In Magazine: People in Jindřichův Hradec link up to form human Olympic rings, special mobile toilets are travelling around the country within a cancer awareness campaign, Czech trams in Ukraine all head for the Scrap Metal Yard, Czechs have the world’s second prettiest stamp and Špilberk Castle has a new tourist attraction – a night in the dungeon, bad food and forced labour.
Close to 600 people took part in setting a new record in the town of Jindřichův Hradec last week. In honour of the Olympic Games in Rio, they created the biggest ever human chain forming the Olympic rings on the towns’ main square. 574 people volunteered to take part, both local inhabitants and foreign tourists. They were given T-shirts in the Olympic colours – red, green, blue, yellow and black – and grouped for a photo. The event is expected to make the Guinness Book of Records.
Competing in how high or how far they can pee is something boys do in primary school, but Czech men are now being encouraged to have a bit of fun in the bathroom as well within a cancer prevention campaign. Special mobile toilets with the tagline “Show How Tricky You Are” are travelling around the country to help raise awareness of prostate cancer and overcome men’s frequent unwillingness to get a check-up. These specially built urinals come with an interactive game which sees men trying to rack up as many points as they can, which happens the quicker and more you urinate. The urinal then provides free diagnostics to users by measuring the speed and flow of urine. They can be seen at sporting and music events around the country.
A Czech visitor to Ukraine was surprised to see a familiar sight - Czech trams making the rounds of the city of Mykolaiv. Surprisingly even the name of the final stop up on the electronic board appeared to be in Czech – Kovošrot – the Czech word for Scrap Metal Yard. The picture taken has become a hit on Facebook in the Czech Republic and a source of embarrassment to the Plzen Transport authority which sold Ukraine 11 of its old trams as it modernized its tram park. Technicians at the tram park entered the name Kovošrot on the electronic board as a message to drivers that the selected trams were being taken out of operation. However according to the Plzen Transport authority Ukraine bought the trams without the electronic system which operates the board and the Scrap Metal Yard message from Plzen remained as the trams went about their daily routes in Ukraine. The Plzen office has strongly denied speculation that the message was a practical joke on the part of its technicians.
A group of enthusiasts in the town of Ustí nad Labem is collecting money for the reconstruction of a staircase leading up to the bell room of the tower of the town’s famous Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The church, built around 1318, is one of the town’s historic attractions. It was damaged during the Hussite wars and renovated around 1452. In the late 19th century the church was reconstructed in Late-Gothic style. However the bomb raids in April 1945 caused serious damage to the foundations of the tower so that it is now tilted from its axis by almost 2 meters. Although it was made safe, and is now dubbed the little Pisa, the staircase which led to the bell room was never restored, robbing visitors of the chance to see the tower and enjoy a breathtaking view of the countryside. Local enthusiasts are now collecting the four million crowns needed for its reconstruction. They have appealed to those who can afford it to buy a stair for the price of 25 thousand crowns. The staircase would have 180 stairs and each stair would bear the name of the sponsor and the sum donated. If all goes according to plan, the staircase could be constructed within two years.
A sheet of four Czech postage stamps with pictures of European owls has been voted the second prettiest stamp in the world. The owl set, designed by graphic artists Libuše Knotková and Jaromír Knotek, took the Silver at the 2015 International Stamps Exhibition in Vienna. The sheet depicts 13 original owl species in Europe, showing both adult owls and chicks. The stamps were released in September of 2015 and are among the most popular on sale.
Špilberk Castle has announced a brand new tourist attraction this summer – giving visitors the chance to find out what it felt like to spend time in the castle’s notorious jailhouse. Originally a royal Gothic castle built in the 13th century, Špilberk was transformed into a bulky Baroque fortress in the mid- 17th century. It served a garrison of 1200 men, with a prison in the castle dungeons. The prison served for over 100 years and was the most notorious jailhouse in the entire Habsburg Monarchy, known as the "Jail of Nations". Prisoners included supporters of the French revolution, Hungarian Jacobins, Italian patriots and Polish revolutionaries. Today visitors can pay 250 crowns to spend a night in one of the damp, dark cells, try the torture chambers, prison food and forced labour. According to the rules they must be over 18 and in good physical shape –which says it all.
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