The West Bohemian spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, and Fratiškovy Lázně still have a chance of being included in a prestigious UNESCO list of heritage sites but the Moravian spa of Luhačovice is not longer in contention. That was the result of a two day working group in Prague examining the bids of the Czech spa towns. They will still have to take their chances of being listed along with five other European spas, including Bath, Vichy, and Baden Baden.
Nine items have been added to the list of Czech national treasures from the start of 2016. The list includes the Stará Boleslav Palladium, a relief of the Madonna and Child which according to one version was brought to Bohemia by the saints Cyril and Methodius. Other items added to the list are the Madonna from Veveří, a gothic picture of the mother and child, and the Vyšší Brod cycle, a series of nine gothic religions paintings showing scenes from the Passion. There are around 300 items designated as national treasures. The latest additions were agreed by the government in mid-2015.
After three years, the renovation of Prague’s National Theatre is complete. The project, which cost 135 million crowns, saw the complete restoration of the theatre’s façade, which in places had fallen into disrepair. Not only has the theatre been restored, many of its magnificent interiors are also now viewable in a special tour online.
The Czech Upper house, the Senate, passed on Wednesday an amendment which should make it much easier to restitute objects of historical and cultural value back to the Czech Republic. The change in the law falls into line with European rules and paves the way for a much wider range of items to be returned. Previously these were restricted to objects which had specifically earmarked as national treasures. The time limits for goods to be returned are also broadened to make the process easier.
The historic Prague House at the Golden Ring in Tyn street will come under the administration of the Museum of Prague, the Prague City council decided on Tuesday. It is currently administered by the Prague Gallery. The reason for the change in administration is that the building is to house a permanent exhibition devoted to the life and times of Charles IV which is to open next year on the 700th anniversary of his birth.
Some 4.9 million people have visited the Czech Republic’s chateaux and castles this season, which is 300,000 more than last year, the National Heritage Institute said at a press conference on Thursday. Conservationists expect the number to reach five million, since some of the castles and chateaux, such as Karlštejn, or Sychrov, remain open even during the winter season. Lednice remains the most visited chateaux, followed by Český Krumlov and Hluboká.
The historic town of Stará Boleslav, northeast of Prague, may soon become the Czech Republic’s “little Vatican”. The Catholic Church plans to turn the small town, an early Přemyslid stronghold built in the late 9th and 10th century and one of the country’s major pilgrimage sites, into a major cultural and religious centre.
A Prague 1 court has ordered a rare painting dating back to 1350, Madona z Veveří, to be returned to the Czech Catholic Church. The verdict is not legally binding and the National Gallery which currently holds the painting, may appeal the decision. The Catholic Church staked a claim for the painting which it apparently owned for centuries before it became part of the National Gallery collection in 1958. The gallery refused to give it up on the grounds that the parish lost it before the onset of the communist regime, sometime in the late 1930s, and so it could not be reclaimed within the church restitution law.
A team doing research at the former Terezín concentration camp in north Bohemia have just presented remarkable findings in the form of previously undocumented inscriptions made by Jewish prisoners in the walls of the fortress. The Czech-German group behind the ongoing Ghettospuren (Ghetto Traces) project had previously discovered valuable items in attics and cellars at Terezín.
The West Bohemian town of Bečov nad Teplou on Saturday celebrated the 30th anniversary of the rediscovery of the Shrine of St. Maur, a magnificent gold plated and jewelled ark that was rediscovered at Bečov castle in 1985. The American who played a crucial part in the shrine’s rediscovery, Danny Douglas, was present at the celebrations on Saturday. Douglas was contracted by the Belgian noble family that owned the medieval shrine and buried it under floorboards at the castle chapel when they were forced to quit the country in 1945, to recover it. But a slip up allowed the Communist era secret police to get to the treasure first. Douglas told Radio Prague that he is expecting full official recognition as the finder by Czech authorities by the end of the year.
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