One of the most beautiful towns in Moravia and historically an important location in the Czech Republic is Znojmo - a town whose foundations date back to the 11th century. For centuries Znojmo guarded the regions of southern Moravia, part of an elaborate chain of defending castles along the Dyje River and the border with Austrian lands, developing from a promontory fort to medieval stronghold and local seat of administration for the Premyslids - the first line of Czech kings. By the mid 1200s Znojmo was dominant, complementing neighbouring castles
For many Czechs, graffiti is one of the less welcome bi-products of the changes that have swept society since 1989. Whether it's the Technicolor swirls that adorn concrete walls across the country's towns and cities, or the so-called "tags" or signatures that appear on buildings and bus shelters everywhere, the Czech authorities appear to fighting an endless battle against graffiti. But the town of Kadan has taken an unusual step in this fight.
The entire garrison town of Terezin served as a ghetto for Czech and European Jews during the Second World War and housed a Gestapo-run prison. Tens of thousands died within its walled fortresses, which were taken over by the Czechoslovak army after the war, and then abandoned in 1996. The debate over how best to both preserve -- and breathe new life -- into the northern Bohemian town took on a new urgency after it was devastated by floods in 2002. But as Brian Kenety reports, Terezin is still waiting for a miracle.
There are some three hundred and forty known Jewish cemeteries in the Czech lands. The thriving communities that once tended to their care were virtually wiped out during the Second World War. The ravages of time - but also vandalism - have left many Jewish burial sites here a tangled mess of cracked headstones and thick undergrowth.
This year, for the fifteenth time, cultural and historical sites are being opened to the public for free as part of the European Heritage Days - a tradition that aims to increase public awareness of the importance of heritage. This year, the Europe-wide event was launched in Prague - for the first time in a post-communist country.
Hello and welcome to another edition of Spotlight; today we visit the sleepy town of Mnisek pod Brdy, south of Prague...the first recorded mention of Mnisek dates back to 1352. Lying on an important trade route, merchants used it as a stopover on their way further south. Today this charming little town attracts numerous visitors from all over the country and abroad, drawn by the thick forests that surround it and the Brdy Hills which rise up just behind the town.
During my recent holiday, I made a few day trips to castles and interesting places around Bohemia. Passing through towns and villages, I was pleased to see that slowly but surely they are losing the greyness they acquired during the communist era, buildings are being renovated and houses are getting new fresh coats of paint.
The historic town of Melnik north of Prague has a lot to offer to visitors. Its history goes back to the 9th century and in the 13th century Melnik along with its castle became a dowry town of Czech queens. During the reign of Emperor Charles IV Melnik became the centre of wine growing in the Czech Lands and there are vineyards to this day. As of next year the town hopes to welcome plenty more tourists from abroad, as a brand new river port is going to be built there, connecting Melnik directly with Germany via the river Elbe.
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