on Tuesday on the square itself. The building in question, 1601 Opletalova, is not itself a heritage site but is located within a protected area. The owners and developers want to tear the structure down (as well as gut the interiors of two adjacent buildings) to make room for a new commercial centre. Other than the petition, few obstacles stand in
The Club for Old Prague, an NGO for the preservation of the city’s historic monuments, has called a demonstration in protest of the planned demolition of a protected building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Opponents of the plan are to meet outside the building at 5pm on Tuesday. The decision to tear down the building on Wenceslas Square has met with a great deal of opposition, not least because the building is protected both by the City of Prague and UNESCO. Proponents of the demolition say that continuous remodelling of the building have left nothing of the original 19th century structure and that the building is not a cultural monument. The demolition is planned for this November and a nine-storey office and commercial building is to be constructed in its place.