In today's Czechs in History we look at one of the most illustrious periods of the kingdom of Bohemia - the rule of the Luxembourgs - reflected in an important exhibition now underway at Prague Castle: Charles IV - Emperor by the Grace of God. The exhibit, which had an immensely successful run last autumn at New York's Metropolitan Museum opened in Prague mid-February to great expectations. Opening the exhibit curator Jiri Fajt explained the period of the Luxembourgs, between 1347 and 1437, was among the most artistically important the kingdom
Last week saw the opening of a major exhibition devoted to the 14th century king and emperor, Charles IV, at Prague Castle. It brings together priceless works from dozens of museums in fifteen countries, and covers not only the reign of Charles IV himself, but the whole period when the Luxembourg dynasty ruled the Czech lands in the 14th and 15th centuries. But some objects from that time were simply too large to be transported to Prague Castle. They are on show at a separate exhibition at the National Museum's Lapidarium in Prague 7.
Already it is being called the cultural event of 2006 as well as one of the most important exhibitions in Prague ever: Charles IV: Emperor by the Grace of God, now open at Prague Castle. The exhibition, which had a first leg run at New York's Metropolitan Museum in the autumn, brings together rare works from more than 90 galleries, museums, and private collections in 15 countries, capturing the period between 1347 and 1437 - the time of the Luxemburg dynasty.
The Charles Bridge is undoubtedly one of Prague's most visited tourist sights, with around 20 million visitors crossing it every year. Having survived the floods which swept the city in 2002, the magnificent Gothic structure is currently in need of restoration to ensure its safety and to preserve it for future generations. But such a project is not without controversy, potentially affecting visitors at the height of the tourist season.
Today we meet Jan Kaplicky, who is regarded by many as the greatest Czech architect of his generation. Readers in the UK will surely know his amazing Selfridges building in Birmingham. But although Jan Kaplicky has won world renown for the work of his London-based company Future Systems, he has found himself somewhat at odds with the establishment here in the Czech Republic. Mr Kaplicky was born in Prague in 1937, and when we met recently he first told me something about his family background.
If Prague's Veletrzni Palac or Trade Fair Palace didn't house the modern art collection of the National Gallery, most of us would probably not notice the large building that stands just a few metres away from the city's exhibition complex. But the Palace is one of Prague's earliest and largest buildings in the Functionalist style.
The development of the Czech capital has been the subject of continued debate for years, not least the future for Prague's Pankrac district. The area is famous for three skyscrapers - including the city's tallest, the so-called City Tower. At 109 metres, it's being redesigned by New York-based architect Richard Meier. Many would like to see the area unified with additional buildings. But, some professionals have complained additional skyscrapers would only compound the problem. And, they're not alone.
Over the past decade or so, visitors have been flocking to Prague in ever-increasing numbers. Many of them have been attracted by tales of the city's beautiful, well-preserved architecture, which embraces many different styles ranging from the imposing gothic grandeur of St Vitus' Cathedral to the baroque opulence of St. Nicholas' Church. This upsurge in tourism has resulted in a swathe of development projects across the Czech capital aimed at meeting the demands of visitors to the city. Critics say such initiatives pose a threat to the architectural
In the Arts we'll be looking at experimental vision in both music and architecture. First, we look at the Czech band known as SOIL, and second, we'll be looking at a new exhibition titled Futura Pragensis, where students of architecture foresee and propose how Prague might look in two hundred years.
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