The picturesque town of Prostejov lies in Moravia's Hana region, near the town of Olomouc. Sitting on a key trade route connecting Europe's south with Europe's north, Prostejov has become an important centre of culture, trade, and industry. In a past edition of Spotlight, we took a tour of the town's National Theatre House; today, we find out more about Prostejov's history and take a brief look at some of the other places that are worth a visit.
For this week's Arts, we visited the 47th Zlín Film Festival, one of the oldest movie festivals in the world that is dedicated to children and young people. This event, which once primarily showcased socialist children's cinema, has become an important festival on the world film calendar after reinventing itself since the Velvet Revolution.
Kralovo Pole in Brno is dealing with a delicate matter at the moment. The district has a large memorial to Soviet soldiers who fell in April 1945 while liberating the city from Nazi rule and were buried there. The memorial displayed Soviet symbols - the five-pointed star and the hammer and sickle - ever since it was erected in 1946. The symbols were removed in the early 1990s, but now the star has returned.
The legendary automobile constructor Ferdinand Porsche is not the only world-renowned personality connected with the automotive industry to have been born in what is now the Czech Republic. Alfred Karl Neubauer was a race driver and a racing manager with the Mercedes Grand Prix Team for thirty years. Sources differed as to where exactly he was born in North Moravia. Recently, local historians traced his roots back to the town of Novy Jicin which is now immensely proud of its newly-found great son.
Polna in south Moravia has been named the historical town of the year by the Association of Czech Historical Settlements. The town in the Bohemian-Moravian highlands won the award for preparing and implementing the best revitalisation project for an urban conservation area. The town, which has a population of 5,000 people, will receive a prize of one million Czech crowns (nearly 50,000 USD). The urban conservation area in Polna includes restored houses, a chateau and castle, a brewery, schools, an old hospital, churches, a square and a former Jewish district with a synagogue and other protected historical buildings. A total of 45 Czech towns took part in the competition.
In Spotlight this week, we go to Vyskov, a town of 23,000 inhabitants, which lies about half an hour's drive from the Moravian capital of Brno. The first written reference to Vyskov dates back to 1141, where its name appears on an ecclesiastical document. By the thirteenth century, Vyskov was listed as part of the property of the Bishop of Olomouc and it was prosperous enough to be considered one of the bishopric's most important towns by the fourteenth century.
The Czech town of Terezin was the infamous site of a Nazi "show camp" for Jewish detainees during the Second World War. In order to convince the International Red Cross that they were treating Jewish captives well, the Third Reich allowed the people kept there were to enjoy something of a cultural life. As many artists and musicians were sent to Terezin, they managed to produce some stunning art and music such as Hans Krasa's Brundibar opera during their captivity before being eventually transported to Nazi death camps. Now a new international
Without question the town of Kutna Hora in central Bohemia is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Czech Republic, a town with a long and fascinating history. In the 13th and 14th centuries the site became increasingly famous for silver deposits, which attracted miners and eventually accounted for as much as a third of all the silver production in Europe.
Recently the GfK reserach & polling agency released the results in an on-going long-term survey examining the extent to which people feel threatened by crime and unsafe areas near their own homes. The study looked at all fourteen regions in the country, with areas like eastern Bohemia's Pardubice, or southern Moravia's Zlin getting the best results. Only around twenty percent of respondents felt threatened there, while areas like Karlovy Vary and the Czech capital Prague fared far worse. Jan Velinger has more.
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