For many decades, a train station located right on the Czech-German border was a symbol for the division between Germany and communist Czechoslovakia. The train station once connected a Bavarian and a Czech town that both carried the same name in Czech - Železná Ruda. After World War II, it was defunct and even set to be demolished. Its re-opening in 1991 was one of the most significant events in Czech-Bavarian history after the Velvet Revolution. Now, both towns are once again collaborating – on a celebration of the twenty-year-anniversary of the
The first two names always given at the top of the pantheon of Czech classical music are Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana; the third is invariably Leoš Janáček. Probably the most innovative of the three, Janáček likely lags behind the famous duo only because even today, 80 years after his death, musicians, musicologists and music lovers are still reassessing those innovations, which took classical music into uncharted territory.
In the early summer of 1938 an unprepared visitor would have found it hard to find a hotel in Prague. Tens of thousands of people from dozens of countries, including Yugoslavia, France and the United States had gathered in the city. This was tenth international gathering of the Sokol movement, which had been founded in Prague back in the 1860s with the idea of using physical exercise to build a sense of patriotism. Sokol took its inspiration from Ancient Greece, but in 1938 the event also had more than a hint of pan-Slav solidarity in the face
Playing the game “what would have happened” with the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion can yield a million answers, one of which might be that Czechoslovaks would have been zooming around in sleek, little Czech-made sports cars. The UVMV 1100 GT unlike anything that had been driven before in the country when it was designed in 1968, but production was cancelled by the Communist Party after the invasion. Now, 41 years later, the UVMV might finally be coming to life.
In 1997, just eight years after the Velvet Revolution, when Czechs were making up for lost time and looking into the future, one man - archeologist Radomír Tichý - was busy looking back. Like the rest of his countrymen he was now fully able to realize his dreams, but those had little to do with mobile phones, DVDs and exotic holidays. Mr. Tichý and his colleagues at Hradec Králové University aimed to recreate history by building an open air museum from the early Stone Age to the late Metal Age.
For today’s episode of Czech History I’ve come here to Nuselský most or Nusle Bridge which joins two parts of the city. Completed in 1973, the bridge serves as a major artery for six lanes of North-South traffic and even the city’s metro. Every single day countless thousands of commuters rely on it.
Saturday saw the opening of an unusual exhibit held in both Prague and in London, honoring Sir Nicholas Winton, who organized the rescue of nearly 700 Jewish children by train from German-occupied Czechoslovakia to London in 1939. The exhibit, organized by director and photographer Jaroslav Brabec and Olga Menzelová, wife of the well-known Czech director Jiří Menzel, tells the stories of those who later came to be known Winton’s children. In attendance were some of them, as well as Sir Nicholas himself, who celebrated his 102nd birthday last week.
Recent editions of this programme have been rather full of doom and gloom, as we have approached the Second World War in our archives. So this week we look at something a bit more cheerful. Here is a Scottish visitor to Prague in 1938. After singing the praises of Czechoslovakia, he suddenly changes tone – making a rather curious observation.
The Rožmberks, a lavish new exhibition, opened on Thursday at the Waldstein (Wallenstein) Riding School, looking back at one of the most prominent and influential Bohemian noble families. The Rožmberk dynasty dates back to the 13th to 16th centuries, with its members holding key positions in the royal and later imperial courts. The castle at Český Krumlov, admired by countless visitors in South Bohemia today, was the family seat for three hundred years.
It’s one of the most Romantic places in the Czech capital. With its charming row of tiny houses built in the Mannerist style Prague’s Golden Lane attracts visitors from near and far. Painters strive to capture its old-world charm and tour-guides elaborate about the colourful personalities that once inhabited them – alchemists who tried to turn stone into gold or make youth elixirs, Franz Kafka who reportedly resided there for a time, or fortune-teller and astrologer Magdalena Prusova also known as Madame de Thebes who was killed by the Gestapo