Magazine

07-08-2004

It's not too late to attend a 16 th century ball! If you are on a diet give your snack to an elephant - the Prague Zoo has a new sponsorship programme. And, the Prague 5 district shocks its inhabitants with a controversial new billboard showing a dog poohing alongside its master - what's it all about? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

There's an intensive search underway in the Czech capital for a cow. The blue and white pattered animal was one of the 200 member heard dotted around central Prague within the framework of the Prague Cow Parade. The 50 kilo Cibulak cow, bearing the popular pattern that adorns crockery found in many Czech households, disappeared without trace from her stand on the Jan Palach Square on Monday. It is not clear whether the cow's attractive garb made her the target of a Cibulak collector - who couldn't resist stealing a Cibulak item that no one else has - or whether she was assaulted by vandals who could have throw her into the Vltava river. "Cow stolen, feared drowned" local dailies reported - urging Czechs to keep an eye open for the missing animal.

 

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK The Prague 5 district is launching a new campaign to try and get dog owners to clean up after their pets. At the centre of this effort is a controversial billboard showing a dog in the process of poohing on the pavement and his owner doing likewise opposite. "People need to change, not dogs!" reads the caption. Some Prague 5 inhabitants are amused. Others are shocked. "It's a bit much, a photo of the dog doing it would have been enough" one old lady pointed out. However the Prague 5 authorities are adamant that this is the way to make people sit up and take notice. The streets are covered with dog pooh - something has to be done - says the mayor. Apparently other European capitals- for instance Paris - have used similar forms of provocation in the past - and succeeded.

 

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Are you drooling over a high calorie snack that will ruin your waistline? Don't treat yourself - treat your favourite animal! The Prague Zoo has introduced an amusing new form of sponsorship. Just 30 crowns - just over 1 dollar - will give your favourite animal a nice snack - they say. All you need to do is send the zoo an SMS message at the given number / ie. 87777 / and specify which animal you want the treat for. The message will cost you 30 crowns and one elephant, giraffe or sea lion will be very grateful. Moreover they will have an extra inch around the middle -not you - so think of the extra bonus! Statistics show that Czechs are obsessed with SMS messages and use this form of communication more than any other European nation - so it looks like the zoo has hit upon a great idea.

 

Sergej Movsesjan playing thirty chess games simultaneously, photo: CTKSergej Movsesjan playing thirty chess games simultaneously, photo: CTK Thirty amateur chess players aged between 8 and 77 years got the opportunity to play against a real grand master this week - Armenian born champion Sergej Movsesjan in the town of Olomouc. The event preceded the opening of an international chess festival in the Czech Republic on Thursday. Movsesjan played all thirty chess games simultaneously - and won them all. Eight year old Jiri who has been playing chess since the age of 5, travelled across half the Czech Republic in order to play against a real grand master. He was really good - Jiri admitted later, telling newsmen he dreamed of being just as good himself one day.

 

No idea what to give a friend or family member on a special occasion? Give them a ride in a hot air balloon over Prague or any other part of the Czech Republic. This summer the aero club Letnany is offering adventure loving Czechs and tourists flights in hot air balloons or two to four seat planes as a special treat. /An hour-long flight in a hot air balloon will cost you 5,000 crowns, a flight on a two seater costs approximately the same. A plane for a four member family costs around 7 thousand crowns./ Customers are invited to plan the route themselves with some help from the instructors. Flights over the country's many chateaux and castles are extremely popular -as are flights over Prague. You can pick the day you want - but remember that for a flight over Prague the aero club needs a special permit which takes about a week to arrange.

 

Helfstyn, photo: Tedmek, Creative Commons 3.0Helfstyn, photo: Tedmek, Creative Commons 3.0 If you prefer something closer to the ground -then visit one of the many Czech or Moravian castles on a weekend. Most of them organize special events - such as fencing tournaments, falconry skills and arts and crafts workshops in which visitors can try their hand at making paper, churning butter or carving an instrument. This weekend Helfstyn castle has invited the public to a fancy dress ball in period costumes. The invitation comes from Petr Vok and his consort Katerina who lived there in the 16th century. Petr Vok and Katerina, who was a child bride wedded to an old man, will both be there with a hundred member company. Roast pork and boar, mead, dancing, fencing, fire-eaters and jesters - those are just some of the treats the organizers of the castle ball have planned. Admission is free for anyone called Petr or Katerina. The event has a twenty year tradition and is extremely popular with the locals.

 

The Czech Republic is probably the only country in the world where teenagers take dance classes on a mass scale. Every year thousands of teenagers register for the course - in which they will be taught by professionals to waltz, cha-cha-, jive do the rumba, or dance the polka. This tradition dates back to the Czech renaissance and it managed to survive even the grey communist years. It is also a crash course in social manners and Czechs regard it as a modern form of "coming out" - a training in social skills that will come in useful later in life. Although Czech kids disco and break dance as much as any other European nation, 70 to 80 percent of them still make time to learn to waltz and jive. Girls love it -and the boys are usually persuaded to attend by their parents or girlfriends who need a dance partner to show off their slinky new dress, hairstyle or fox-trot skills. Occasionally instructors will throw in a day of Macarena or whatever is the fashion of the moment. The dance course lasts for about six months and culminates in a grand ball. Although most Czechs take the course at age 14 or 15 - there are special dance courses for adults who may have missed out for some reason or other - and I can assure you that I know a number of foreigners who enrolled soon after coming to live in the Czech Republic.

07-08-2004