This week the Czech Republic is marking the 20th anniversary of the death of poet Jaroslav Seifert, the only Czech Nobel Prize winner for literature. An ardent communist in his youth, Seifert later fell from favour with the post-war communist authorities and was blacklisted several times, finally after signing the Charter 77 human rights manifesto. When in 1984, Jaroslav Seifert was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, the communist authorities begrudgingly published his works again, albeit in a censored version. But 16 years after the fall
A procession of Three Kings - a re-enactment of the journey of the Three Wise Men to visit the infant Jesus - annually marks the end of the Christmas festivities in Prague. The event, which has an eleven year tradition, was the brainchild of a Spanish priest and missionary who came to Prague 13 years ago. Priest Alberto Geraldo aimed to bring a spiritual note to a holiday that has become increasingly consumer driven and, at the same time, to help the needy.
This weekend, the halls of Prague's House of Culture in the district of Smichov will resonate with the sound of wind music. For the 10th year, some of Europe's best amateur music ensembles are flocking to the city to take part in the International Festival of Wind Orchestras. Join me and one of the organisers, Barbora Sladkova, as we discuss the festival and the tradition of wind orchestras in the Czech Republic.
For fifteen years now the Museum of Romany culture in the Czech Republic's second city of Brno has been mapping the rich, but sometimes tragic and often misunderstood history of the Romany minority here in the Czech lands. Today the Roma are Europe's largest minority, but their life and traditions remain little known to many Europeans. Also in the wake of the Holocaust, and with forced assimilation in the second half of the 20th century, many Roma themselves have lost contact with their roots and traditions. But as the museum shows, Roma have reason
The Czech Philharmonic is one of the world's finest orchestras. It has been around for an unbelievable 110 years - its first conductor being none other than the famous Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. The Czech Philharmonic are marking the anniversary with a special concert, held at exactly the same location as 110 years ago, its home, the Prague Rudolfinum concert hall, under the baton of chief-conductor Zdenek Macal.
In the history of Czech film there have been few animators who have been more important than Karel Zeman, whose career spanning from the late 1940s to the '80s continues to be admired today. The author, often compared to the French film wizard Georges Melies, was himself a master of fantasy, capturing the imagination of countless young viewers. One of his most famous films, Cesta do praveku - Journey to Prehistory, or Journey to the Beginning of Time, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. It is at this seminal work by Karel Zeman, that we
Just a month ago former First Lady Dagmar Havlova - wife of playwright and ex-president Vaclav Havel - admitted she was suffering serious health problems - with her thyroid gland and her heart - requiring quiet and rest. That clearly hasn't prevented the former First Lady from going ahead with plans to return to the stage: in the spring she will appear in a tragicomedy written by US playwright Israel Horovitz. It will be the first time theatre fans will be able to see the actress on stage since 1997.
The writer Jan Stavinoha was born in Prague in May 1945, a couple of weeks after the Soviet Red Army freed the Czechoslovak capital from Nazi control. In 1968, the Soviet Army returned to Prague not as liberators but as oppressors. Stavinoha, then a young student of classical music, forged paperwork saying he was a "reliable person" worthy of a passport — and promptly fled to the West. Today, nearly forty years later, he is a popular 'Dutch' novelist, and, he says, a "tourist" in the land of his birth.
As of the 1st of January a few more items will be added to the national cultural heritage list. Among other monuments, the government has decided to include the bells of Prague's St Vitus' Cathedral, the television tower on Jested Mountain - one of the few architectural masterpieces of the communist era - a number of medieval manuscripts and also a collection of historic automobiles. The most famous among them is probably the legendary Tatra 87, in which the popular post-war explorers, Miroslav Zikmund and Jiri Hanzelka travelled around the