Today the English College in Prague is one of several private secondary schools where pupils are taught in the English language. In this day and age, this is nothing unusual, but what is less well-known is that schools like the English College are building on a Prague tradition that goes way back to 1927. That was when Prague's pioneering state-run English Grammar School was set up - at the time known universally by the acronym PEGS. It was on the instigation of the Education Ministry, with the strong support of the then minister and later Prime
Many generations of Czech children have dreamt of finding this item underneath their Christmas tree. It was true for decades that when you said the word Merkur to a child in this country the first thing they thought of was not the planet Mercury, nor the Roman god, but a metal construction set, similar to the British Meccano or the American Erector Set.
More than sixty years after the end of World War II it can still prove hard to bury hostilities - as well as the remains of soldiers who died in the carnage. In February of this year the remains of some 4,000 WWII German soldiers were found piled up in numbered cardboard boxes at a disused factory in the north Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem. Ever since, the Czech and German authorities have been trying to agree on a final resting place for them.Soon they will be able to make their final journey - to a cemetery in the north-eastern town of
The nineteenth-century Czech physician and natural scientist Jan Evangelista Purkyne is perhaps best known to people today for identifying the unique nature of individual fingerprints, a discovery which has played a vital role in countless criminal investigations. Nevertheless, this is just one of many discoveries by Purkyne, who was responsible for a number of epoch-making contributions to different scientific disciplines. He was also a key figure in the Czech national revival.
In last week's One on One, we heard the first part of an interview with Zdenka Fantlova in which she talked about her experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. In today's second part of the interview, Zdenka Fantlova, who lost all her family in the Holocaust, explains her belief that the power of love can overcome death. She begins by recalling how she and her fiancé were parted at the Terezin concentration camp in Bohemia.
Usually in Czech Books we discuss poetry or prose, but for this week's programme we look at an intriguing book that fits neither category. Instead it is a collection of interviews, coming from a part of the Czech Republic that has gone through huge and sometimes traumatic changes over the last sixty or seventy years. I talk with two people who were very closely involved in the book, Matej Spurny and Ondrej Matejka.
Most of us have probably come across the astronomical terms nova and supernova - but did you know that the word "nova" was actually coined by an astronomer with a close connection to Prague? It is 460 years to the day since one of the founders of modern astronomy Tycho Brahe was born, on December 14, 1546. He spent the final years of his life in the Czech lands and he found his final resting place in Prague's Týn Church, within earshot of the famous Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square.
Thirty years ago a handful of people met in a flat in Prague to discuss the communist regime's failure to observe fundamental human rights. What grew out of that meeting was to become the first dissident movement in the Soviet bloc, a movement which played a key role in bringing about the end of totalitarian communism in Czechoslovakia. And, perhaps typically for a country that seems to produce more than its fair share of oddities and idiosyncracies, it all began with a psychedelic rock band.