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.
Spotlight this week comes from Uherske Hradiste, a charming picturesque town in south-east Moravia. Like so many places in this part of the world, Uherske Hradiste has a rich and complex history. As tour guide Lenka Kornelova explains, the town was established nearly eight centuries ago in reaction to the turbulent events of that time and the city actually gets its name - meaning "Hungarian Fortress" - from this period.
During the summer season many towns around the Czech Republic compete for tourists by putting on all kinds of festivals. Some towns have arts festivals of various kinds, while others celebrate all kinds of Czech folk traditions. Food and drink are also common themes, with Trebic for instance holding an annual potato festival. But surely one of the most unusual events of its kind has to be the "festival cesneku", or garlic festival, held every year in the town of Buchlovice in south Moravia.
This weekend I'm not actually in Prague - I'm a couple of hours' drive west of the capital, in the spa town of Karlovy Vary, which is currently hosting its 40th International Film Festival. The town gets its name - like Prague's Charles Bridge and Charles University - from Emperor Charles IV. The story goes that he stumbled upon the then little known village of Wary in 1358; he was so taken with its health giving waters that he built a bathtower nearby and gave it its prefix, and a royal charter, 12 years later.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”