Higher security measures will be in place in the Czech Republic over
Christmas and the New Year, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček and deputy
police president Martin Vondrášek said at a press conference on Thursday.
The measures, formally in place from December 1 until January 9, will include an increased police presence in streets as well as stepped up protection of airports, shopping malls and other public places. They will also include concrete barriers installed in key public areas, such as the Christmas Market on Prague’s Old Town Square.
A first level security alert has been in place in the Czech Republic since March 2016, but according to Mr Hamáček, there are no indications of an immediate threat of a terrorist attack in the country.
More than 600,000 tourists are expected to visit Prague during December, many of them coming especially to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in the city. Among the biggest highlights is the traditional Christmas market on Prague’s Old Town Square, which will open this Saturday with the lighting of Christmas tree. I asked Barbora Hrubá from Prague City Tourism to tell me more about what visitors to Prague can see and do during the festive season this year.
Czechs are borrowing more than ever to buy Christmas presents for their relatives and friends, suggests a survey carried out among the country’s non-banking consumer lenders. In the months preceding the festive season, loan firms are traditionally recording an increase in the number of loan applications.
Craftsmen producing glass Christmas ornaments and resist block printing, who were nominated last year, are eagerly awaiting the decision of a special UNESCO committee that is to decide whether they will have the honour of being listed on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Meanwhile the country’s beer barrel coopers, bagpipers and chenille fabric producers are hoping to be nominated in the future.
This year’s Christmas tree for Prague will come from the village of
Rynoltice near Liberec in the north of the Czech Republic. The 23-metre
spruce was selected by experts from some thirty trees, suggested by the
The tree will be raised on Prague’s Old Town Square on December 1, marking the launch of the city’s Christmas markets.
Renowned Czech musician Iva Bittová turns 60 on July 22nd. An excellent singer, violinist and composer, Bittová has never focused on one particular genre. She plays and sings folk music, jazz, rock as well as opera. She has also starred in several Czech films and appeared on stage at home and abroad.
The Prague fire service were called out 15 times between Monday evening and
Tuesday morning in connection with the Czech tradition of “witch
burning” bonfires. They had been banned in the capital this year in view
of dry conditions and strong winds and in eight cases the organisers agreed
to fire officers’ calls for them to douse the fires. The other seven
cases were false alarms, a fire service spokesperson said.
Fire fighters did not have to deal with any blazes resulting from unauthorised bonfires getting out of control.
Large public bonfires were called off at a number of places in the capital and people were also told not to light them on their own properties.
Burning witches on April 30-May 1 is an ancient pagan tradition which developed in various European countries including the Czech Republic. People believed witches were especially active on that night and that they flew above people’s heads and later trampled all the crops sown in the fields. That’s the reason why fires were lit with the express aim of burning the witches.
Many musical projects have noteworthy origin stories. But Dálava’s is truly one of a kind. Julia Úlehla and her musical and life partner Aram Bajakian began performing ancient Moravian folk songs – which they hadn’t heard – after happening upon them in a book named Živá píseň (Living Song). It had been compiled in the early 20th century by the former’s great-grandfather Vladimír Úlehla, a remarkable polymath.
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