The National Gallery in Prague received almost half a million visitors last year, and a new proposal by the gallery's director to open doors for free could see that number go through the roof. He wants a budget increase to make that possible - though the Culture Ministry is not in favour. But could a change of government increase chances of free admission at the National Gallery?
Edith Templeton is a writer who defies categorization. Born in Prague in 1916 and still alive at the age of 90, she has had an adventurous life. Her work is every bit as adventurous. Here is a description by a Los Angeles Times reviewer: "Imagine Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence sharing an engrossed conversation about social snobbery and the wolfish pursuit of obsessive sex and you have something of Templeton's atmosphere." Bernie Higgins has become fascinated by Edith Templeton's work and life and tells us more.
Today we enjoy a CD of works by Jaroslav Jezek. He was a Czech composer of the inter-war period who made a huge impression on Czech musical culture, and this recording features his own piano, still in place in Jezek's famous "Blue Room". We also engage in some "Philosophical Dialogues" with contemporary composer, Oldrich Korte, whose works confront some of the basic questions of our existence.
This year's Summer School of Slavonic studies is in full swing at Prague's Charles University. Almost 250 people are immersed in the study of Czech language, culture, and life. Students from all over the world - around 40 countries in all - and all degrees of education come together to brave the difficulties of learning Czech.
One of the most precious works of art to be seen in the Czech Republic is no doubt "The Feast of the Rose Garlands" by the German painter Albrecht Duerer. Exactly 500 years have passed since the masterpiece was painted in Venice and to mark the anniversary, Prague's National Gallery is holding an exhibition this summer, displaying the painting, along with other works by Duerer and many tributes to the original masterpiece.
Petr Novak's unmistakeable, delicate tenor voice is synonymous with Czechoslovak society of the late 1960s. This talented musician shot to fame in this country at the time of the Prague Spring, when his gentle love songs influenced by Western pop groups like The Beatles were hugely popular among young Czechs. His success during this era, however, proved to be short-lived and his career subsequently stagnated under the influence of communist repression and his own problems with alcohol.
Exactly fifty years ago, on August 1 1956, the country's first ever official mime performance was staged for the public. It was a graduation performance by students of the Prague State Conservatory. With "A Night of Three Mimes" at the Clementinum, the group of dancers never dreamed their show would start off a tradition of mime in the country. Now, to celebrate this anniversary, a six-month festival has just been launched. Dita Asiedu reports:
In Czech Books this week, we look at award-winnning Irish writer John Banville's relationship with Prague, a city which features in a number of his books, including his personal travelogue Prague Pictures and the historical novel Kepler, which is set in Prague during the reign of Emperor Rudolph II.
This Saturday, July 29, is the 150th anniversary of the death of Karel Havlicek Borovksy, regarded by many as the first Czech journalist. Born in the Moravian village of Borov in 1821, Havlicek Borovsky achieved a lot in his short life; he was also a newspaper editor and a very important figure in the Czech National Revival. Ahead of this weekend's anniversary, the Karel Havlicek Borovsky Institute held a ceremony at his grave in Prague on Tuesday. I spoke to the Institute's Vilem Tanzer about its aims, and the legacy of this legendary Czech