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.
Carpenters are completing a replica of a rare 16th century wooden church from the village of Guty in Silesia, which was ravaged by fire more than two years ago. The church was intentionally set ablaze by three youths, who are now serving time in prison. The replica of the church will be disassembled and erected in Guty as soon as it receives safety approval from fire officers.
The Bohemian town of Kladruby is famous worldwide for its horse stud farm, founded by the Habsburg emperor Rudolf II. It is also home to a spectacular 12th century Benedictine monastery where the martyred saint of Bohemia, John of Nepomuk, was tried and tortured. An effort is now afoot to have the cloister and Czech Baroque Gothic style church named a European Heritage site.
The National Museum in Prague has become available for exploration via
Google Street View. As of Thursday, users can take a virtual tour of the
building, including the Pantheon, the dome and the building’s second
floor, which is not accessible to the public.
All of the Czech Republic’s UNESCO heritage sites as well as many castles and natural sites are now accessible via Google’s mapping service, which was first launched 15 years ago.
Among the Czech Republic’s most visited sites on Google Street View are Prague Castle, the South Bohemian town of Český Krumlov and the centre of the Czech capital.
Prague City Hall is pushing ahead in its efforts to fight visual pollution in the Czech capital. After banning giant bubble blowers and ‘street artists’ wearing animal costumes from the city centre, Prague councillors have now focused on excessive commercial advertising and shop window design, which harm the visual image of the historical centre.
The region of Eastern Bohemia has for centuries been celebrated for its fine textiles and traditional lacework. Last week, the Ministry of Culture added a specific type of Czech lace to the intangible cultural heritage list, a step towards such recognition by UNESCO. Meanwhile, an exquisite example of lacework – a lady’s cape comprised of 21 metres of lace – has just been restored ahead of the 750th anniversary of the town in which it was discovered.
Puppet theater in Czechia and Slovakia is a way of conveying a vision of the world. That is one of the main reasons why UNESCO inscribed the art on its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity three years ago. In the Christmas season, many a theater and community hall across the country is filled with young audiences out to enjoy holiday performances by professional as well as amateur companies.
The undignified use of pieces of ancient Jewish tombstones as cobblestones in Prague’s pavements should soon come to an end. Under a memorandum to be signed between City Hall and the Jewish Community in Prague, any such stones discovered during repairs or other excavation work will be handed over to the latter.
Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the Ministry of Culture will designate seven sites as ‘national cultural monuments’. All of them are tied to the Czech nation’s struggle to secure freedom or rid itself of Nazi or Soviet oppression. Among them is the Czech Radio building in Prague, a focal point of resistance both in 1968 and at the close of WWII.
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