On Tuesday, March 30th the Czech flag was more in evidence than usual – the state symbol turned 90. The red, white and blue flag with its simple geometric pattern was created in 1920 shortly after the founding of an independent Czechoslovak state. Although Czechoslovakia no longer exists, the flag remains the Czech Republic’s state symbol.
For all the funny people who have contributed to a century of Czech filmmaking, the title “King of Comics” belongs to only one. Vlasta Burian would be 119 years old next month, and he would be very proud of his reputation indeed, still a star of the Czech television screen today. But his career as a comedian went hand in hand with the tragedies of the 20th century, and in his lifetime he was a pauper, a prince, and a pauper again.
The Czech daily Právo reported this week that a former Communist prosecutor sent to prison for her role in the judicial murder of democratic politician Milada Horáková in 1950 could be released next year. Ludmila Brožová-Polednová, who at 88 is the country’s oldest prisoner, could have her six-year sentence reduced by half.
Alphonse Mucha’s grandson John Mucha is the head of the Mucha Foundation, which manages the legacy of the great Czech Art Nouveau artist. He launched the successful Mucha Museum in the centre of Prague during the 1990s, and has recently being holding talks with the city’s authorities on the long-delayed creation of a dedicated home for Mucha’s extensive work the Slav Epic.
John Mucha is the grandson of the great Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha. His parents are also noteworthy; his late father Jiří was a journalist and writer, while his Scottish mother Geraldine, who is 92, still composes music. John himself heads the Mucha Foundation, which conserves the family’s collection and promotes the artist’s work internationally. His home in the Czech capital, situated opposite the gates of Prague Castle, contains a breathtaking array of Alphonse Mucha memorabilia and artworks and is described
If you’re not looking for it then you’ll probably overlook the rather nondescript building of the Ministry of Industry, near the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square. If, however, you are one of the few who read Prague’s street-side memorial signs, you get the full impact of what the dirty grey, rough-hewn building called Petschek’s Palace means to modern Czech history: “In the time of the Nazi occupation,” it reads, “this building housed the torture chambers of the Gestapo. Fighters for the freedom of our country fought, suffered and died here. We
The National Museum has opened a major new exhibit on St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands, who was also one of their earliest and most important rulers. What is particularly significant about this exhibit is that it brings together a collection of the most precious manuscripts and items relating to Saint Wenceslas over the course of roughly 700 years.
German journalist and historian Andreas Wiedemann is the author of a book about the resettlement of the Sudetenland following the expulsion of the German population at the end of World War II. The title translates from German as ‛Come with us to the borderland: resettlement and new settlers in the former Sudetenland 1945-1952.’ Unlike the expulsion, the resettlement has been given scant coverage although the consequences still scar large parts of the country. I asked him why he seized upon the subject.
The National Library is currently holding a special exhibit of the work of the first printing press in Bohemia. The seven original works made by anonymous printers in Plzeň in the late 15th century have been out of the public eye for 34 years. Foremost among them is the Trojan Chronicle, which for more than a hundred years has been at the centre of debate over when Czechs first began printing.
Czech archaeologists are best-known for their work in Egypt, spanning five decades, but some specialists have begun making headlines for excavation work in a different part of the world: Mesopotamia – the cradle of ancient civilisation that is now present-day Iraq. Recently an eight-member team headed by Karel Nováček of the University of West Bohemia, returned from northern Iraq after having uncovered Stone Age tools that were used by either our ancestors or our distant relatives (Homo neanderthalensis). The tools date back some 150,000 years,