Prague Dog Eat Blog

National Holiday – 8th of May – the day of the victory

Jun 4, 14:44 (Filed under: Culture )

As you have maybe already noticed, 8th of May is the day of national holiday in the Czech Republic. It is the free day, when most of the people do not have to work. This year it comes on Thursday, so a lot of people also take Friday off and go out of Prague for few days, to visit the country. But what else means 8th of May for Czechs beside its being a day off? And how was its history?

On 8th people are remembering the end of the World War II, it is the day of liberation from fascist, who ruled over this country for 6 years. As the over of the World War II is generally accepted the capitulation of German troops, which came into acceptance on 8th of May at 23:01 of Central European time. In Moscow, they are one hour ahead, so there it was already one minute after midnight. That is why in the majority of European countries is as the day of victory or liberation (dependent on the status they had during the war) regarded 8th of May, while in Russia and former USSR countries it is 9th of May. Well, but it should not be forgotten, that the capitulation of Nazi troops did not immediately mean the ends of all fights.

In the first years after the infernal war, there was no official holiday remembering its over. The government was not able to agreed on the day when it should be celebrated. Some ones wanted it to be on 8th of May, other ones on 9th of May, but the president Edvard Benes even wanted it to be celebrated already on 5th of May, the day when started the uprising in Prague.

The parliamentarians finally made it official only in 1951. But in these times, Czechoslovakia was already ruled by the communists, who did many “rewritings” of the history. So as the national holiday was announced the 9th of May, as the “Day of Czechoslovakia´s liberation by the Soviet Army”. Sadly, the liberators of Allies and partisans were to be forgotten, people were supposed to give honors only to the Red Army.

Very very soon after the fall of the communism, the holiday was renamed. Instead of “the Day of Czechoslvakia´s liberation by the Soviet Army”, it became “the Day of the liberation from fascism”, so it finally did not exclude other liberators. And already in May 1990 a parliamentarian Milos Zeman, later prime minister, came up with the idea that the holiday should be moved on 8th of May. First time his suggestion was not accepted, but he did not give it up and next year it was. But it was widely discussed in the country. Later some ones brought the idea that fascism was also in Italy while in Germany and occupied countries it actually was National Socialism. So in 2002 the name of the holiday was shortened to “the Day of the liberation”. But the changes were not finished yet. In 2004 the name was changed again, this time to “the Day of the victory”. Maybe, it is better to feel like the victor then the freed one, although Czechoslovakia actually was liberated. And in many calendars and diaries, they still write it as “the Day of liberation”.

Regardless how the holiday is called, most of the Czechs take it as a nice day off. But there are also costume parades, when people dressed as soldiers playing some events of that times remembering this way the over of the war. And usually there is broadcasted something related to the topic on the Czech television as well.

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Is Prague a sin city?

Apr 30, 15:32 (Filed under: Culture )

Prague is definitely a very beautiful town. It has amazing history, beautiful monuments, fascinating streets, cool pubs with delicious beer, many art galleries, lovely parks, as well as good public transport and lots of shops… an ideal place for a visit. But is Prague a perfect city? Definitely not, as any other one, it also has its mistakes. Notoriously known are Prague taxi drivers, who often try to dope you and ask you to pay them more money then you should according to official price lists. But you may read warnings about them in many Prague tourist guidebooks. Then there are also pickpockets – the warnings about them hang in Prague public transport – buses, trams and metro trains as well – both in Czech and English language. Maybe you already have noticed “Better safe then sorry” as says the English version of yellow-red warning sticker in the public transport. So those are two main “little sins of Prague”, about which you should be informed before your arrival and be aware of them. But such things happen not only here, but also in many other cities. So only them cannot make Prague to be a sin city.

The problem is that in the town are occurring other filths – there are casinos and winning automats and there are brothels as well as street prostitution and drugs. It should be said, that those are not the problem only of Prague but of a whole Czech Republic. But this blog is mainly about Prague, which is also the most attractive location for tourist out of the whole Czech Republic, so lets stay here. Because of the casinos and prostitution my ex-boyfriend once called Prague a sin city. So lets have a closer look on the situation of Prague in those fields.

The true is that there are so many casinos and “hernas” with winning automats as almost in any other place, so Prague is sometimes even called as “Las Vegas of Europe”. The casinos and winning automats are pretty big problem, because many people can became addicted to them, and according to the latest researches, one addicted person can be a troublemaker for up to 12 people in his/her surrounding. Hazard addiction can obviously cause not only personal problems, but also family crises. This is mostly the problem of winning automats, which are also installed in many Czech pubs. “Ordinary people” do not visit casinos that often, as it often requires a bit better clothing and “style”. But many Prague casinos are said to be “laundries of dirty money”, and that they are owned by mafia. The true is that in many other countries the gambling is either illegal or they do not have at least so many gambling places as there are here.

And about the prostitution, as the so called “the oldest job”, it probably exists almost anywhere. Famous is a way of the Netherlands, where they made it even legal. So they at least forced them to pay taxes and prostitutes have to go for medical check-ups. In the Czech Republic, the prostitution is officially illegal, but everyone knows it exists here. There are brothel houses which may look as a cabaret from outside, but when you walk inside, you are pretty sure what is the place actually is. And there are also those infamous street prostitutes, who are often not Czech, but (often illegal) immigrants from other post-communistic countries. Not so long ago, there was a big affair with them, as they were often aggressive to men and tried to force them to use their services. But police took over them and the situation is much better now.

So is Prague a sin city? A bit yes, but it also has such beauties, that it would be a pity not visit it just because it, because Prague is definitely worth of seeing.

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Czech Easter Holidays

Mar 2, 12:19 (Filed under: Culture )

Similarly to Christmas, Czech Easter carries little of the religious content which it is based upon. As atheism steadily became more and more common in the region, these customs became more of folk rituals, which brought people together. Christmas was also identified with winter solstice and Easter is commonly seen as festivities of the coming spring. All the elements did somehow fit together in the times when faith was something common, undisputed, matter- of- fact, something one did not reach after consideration and thought about the world, but what was an integral part of human life. As new forms of thought such as rationalism, 19th Century nationalism and socialism spread around Europe, turning its spiritual foundations upside down, the customs were losing their religious impact. The interesting thing is that not only people did not abandon them, they did not even abandon the Christian symbolism, though they don’t believe in it already. The obvious example is the Czech Ježíšek (“little Christ”), whom children address the wishes they have considering Christmas presents. He is turned into a nice family figure, nearly a fairy- tale character, part of a cosy home.

The transition from a religious event to a cultural one is probably natural, so I wouldn’t recommend the Christians to lament about it, because it only widens the gap between the believers and the atheists. On the other hand, reminding of the feast’s basis is reasonable, one should have some idea of the occasion he or she celebrates.

The feast is moveable, taking place between March 22 and April 25. The Easter Monday itself is preceded by a week of Christian festivities, which are often not reflected in the secular calendar- most people celebrate only in the last two days. Palm Sunday, a week before Easter, marks Christ’s coming into Jerusalem, Maundy Thursday reminds of the day he had his Last supper with his followers. The Good Friday marks the day he, according to the bible, was Crucified. This is followed by Holy Saturday, when he was buried in a tomb. Easter Monday marks the day Christ was believed to have risen from the grave.
In the Christian tradition Easter is followed by the Ascension Thursday (Christ’s ascension to Heaven), Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi feasts.

The secularized, most common version is particularly interesting in the East Central Europe. In Czech Republic and Slovakia the celebrations are accompanied by the whipping ritual. Young men are supposed to spank ladies with a whip made of willow rods. The spanking is meant to bring health and beauty to its subjects. In Czech Republic the tradition is not very strong, the custom mostly carried out by children and predominantly in the country.
The contemporary Czech Easter consists mainly of family gatherings, meals and sometimes heavy drinking. The last mentioned is the reason why every Easter week has a downside to it, since it is usually accompanied by a considerable number of accidents, often tragic.

Still what most people associate with Easter is the chance for family members to be together, enjoying a short holiday and welcoming the end of winter. Though this year, with sub- zero temperatures at night and snowfall during the day, the coming of spring seems pretty far on the horizon.

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Traditional Czech Christmas

Dec 22, 14:44 (Filed under: Culture )

If you are in Prague before Christmas, you can feel Christmas mood everywhere around you. There is a richly decorated Christmas tree on every bigger Square, there is a Christmas market on Old Town Square, decorations in almost every shop and Christmas music is playing everywhere. But have you ever wondered how ordinary Czech people spend Christmas?

The first thing, which may surprise you, is the fact, that it is not Santa Claus who gives gifts to little kids in the Czech Republic, but Little Jesus. He comes to the house silently in the evening of 24th of December, without being seen by anyone and leaves all the gifts under the Christmas tree. And in some families, he even brings the tree and decorates it. When he is ready, before disappearing, rings on a little bell, and then kids run into the room, amazed what Little Jesus had left there for them. To thank him, kids (accompanied by the rest of the family) can sing some Christmas songs celebrating his nativity, and then all the family has dinner.

The typical Czech Christmas dinner is very rich and for someone can be pretty unusual, compared with what is typical to eat for Christmas dinner in the U.K., the USA or other countries. In some families, they have a starter, which can be ham, cheese, some vegetable salad or so on, then usually comes a fish soup, made from a carp and some vegetable. The main dish is the most often a fish – a carp, accompanied with a homemade potato salad (consisting of potatoes, vegetable, and salad cream, also sometimes ham). Alternative main dish is so called “kuba”; an old Czech meal made from mushrooms and peeled barley. And after the main course, there is time for a desert, there are many kinds of home made Christmas cookies, some families can also have an exotic fruits, nuts and so on.

There is also one old tradition in the Czech Republic, saying that one, who will not eat the whole day until the dinner, will see the gold little pig in the evening. But obviously, hardly anyone will manage not to eat anything until the dinner.

And after the dinner, there is finally the time, which kids are always expecting so impatiently – the time to unwrap the presents. The following days, 25th and 26th are (as well as 24th) national Holidays, and people mostly spent them with their families, and friends, visiting each other, having festive lunches together and having rest from ordinary days rush.

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How Czechs lived 30 year ago

Oct 8, 12:26 (Filed under: Culture, Prague events )

There is a very interesting exhibition in the Gallery of Prague Academy of Art, Architecture and Design, which is situated at Palachovo namesti (Jan Palach Square), close to Staromestska Metro (green line) or tram (no. 17 and 18) station.
Some of the students of the Academy prepared here an exhibition called Husakovo 3+1 (Husak´s 3+1).

Gustáv Husák was the Czech president in 1975 – 1989, since 1971 he also held a very influential function of the general secretary of the Czech communist party. The illiberal period of his rule, which followed the period of liberalization in the sixties, is known as Normalization.

In the time of Normalization, a lot of uniform slab blockhouses (pre-fabricated, by the USSR) were built. And in this exhibition you can see one of such flats. With everything – there is a kitchen, living room, bedroom, children’s room, small bathroom with a toilet. Everything is so authentic! The furniture, toys, old washing machine, old soap, even old toilet paper and old black and white television screening old stuff from the seventies…

If you are in the Czech Republic for some time already, you have probably seen many of these things as they are still present in a lot of Czechs households, but you have never seen so many of them in one place.

I strongly recommend you to visit the exhibition; it will give you an idea how it looked in Czech households thirty years ago, back in the time of communism. Those slab block flats were quite small so the visit will not take you too much time, and the entrance is for free. Exhibition is opened till 24th of October.

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The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague

Sep 23, 13:02 (Filed under: Culture )

decorative arts muzeum The Museum of Decorative Arts is situated in the monumental 19th century neo-renaissance building on 17. Listopadu Street, number 2. It is easily accessible from metro Staromestska (green line) or tram (numbers 18, 17) or bus (number 133) stations.

The museum, founded in 1885, collects, preserves and exhibits examples of both historic and contemporary artistic crafts, applied arts and design, both of Czech and word origin. The new permanent exhibition was settled here in 2000. It has five basic parts – Votive Hall, Story of the Fibre, Born in Fire, Print and Image, Treasury.

In Votive Hall visitors can admire the most valuable exhibits of the collection, there is so called Karlstejn Treasure, consisting of medieval silver objects found in Karlstejn Castle during its 19th century reconstruction. Story of the Fibre presents a variety of textile products – antique tapestries, copic textiles, antique fabrics, printed textiles, liturgical vestments, textile art in the 20th century, cloths, there is also included an exhibition of wedding gowns since 1860´s till present times, as well as an exhibition of toys and furniture for lodging cloths and textiles. Born in Fire shows exhibits of glass and ceramics, Print and Image is dedicated to various ways of printing, there are to be seen both antique and modern books, applied graphics, photographs made before 1950, old Czech posters and furniture which is related to writing and graphics. Finally Treasury presents artistic use of metals and other materials, there are displayed various jewels, liturgical treasury, as well as unique pieces of furniture decorated by expensive materials.

The Museum also helds temporary exhibitions, currently there are those: Ignac Preissler (1676-1741) – Painter of Glass and Porcelain, Czech Glass 1945 – 1980/Production at the time of Misery and Illusions, and attractive exhibition Alphonse Mucha – the Czech Master of Belle Epoque.

Museum is opened on Tuesdays from 10:00 till 19:00, Wednesdays-Sundays from 10:00 till 18:00. The entrance fee for both permanent and temporary exhibitions is 120 CZK full price and 70 CZK discount (students, children, seniors). Family ticket costs 300 CZK. There is also a possibility to visit only the permanent or only the temporary exhibition, which is for 80 CZK full price, 40 CZK discount. And, on Tuesdays, after 17:00 is free entry.

In the museum building there is also a library with a study room, accessible for the public (you have to pay, but not much), which is concerned on historical literature of art and includes publications in different languages, and there is also a cafeteria.

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World Press Photo 2007 in Prague

Sep 14, 13:07 (Filed under: Culture )

It all starts in Amstedam in April, and this splendid exhibition then wanders around the world and here it comes again: this year’s winning pictures of World Press Photo contest will drop in Prague on September 14, as usual at Karolinum, strictly speaking Cross Corridor of Karolinum Gallery (the address is Ovocny Trh 3). At the same day, the exhibition starts in Moscow, Zurich, and Valetta, and they all finish on October 7. The tickets in Karolinum cost 90 CZK, students pay 50 CZK

So Prague people and visitors have a chance to see how the world best press photographers work, how they give us the picture news, and what happened throughout the world last year.

World Press Photo of the year 2006 was taken by Spencer Platt and it captures young Lebanese driving through a bombed neighbourhood in Beirut in a red convertible. Twelve of the best photographers were honoured, and the book “The Press Photographer’s Year 2007” was published.

It is worth seeing, but don’t worry if you miss it, two months later, there will be another exhibition from local photographers prepared for you: Czech Press Photo.

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Bodies… The Exhibition

Sep 12, 07:16 (Filed under: Culture )

This exhibition could be called “Bodies… The Controversial Exhibition”. Why controversial? This world famous exhibition, especially in the Czech Republic, has been getting vast publicity, though not always positive opinions. This exhibition was opened on 5th May 2007 in Prague at the Lucerna and lasts till the end of October 2007.

On the official websites of this exhibition you can read that “The Exhibition features real, whole and partial body specimens that have been meticulously dissected and preserved through an innovative process”. You can see yourselves from the inside, your bones, your muscles, your organs…

Some people see the main problem in that there are the real bodies exposed. They say these dead people did not give the permission to expose their bodies after their death. It is violation of their memory. On the other hand, what about mummies? These are exposed as well and no one does not think over the fact if these dead kings and aristocrats gave some permission to exhibit their dead bodies. Everyone will make own opinion if goes and visits this exhibition. Certain is that this exhibition was seen by more than 16 million visitors in Europe and Asia. Prague is the first city of European eastern bloc where the exhibition has been presented.

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National Museum in Prague

Sep 10, 14:41 (Filed under: Culture )

The main building of the National Museum in Prague National museum has more divisions, but its main builing is situated in the very centre of Prague, on the top of Wenceslas Square. You can get there were easily by metro, you just need to get off on the Muzeum Station, which is on the crossing of red and green line.

Museum´s main building holds both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Permanent exhibions are those: Prehistory and protohistory of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, Mineralogical and Petrological Collections, Palaeontological Collections, Zoological Collections, Anthropological Exhibition. There is one long term exhibition – Decorations and Medals of European Countries in the 19th and 20th Century. And there are various short term exhibitions, only till 16th of September it is possible to visit a presentation called Madagaskar: The laboratory of Gods, till 14th of October there is an unusual exhibition Bryozoa: Hidden Beauty, which aims to show, through models and macro photographs, beauty of those recondite animals, and finally, till the end of September you can visit Black and White ‘60s: Legends of the Czech Sport Photography.

National Museum in Prague has pretty extensive collection and can offer something interesting for everyone, which makes it an ideal place where to go with the whole family. Through Antropological Collections you can get to know a lot about a daily life of the Czechs in passed times. If you are more into natural science you can get amazed by a huge sceleton of a whale and others exhibits of such kind.

Opening hours are as follows: from May till September is opened daily from 10:00 to 18:00, from October till April also daily, from 9:00 till 17:00. Because of the fact that museum is extensive, it is always better to reserve more time for its visit. Entrance fee is 120 CZK full price and 70 CZK reduced (for seniors, students and children over 6 years), children younger 6 years can visit it for free, family ticket costs 150 CZK. Every first Monday in a month is a free entry for everyone.

I should also mantion that every first Tuesday in a month, museum is closed, in September it will be closed on 17th and 18th.

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Cubism in Prague

Sep 9, 20:20 (Filed under: Culture )

House of the Black Madonna Cubism emerged as an important artistic movement in painting and sculpture in the beginning of 20th century. Pablo Picaso made his The Young Ladies of Avignon, regarded as the first cubistic painting in 1907. The movement quickly spread throught Europe, but only in Prague became so much influential, that was reflected even in the architecture.

The story of Czech Cubism is easy to be dicovered if you visit the Musem of Czech Cubism, a part of the National Gallery, which is situated in the House at the Black Madona, Ovocný trh Street, nr. 19 (close to Mustek Metro Station). The building itself is built in the cubistic style. Sharp edges and dynamical diagonales were used by the architect Josef Gocar to design such a unique building. It was built in 1911-1912, to be used as a department store.

Now, a wide-range collection of cubistic artefacts made by Czech autohors is held. There are not only paintings (by Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Antonin Prochazka) and sculptures (the most noble author is Otto Gutfreund), but also pieces of furniture or ceramics in cubistic design (Pavel Janak, Josef Gocar, Vlastislav Hofman) and even architectonic designs for different buildings. There is also situated stylish Grand Café Orient.

The most famous building in the cubistic style is the already mentioned House at the Black Madona, but it is not the only one. There were even plans to made a whole housing estate in Prague Vysehrad, which was not fully realized, but there are few buildings. Or also so called “Dum Diamant” (House Diamond) could be noticed, made by Emil Kralicek and situated in Spalena Street, this house is also striking example how cubism was applied to architecture.

Promising development of this style in former Czechoslovakia was disturbed by the break out of the First World War. But after it´s end, cubism was again remembered, now in so called “National Style”, full of colouful circles and arcs. The famous example of this style is the bank in Na Porici Street by Josef Gocar.

Cubism had a really strong influence on Czech Arts, and local architecture in this style is something really specific which would be a pitty to miss out, if you are at least a bit into architecture.

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Prague Autumn 2007 – international music festival

Sep 3, 16:11 (Filed under: Culture, Prague events )

Prague Autumn is an international music festival, which was for the first time held 17 years ago, in 1991. During those years it has become an important event in the world of classical music, the festival has presented a number of excellent philmarmonic orchestras and soloists from the whole Europe and world.

Prague Autumn 2007 is held from 12th of September till 1st of October. It will offer about 20 concerts of high-quality classical music. Beside one, which will be in Karlovy Vary, all of them take place in Prague, in Rudolfinum. Rudolfinum is situated in Jana Palacha Square, which is close to Metro station Staroměstská, green line.

This year, festival will be opened with a concert of traditional Czech music featured by Vienna Radio Symphonic Orchestra and by a prestigious Czech viola player Jitka Hosprová. Among other highlights could be mentioned a show of conductor Valerij Gergijev with Rotterdam Philmarmonic Orchestra or that one of Babemberg Symhonic Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Nott. And there will be many other interesting concerts, so every lover of classical music should be able to choose something special to visit.

Tickets can be bought in Rudolfinum and some other places. You can find more informations in English about this event here, there is a detailed schedule of concerts and also list of places where you can buy tickets.

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Exhibition: Emil Filla (1888- 1953)

Sep 1, 10:28 (Filed under: Culture )

Emil Filla's Basket with Fruits [1916] The Wallenstein Riding School in the Prague castle hosts a thorough exhibition of Emil Filla, one of the most famous Czech painters.

It shows all the major aspects of Filla’s work, accompanied by descriptive texts, which summarize each stage of the artist’s life and his art of the chosen period, available in Czech and English versions. The earlier paintings seem to be more accessible. Strongly influenced by Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh (there’s also a clearly Van Goghian self- portrait), the original approach is already visible. More it is so in case of the following Cubist series of the later period (1920s mainly).

Filla’s potraits of women

The main part of the exhibition is what follows. Filla’s later works have a strange feel to them, being very simple, the lines seemingly clumsy, the colours often brutally sharp. It’s a kind of directness that forces you to react. There are figurative paintings, often portraying women, where the focus is on features, often not in the usual order. The artists seems to put aside the way the features are connected, he stresses their very presence, their substance. This makes his women seem both deformed and natural. We don’t see a woman, rather a slightly appalling re-construction of her features, yet we do see a woman all the same, since the basis is there and paradoxically stronger than elsewhere, since all the elements are present. Maybe he speaks to our instincts and our brains, skipping the eye in a way- or, to be more specific, using the eye as a corridor to the brain, but avoiding the visual memory, the taste and the expectations of the viewer. You may see attractiveness or liveliness, it’s just not the kind that you’re likely to be used to.

Filla’s duels

Another major section consists of paintings of duels- two horses, a horse and a lion, mythological fights. These concentrate on capturing the energy of the fight. It’s more complicated when to be interpreted, I must rely on my personal impression and that is of a deception of violence on one hand (stronger in some cases) and a portrait of the self- defensive struggle, where violence is the only key to survival. I couldn’t have helped myself to connect these works to the struggle with the rise of Fascism and later Nazism, which Filla observed with great fear.

The most damaging exhibit is a 3- part series called “Buchenwald”, which looks back on Filla’s horrifying experience with the Nazi concentration camp. The pain and spasm, the horror, the strong metaphor, underlined by the straight- forwardness of the style may hardly leave a visitor unmoved.

The last part of the exhibition shows some less typical paintings of the Czech master (including an almost pointillist portrait of his mother) and his landscapes, which present the most accessible and pleasing of his work, being lively and beautiful. They are situated on the balcony and may work as some sort of a relief after the harsher sights preceding.

The exhibition takes place from April 30th to November 31st. It is open from 10 am to 6 pm seven days a week. Admission fees: full 140 CZK, reduced 70 CZK, families 210 CZK.

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International Folklore Festival (Prague Fair)

Aug 30, 18:05 (Filed under: Culture, Prague events )

If you found yourselves in the centre, mainly around Ovocny Trh (the Fruit Market) these days, you surely noticed a lot of folk stuff. Halfway between Na Prikope street and Old Town Square near Estates theatre and Celetna street, the international folklore festival – Prague Fair, takes place. Last year it was a very successful project, and people seem to have interest in handing over and sharing folklore, as a part of each country’s history, heritage, and legacy. It is the fourth event of this kind, and over a thousand artists from 25 countries were invited to perform their country’s tradition.

Until September 2, from two pm to ten pm, traditional clothes, dances, music or handicrafts will be shown. A cherry on the cake is said to be a group from China, which will perform their traditional dragons during the parade. The fair doesn’t have to be a passive activity for anyone, visitors can try to paint on the glass, make candles, become a wheeler in a pottery, or pencil something on silk. After you arrive, don’t forget to exchange your money for the special currency (Prague grosch) used in the fair. The rate is 30 CZK for 1 grosch. Seeing all these attractions is this year again free of charge.

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Temporary exhibitions in the Klementinum Gallery

Aug 21, 17:15 (Filed under: Culture )

After paying maximum of 80CZK, you get a chance to see two exhibitions of very different kind. The first, called Encounters, introduces two contemporary Czech artists: Rudolf Reidlbauch and Milan Vácha. Reidlbauch’s paintings are nature- oriented, dominated by green or blue, usually dark tones, concentrating on motives of trees, roots, leaves, boughs, etc. The paintings are meditative, atmospheric and though they present some challenge for your imagination, they are accessible, since they seem to draw inspiration from sensual, impressive painting rather than post- modern abstraction.

The combination with Vácha’s works is a successful one. The wooden sculptures are also centred around motives from nature, eggs for example. A dominant work situated in the farther part of the corridor (where the exhibition is placed) is called Czech landscape and it shows a hill with a cross on its peak, a cloudy sky above, this image being captured in a wooden frame, which becomes a part of it.

A floor higher hosts the second exhibition, also covering a long, wide corridor of the building. It introduces an outline of the history of Chinese money- coins and banknotes. The brief commentaries (in English) summarize the path from seashells and various bizarre moneys to the first banknotes. The shapes that were used in different periods of time include flat daggers, coins of different shapes and sizes and, speaking of the later coins, the combinations of coin and calligraphy.

There are many interesting exhibits to be seen, some are very old and extraordinary. As to the second part of the exhibition, special attention is paid to banks, changes of currency in the 20th century and the various forms of banknotes from the PRC years (up until today that is). It is almost characteristic that the Chinese were the first to introduce banknotes and, on the other hand, they introduced the large- scale, western- inspired, machine printing as late as 1908. And it is almost amusing (weren’t the circumstances in fact very serious) to see various Renminbi (the PRC currency) notes with portraits of Mao Zedong, large machines or groups of workers with hysterically happy expressions on their faces.

You may see both the exhibitions until 26th of August in the Klementinum Gallery, which is right beside the entrance which is closer to the Charles Bridge, on the left hand side. It is open daily expect Mondays from 10 AM to 7 PM. See here for more details.

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