A report in the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes containing details of plans to modernise the Prague Castle complex caused a minor stir this week. The paper claimed the plans included everything from new shops and restaurants to a hairdressers and even a branch of McDonald's! The article hasn't gone down well with the President's Office, which has accused the paper of blowing things out of proportion. Chancellor Jiri Weigl is the Head of the President's Office.
Since 1925, a team from the Czech Academy of Science's Institute of Archaeology has been accompanying all building activities at Prague Castle with excavation work to find important objects and clues that point to the castle's historical development. Now, almost eighty years later, they have drawn a surprising conclusion from recent discoveries, which will soon require text books to be re-written. Dita Asiedu has the story:
Hello and welcome to Czechs in History. In today's edition: a look at Prague's most distinctive landmark St Vitus' Cathedral, ever visible above the city's Little Quarter, its Gothic and Neo-Gothic spires reaching above the Prague Castle, its most precious jewel and centrepiece. We look at how it was commissioned and constructed and how it survived times of turmoil and war. This site for coronations and final resting place for saints and kings of Bohemia - a cathedral unparalleled in importance in the Czech lands.
In this week's Arts, Dita Asiedu looks at how the Terezin Memorial is faring one year after the devastating floods, invites you to a film festival in the town of terezin and an exhibition of photographs in Prague, and reports why Czech President Vaclav Klaus may have to wait longer than expected before moving into his office at Prague Castle:
For many tourists, visiting a castle or chateau is an essential part of a trip to the Czech Republic. But some visitors may be disappointed this year, as castle wardens around the country are warning that they might have to close their doors earlier than usual. The reason: a lack of money. On Tuesday castle wardens from around the country handed in a petition to the Senate, drawing attention to their plight. I discussed the issue with Jana Sedlackova, a conservationist at the popular Konopiště castle near Prague.
There are a number of different curious stories covered by today's press, one of the most interesting the re-emergence of a legal battle involving the Church vs. the State to determine ownership rights of Saint Vitus' Cathedral. The cathedral, whose foundation stone was laid in 1344, but was only fully completed in the early 20th century, is the most dominant feature in the Prague skyline rising above famous Prague Castle, recognisable to anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes in the Czech capital.
Music lovers in Prague will be sad to hear the news that the annual Respect ethnic world music festival will not be held at Prague Castle. President Vaclav Klaus announced this week that he no longer wanted to support the music festival. But, the festival will still go ahead this year, Prague City Hall has come to the rescue.
And now, moving on to something lighter, but still connected - albeit tenuously - to the elections. As you've just heard, Czechs went to the polls a week ago, in an election which saw the Communist Party clinch their biggest share of the vote since 1989. Just four hours after the polling stations closed, however, a bell in Prague's St Vitus cathedral fell silent - which the more superstitious people of this country saw as an omen of impending doom. Dita Asiedu has more:
Few foreign tourists come to the Czech Republic without visiting that gem of Czech castles, Karlstejn, just 30 km west of Prague. The castle was built in the second half of the 14th century by Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, with the castle's Chapel of the Holy Rood intended to house the imperial coronation jewels. After 19 years of restoration work, the chapel has once again been opened to the public and consecrated. reports.
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