Hello and welcome to a special programme celebrating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Charles was born in 1316, and reigned as Emperor from 1385 until his death in 1378 at the age of 62. During his reign, Charles put Prague on the map as a major royal seat of power, as well as a major centre of culture. He founded Charles University, and also started construction on Prague’s famous eponymous bridge. He also established a number of castles, including the famous Karlštejn Castle near Prague.
A memorial ceremony was held at Czech Radio’s Prague headquarters on Thursday to mark the start of the Prague uprising against years of Nazi oppression at the end of the Second World War. It was a radio broadcast which sparked the rising and the building became the focus for some of the fiercest fighting over the following days in the capital and surrounding countryside.
Most people who have visited Prague at least once will almost certainly be familiar with Charles Bridge, commissioned by the Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. As a structure, the bridge served a vital role connecting the city joining the historic quarters of Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter) and Prague’s Old and New Towns across the Vltava. Today, it remains one of city’s most important and most visited landmarks.
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.