During its time it was supposed to be the largest of the West Slavic churches, but the structure which archaeologists have found at Prague’s Vyšehrad was never finished, hinting at a surrounding story. The results of the most recent excavations are set to be made public in upcoming publications on the subject.
In one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed films, Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart finds himself torn between choosing to be with the woman he loves, or helping her escape with her Czech husband Victor Laszlo. The latter’s story may have been inspired by a real man - Czechoslovak resistance fighter Jan Smudek, whose story is no less adventurous than in the famous picture.
The national flag of the Czech Republic, which is the same as the flag of former Czechoslovakia, will celebrate its centenary on March 30th. While the celebrations of the centenary of Czechoslovakia were grandiose, the flag’s golden anniversary is likely to pass largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis and other concerns. I spoke to the country’s leading vexillologist Aleš Brožek about how the flag was selected, why Czechs only bring it out in turbulent times and how to prevent hoisting it the wrong way round. I began by asking
Exactly 70 years ago, three former RAF pilots staged the greatest air escape in Czechoslovak history. Defying strict Communist security measures, they flew themselves, their families and a score of unsuspecting miners into West Germany. Their success brought them freedom, but also hastened the crackdown on any former RAF pilots remaining in Czechoslovakia.
In early March 1943, the first action of the Czechoslovak foreign contingent on the Eastern Front during the Second World War took place around the Ukrainian village of Sokolovo. Still today, one can see depictions of the action in memorials and names, such as in the West Bohemian town of Sokolov, Prague’s Sokolovská street or in the mosaics in Florenc metro station. Most of these memorials are the result of Communist propaganda after the war. However, this does not take away from the courage of the men and women who fought in the battle. Many of
This Friday marks 140 years since the birth of the pioneering Czech architect and designer Josef Gočár. His legacy includes iconic works in a range of styles, most famously The House of the Black Madonna, in a Cubist tradition inspired by Picasso, and the “national” Rondocubist Legiobanka, born of independent Czechoslovakia.
Czechoslovakia had arguably the best national ice hockey team in the world for years after the Second World War – despite the Communists side-lining a slew of “politically unreliable” star players on the road to building socialism. We look back at the roots of a historic pub brawl and police raid 70 years ago, after frustrated hockey players blew the whistle on official lies.
Did the outnumbered Hussites defeat the crusaders at the Battle of Domažlice by singing? Modern-day historians are sceptical. But for František Palacký, Alois Jirásek and other Czech historians and writers of the Czech National Revival movement, the answer was clear. Their argument was Ktož jsú boží bojovníci, the choral Hussite fighting anthem (which translates from Old Czech as “Ye Who Are Warriors of God”), featured in this edition of the Best of Czech Classical Music.