One of Charles IV’s many great legacies to the Czech nation is the Prague seat of learning that bears his name. When the Bohemian king and holy Roman emperor, born 700 years ago next month, established Charles University in the 1340s, it was the first institution of its kind in the whole of Central Europe.
The New Jewish Cemetery in Prague’s district of Žižkov, best known as the burial site of the world-famous writer Franz Kafka, has just finished the renovation of nearly 500 of its tombstones and three valuable family vaults. The restoration works were funded from large part by the Norway Grants and amounted to over six million crowns.
The Moravian town of Příbor, the native town of Sigmund Freud, has been named Historic Town of the Year 2015. The prize, which comes with a one-million-crown cheque, honours towns and cities in the Czech Republic that have excelled in preserving and renewing their cultural and architectural heritage. Ruth Fraňková has more:
A new documentary called “Na sever” (“Into the North”) recounts the story of over 300 Jewish teenagers from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, who found refuge in Denmark during the Holocaust thanks to the kindness of hundreds of Danish families. The story was discovered by chance just few years ago by a Czech journalist Judita Matyášová. Now, a Czech Israeli-based filmmaker Nataša Dudinská decided to bring the testimonies of some of these “children” to the screen.
With the arrival of spring the country’s many castles and chateaux open to visitors, offering exhibitions, concerts and theatre performances in period dress. This year the events are particularly colorful paying tribute to the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. I spoke to Simona Juračková of the National Heritage Institute to find out more.
Over the past year and half, the Czech National Library has been carrying out a unique research project documenting books confiscated or dispossessed and brought to Czechoslovakia during World War II or shortly afterwards. Many of the books got lost, while others lay scattered in the archives all over the country for decades. Now, the National Library has uncovered at least part of the collection to map the books’ history and trace their original owners.
Friday, April 8, is International Romani Day, celebrating Roma culture and raising awareness about Roma issues. This week, organisers behind the Sobě blíž (Closer Together) project for high school children – brought interested kids to Lety, South Bohemia, to see performances by Roma groups, but also to learn about a dark chapter in Czech history. Lety was the site of a Romany internment camp in WWII where more than 300 people died and many more were sent to the death camp Auschwitz.
In this week’s Czech History we look at one aspect of the Cold War, the use of secret agents to spy on and disrupt the enemy’s propaganda services. In particular, we focus on the circus that surrounded the return of a Czechoslovak double agent Pavel Minařík 40 years ago in 1976 which was aimed at discrediting the US financed and Munich-based broadcaster Radio Free Europe.
Český Krumlov is a small town situated in the far south of Bohemia, about 25km from the city of České Budějovice. Bordering the Šumava region, the UNESCO World Heritage site is surrounded by a countryside of gentle, rolling hills. Despite its hidden-away location, Český Krumlov has become a major tourist destination for nearby Germans, Austrians, for countless global tourists visiting the country – and also for many Czechs.