Prague Dog Eat Blog

What is a typical Czech souvenir? (Part Two)

Feb 4, 13:40 (Filed under: Advice, Culture )

Bohemia Crystal I have already talked about typical souvenirs from the Czech Republic relating to food and drinks. There are, however, other fields that may interest you more than good meal.

Let’s start with something that has a long tradition in the Czech Republic. Great example is Czech crystal glass, porcelain and Christmas bowls, all hand made for centuries long. The Czech Republic is famous for its glass and crystal. The best known trademark is Bohemia Crystal. The only problem is that you have to be very careful when transporting it to wherever you want! Czech porcelain is either blue-and-white, which the so called “onion” style, or pink.

For ladies especially, great souvenir from the Czech Republic is Czech jewelry. It is often made with garnets since garnet is a national gem. Just be careful about their authenticity. If the shop or shop assistants don’t make a good impression on you, there might be a chance they are selling artificial garnets. To name some reputable shops – Cesky Granat in Celetna 4, or Granat Turnov in Dlouha 30, both not far from the Old Town Square.

If you don’t insist on having jewelry with garnets, you can find yourself in favorite Czech jewelry from Jablonex. Jablonex is No. 1 when talking about beads. Seed beads have been exported under the Jablonex brand to more than 80 countries on five continents! If you select these you can be sure to have the original Czech souvenir!

Let’s move again our attention to a different field. The Czech Republic gave the world several great classical music composers such as Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak, Leos Janacek, or Bohuslav Martinu, to name the most famous ones. In Prague, you may therefore want to browse the music selection in the CD shops.

When talking about art, you will be able to find popular Art Nouveau Alfons Mucha reproductions as well as contemporary art like Jan Saudek. You can never go wrong by buying some book about Prague or Czech Republic, whether about history, cuisine, sights, or some prose from Czech writers know far behind Czech borders like Franz Kafka, Jan Neruda, Karel Capek, or Jaroslav Hasek and his popular Svejk.

Favorite are also Czech puppets and marionettes or other hand-made wooden toys. They, again, have a long tradition in the Czech Republic. That is why they make wonderful Czech souvenirs.

I could be talking like this for hours and hours. For example, I haven’t said a word about hand-made lace, which is another traditional souvenir coming from the Czech Republic. For some, great gift can be a T-Shirt with name of famous Czech sportsman like Pavel Nedved, Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros (when talking about soccer), or Jaromir Jagr (ice hockey). Well, I’d better stop right here.

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Art Nouveau in Prague – architecture – Part Two

Jan 28, 11:50 (Filed under: Culture )

The Art Nouveau style appeared in the early 1880s and vanished with the first gun-shots of the First World War. It was a brief but brilliant art movement and style of decoration and architecture characterised by intricate patterns of curving lines. Art Nouveau artists were well known for their scrupulous eye for detail. Inspiration came from nature. Under Art Nouveau style even an insect was beautiful and admired.

There are large numbers of remarkable buildings in Art Nouveau style in Prague that remain unknown to the tourists since they pay attention mostly only to the Castle and the Charles Bridge. And that is a pity. I will try to change that by giving you extra tips for the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in Prague which are historical as well as the Prague Castle.

Municipal House with Powder Tower We can start our trip near the National Theatre in street called Narodni. If you have the river behind your back, approaching the centre, on your left side are two buildings, number 7 and 9. They are both great examples of Art Nouveau buildings – every detail, every object on the building is just perfect. On one building there is written Topic, meaning tire tender in Czech, and on the other building there is written Praha (in Czech Prague) under the cornice among small oval windows. It is not easy to find it there so it may be a little game for you.

Then you can continue to walk down the street till you get to the Wenceslas Square. There is on the left side, if you are facing the National Museum, building number 25 – Hotel Europe. It is, again, great example of Art Nouveau style. I bet you have been to Wenceslas Square but have you noticed this building?

From the Wenceslas Square we will continue by taking the street Na Prikope. It will lead us to the Municipal House, in Czech Obecni dum. The address is Namesti republiky 5, Prague 1. In my opinion, it is the best Art Nouveau building in Prague! You should not miss this! In the inside it is even better!! However, only guided tours are allowed. But you can get inside for a concert or you can visit one of two restaurants there. The prices are considerably higher there but it is definitely worth it.

After refreshment in the restaurant of Municipal House, we will continue our trip to Old Town Square, taking the Celena street. When we are there we, will be heading to Parizska street. In this street most houses are built in the Art Nouveau style so you can admire them as long as you wish, but be aware that there are the most expensive shops in Prague.

We can put an end to our tour at the Prague Castle since in the St Vitus Cathedral there is a glass window of Alphonse Mucha, one of the most celebrated artists of the Art Nouveau period. Can you find this window among others?

See also Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau in Prague – Part One.

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Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau in Prague - Part One

Jan 22, 14:12 (Filed under: Culture )

Alfons Mucha's Spring Art Nouveau means in French “New Art”. Nowadays it may sound a bid odd calling something „new“ when it stands for a style in art, architecture and design significant for the turn of the 19th and 20th century. However, for some people – including myself – it is one of the most beautiful and fascinating styles ever! And I am really glad that in Prague you have the chance to see a lot of this unique style!

In France it’s called Art Nouveau, in England it’s Modern Style or Yellow Book Style, in Germany it goes by the name of Jugendstil or Sezession. Whatever you choose to call it, the style has left an impressive impact on Prague.

First of all, Prague is the home of the famous Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) – Art Nouveau artist who is most widely known for the posters he created for Sarah Bernhardt, one of the greatest actresses of that time. To tell you the truth, he is my favourite artist. But even if his name says nothing to you, you should visit the Mucha Museum. It is in Panska 7, Prague 1, which is within reach from the Wenceslas Square or Powder Tower. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In museum shop you can buy gifts with Alphonse Mucha motifs.

His work included, apart from sculptures and paintings, costumes and stage decorations, designs for magazines and book covers, wonderful jewellery and furniture and numerous posters. I bet you will love him too.

Mucha is buried at Vysehrad cemetery where he rests with other famous Czechs. Vysehrad cemetery is open to public for free.

See also Art Nouveau in Prague – architecture – Part Two

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Running exhibitions in National Museum

Jan 19, 15:25 (Filed under: Culture )

Side view of the National Museum There are several running exhibitions in the largest and the oldest Czech museum, the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. As the most of other national museums, it offers both long-term and short-term exhibitions.

Long-term exhibitions are often very similar in many countries, I think they are just this necessary part of the museum. The National Museum in Prague is not an exception, and one can find here such permanent exhibitions as History of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia, Mineralogical and Petrological Collections (minerals, rocks, meteorites, precious stones, …), Ranks, Badges, and Medals of European Countries in the 19th and 20th Century on the first floor, and Zoological, and Palaeontological Collections, and Anthropological Exhibition on the second floor.

What might be, however, more interesting is an exhibition called Mammoth Hunters – A Period that very few remember… which is currently running until July 1. The age of the mammoth hunters between 30,000 and 20,000 BC was the age of the greatest expansion of Stone Age (Paleolithic) civilization. The centre of their cultural world was the region between Moravia, Austria and Silesia. Among many fascinating things, the exhibit collection features original artifacts, reconstruction of period houses and an actual-sized replica of a mammoth. What more, an entrance ticket may be used for 20% food and drinks discount in restaurant Pravek (primeval ages), located near the museum, in the street Sokolska 60.

The previous short-term exhibition is complemented with exhibition Journeys of Czech writers to Primeval Ages. Other temporary exhibitions include Books saved from 2004 flood, which is running until the end of January, and an exhibition dedicated to the needed reconstruction of the Museum building.
The address of the National Museum in Prague is Vaclavske Namesti 68, and I think everyone knows how to get there, but still, it is metro C station Museum. Basic entrance fee is 110 CZK, students and people over 60 years pay 60 CZK. On the first Monday each month, the admission is free. There is also a 50 CZK fee for bringing you camera.

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Welcome to the beer country!

Jan 16, 10:30 (Filed under: Culture )

Czech people love various kinds of beer Czech beer is world famous and the Czech Republic is the world’s No. 1 beer drinking nation, with an annual per capita consummation of about 160 litres – that’s a bottle of beer for every man, woman, and even new-born in the Czech lands every day. Of course tourists have their share as well but it has to be said that beer is considered a part of the national heritage of the Czech Republic so the share is probably not that high.

Czechs take the beer very seriously! Beer is served almost everywhere in Prague, even in breakfast cafés or fast foods such as KFC! Not to mention that in the Czech Republic is the first Beer Museum in the world! I think it would be appropriate to call it a beer culture!

Czechs have been drinking beer for quite a time. Chroniclers date the first cultivation of hops in Bohemia as early as 859 A.D., while the first evidence of their export dates back to 903, and the first written documentation referring to brewing dates from 1088! Nowadays, with over 3 million hectolitres of beer for export from the Czech Republic yearly, do you agree that Czechs are the number one beer-brewing nation in the world today?

The secret of Czech beer is agricultural conditions which are ideal for growing hops. Most Czech beers are brewed with just the essential ingredients: barley malt, hops, yeast and water.

Beer goes very well with the traditional Czech cuisine. For Czechs, it would seem impossible to accompany traditional Czech meal such as roasted pork, cabbage and dumplings by any beverage other than beer!

To name some Czech beers – because it is impossible to say which Czech beer is the best just like to say whether blondes are prettier than brunettes – Plzensky Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell), Gambrinus, Radegast, Velkopopovicky kozel, Staropramen, Krusovice, and of course worldwide famous Budvar which is Budweiser in German. This name is also used by an unrelated American brew, and lot’s of quarrels at law have taken place because of it.

Foreign importers have tried to change the habit of most Czechs to drink Czech beers only, however, Czechs continue to drink Czech beer. It is not only for its low price but also for its quality!

So while in Prague, enjoy Czech prices and savour the taste of the beer brewed in the Land of Beer in the best possible way – fresh & cheap!

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Music play The Producers in reopened theatre Karlin

Dec 23, 14:59 (Filed under: Culture )

The floods in 2002 put an end to the running of Musical theatre Karlin, but after extensive reconstruction, since October 12, it is working again. And it is introducing Czech premiere of famous Broadway music play “The Producers”. One doesn’t know what to enjoy first, the music play or the new theatre, which is by the way, the second largest theatre in Prague (after State Opera).

The theatre is showing The Producers on Wednesdays, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 19 o’clock (rarely at 15 o’clock). The tickets vary from 180 CZK at the balcony to 700 CZK box for very important persons. The ticket office is opened from Monday to Friday between 10 and 12:30 and between 13 and 19, and it is located in the theatre. The address is Krizikova 10 (near metro station Florenc). They can be also reached on the phone number +420 221 868 666.

One can see Bohus Matus, Martin Dejdar, or Petr Stepanek performing some characters. Next to The Producers, this year, the theatre will be showing other music plays such as Singing In the Rain, West Side Story, Jekyll & Hyde, etc.

I read that the author, Mel Brooks, was about to come to the premiere, but I haven’t found any news or info if he did or didn’t. Do you happen to know whether or not he finally visited Prague?

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Invitation to Advent Concert – Free tickets

Dec 12, 05:14 (Filed under: Culture, Prague events )

It’s Christmas time and my faculty is organizing another concert, something similar to what I wrote about at the end of October. Here are the details of the program:
Who? Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
When? Wednesday, December 13, 19:30
Where? The Great Hall of Karolinum, Ovocny trh, Prague 1
Performers? Collegium 419 and guests
What? Concert of the part of Johann Sebastian Bach’s large-scale choral work (five motets):

1 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225 (Sing to the Lord a new song)
motet for two four-part choirs and basso continuo
2 Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf BWV 226 (The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness)
motet for two four-part choirs and basso continuo

intermission

3 Jesu, meine Freude BWV 227 (Jesu my joy)
motet for the five-part chorus and basso continuo
4 Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir BWV 228 (Fear thou not; for I am with thee)
motet for two four-part choirs and basso continuo
5 Komm, Jesu, komm BWV 229 (Come, Jesu, come)
motet for two four-part choirs and basso continuo

Tickets? The print of the following pdf document is a valid two persons ticket !
http://www.mff.cuni.cz/verejnost/pozvanky/20061213.pdf

If someone has time and mood to come, you are warmly welcome. I suppose that during the intermission, as it was last time, the audience will have a chance to go for a walk inside Karolinum, and see much from the history of Charles University, people who taught there and who influenced its development, or have a look at a great library inside.

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Koloman Sokol – Genius od Slovak Fine Art

Dec 5, 11:03 (Filed under: Culture )

That is the name of the exhibition of the famous Slovak artist Koloman Sokol that influenced many generations with his work. Most of his work concerns social issues, his bearing themes includes dog, horse, or interpersonal relationships, usually made in black contours. He died three years ago in Arizona.

If you want to experience a part of Slovak culture, it may be worth visiting this event. The exhibition takes place in Gallery of Slovak Institute in Prague from Nov 8 to Jan 6. The name of the street is Jilska 16 (in the middle of the triangle Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, and Mustek :-)). The entrance into the gallery is free, and it is open from Monday to Thursday from 10 to 18, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 13 to 17.

In the same building there is also an infocenter and a library where you can borrow books for free. For more info, you can call them at 224 218 022.

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I went to see Borat movie..

Dec 2, 10:26 (Filed under: Film, Culture )

Borat movie ‘Jagshemash! I like you! Do you like me?’

Last night, I went to see the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Its popularity is spreading very quickly, I wanted to know if it’s that funny as everyone says. To prepare for it, first, i saw several Borat video clips on internet at http://peekvid.com (very useful site :-)). These clips were funny indeed, but later during the movie I realized that it might have been better not seeing them. Well, because the same jokes regularly showed up throughout the film.

If I had a Hebrew descent or came from Kazakhstan, maybe I would have felt offended, I don’t know, but the movie, the situations, and reactions of people were fun. At first sight, I was not sure whether or not it was all real, all the events and situations. For those who saw it, was attack on Pamela real? Anyway, the humour was very satirical, sometimes, beyond the extremes. No matter in what critical moments Borat finds himself in, he always stays the same, doesn’t change his character even if his American friends become outraged. The authenticity was impressive, many situations must have been dangerous, though. In a nut shell, quite short but a good comedy.

I visited Village Cinemas at Andel (metro B station), and the ticket cost 99 CZK for students. For adults, it is 159 CZK. Borat is shown everyday almost every hour from 13:15 to 22:15. So Ali G and Borat were made into movies. Now I am curious when another Mr. Cohen’s character, gay German fashion reporter Bruno will show up. If you want to see the movie, or if you want to see any other movie, there is a special offer at Village Cinemas at Andel from Dec 7 to Dec 13, for the whole week, every movie for everyone is for 50 CZK.

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Slovak Folklore Ensemble Limbora in Prague

Nov 22, 16:30 (Filed under: Culture )

Dancing on the stage On Friday evening Nov 17, I visited a performance of Slovak Folklore Association Limbora in the theatre in Vinohrady. Gala program reminded us of the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of Limbora ensemble and of the establishment of Slovak folklore group in Prague 55 years ago. After some time, I was happy to repeat a bit of Slovak culture and tradition.

How did I actually get there? Well, my roommate is kind of a front man of their dulcimer band, he is the first violin guy, and his girlfriend is dancing in the ensemble. So he gave me a ticket :-). I arrived late and I missed the introductory speech, I guess I didn’t miss much. So the performance itself started in a very agile pace and the audience appreciated it throughout the whole program applauding and creating a rhythm or some kind of a beat. Children ensemble Limborka took their part, too, and it was great when kids were trying to perform like adults, I mean their texts and moves, it created fine atmosphere. Traditional costumes, garbs, axes, etc. were also not missing. Bright and lively was when performing girls came up to people in the audience offering them to taste a glass of a red wine while songs and dances on the stage were dedicated to wine.

Another impressive part was the clear voice of 70 years old lady, which has been singing folklore songs for over 50 years. On the other hand, reputable performer, Mr. Janousek, had not impressed me much. Surely, he was a great violinist, but the choice of his songs were not too swift neither cheerful, and to me, they didn’t heat up and set the right atmosphere. During the intermission, I met my roommate, and he let me into the organization and preparations.

In a nutshell, Limbora showed that it will be extremely difficult to substitute them. The performance presented dances, songs and music from the areas in Slovakia such as Saris, Zemplin, Tekov, Myjava and many others, as well as activities of Slovak people living in the foreign countries. Both musicians and dancers were skillful, sometimes performing such acrobatic feats that they could easily get a job as stunts. The dialogues between the songs were funny, the audience was enjoying it, and appreciated it with raging applause at the end.

All I can say is that I was very satisfied with Friday evening, and if you want to experience what I’m writing about, you have a chance to do so, the next performance is called Christmas with Limbora and takes place on Saturday, Dec 9 in the theatre U Hasicu (near the theatre in Vinohrady, Namesti Miru, metro line A).

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Last Minute Invitation to Gala Concert in Prague Karolinum

Oct 31, 10:43 (Filed under: Advice, Culture )

Karolinum The time has come when my faculty organizes a gala concert of classical music, and I would like to invite you there. And the information is:

  • Who?
    Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
  • When?
    Tuesday, October 31, 19:30
  • Where?
    The Great Hall of Karolinum, Ovocny trh, Prague 1
  • What?
    Concert of the part of W.A.Mozart’s ( String Quartet in B major, KV458 “The Hunt” – Allegro vivace assai, Menueto. Moderato, Adagio, Allegro assai), and A.Dvorak’s ( Quartet in F major, op. 96 “American” – Allegro, ma non troppo, Lento, Molto vivace, Vivace, ma non troppo) work
  • Tickets?
    The print of the following pdf document is a valid two persons ticket !!

    I’m sorry it’s last minute, but I got this info today, so I wanted to share it, I hope someone has time and mood to come, and that he or she will drop a comment later, I know I will be there..

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    Free photo sessions with leading Czech photographers in Prague

    Oct 16, 16:09 (Filed under: Advice, Culture )

    Jan Saudek As I wrote earlier couple of times about photo exhibitions in Prague, now, I would like to link to it again. If those exhibitions interested someone, every two weeks, on Wednesdays, there are sessions called Evening with photographers, which are open to general public.

    This is a good chance to meet leading Czech photographers and discuss their pictures and style, thus, finding some inspiration for yourself. During the meeting, these guys speak about how and why some photos came into existence. There is an open discussion about photography at the end.

    The session is free to enter, but one should sign in two weeks before it takes place. To sign in, you can use the direct link (in Czech only :-( ). The name and address is Institut Digitalni Fotografie, Halkova 2 (near metro C station I.P. Pavlova). This institute also offers variety of public photography courses.

    Program for the next weeks include:

    • 10/18/2006 Vlastimil Kula
    • 11/1/2006 Bohumil Eichler
    • 11/15/2006 George Ksandr
    • 11/29/2006 Mirek Hoza
    • 12/13/2006 Jan Saudek

    I realize that most (not all) of these lectures are in Czech, but I suppose these photographers speak English, so the discussion at the and may be interesting.

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    Earth from Above exhibition at Prague Kampa park

    Oct 13, 01:28 (Filed under: Culture, Prague events )

    Prague exhibition Earth from Above Yesterday, we visited one impressive outdoor photo exhibition at Kampa park, near Charles Bridge. French photographer, Mr. Arthus-Bertrand, is presenting his collection of more than hundred large scaled photos, all taken from above.

    These aerial pictures are showing the human influence on nature and environment. Under every poster, there is some kind of warning about high consumption, exploitation of the resources, and their consequences to remind us that everyone is able to do something about it, to act. Many of them are very emotional, if I was about to pick some, I liked the picture of abandoned town after Chernobyl ecological accident, or the photo of the statue of Christ overlooking Rio. These pictures can be bought as posters in a smaller size in exhibition shop / info booth.

    The admission to this exhibition is free, and it’s open 24 hours a day until the end of October.

    Earth from Above exhibition at Prague Kampa park As people from production of this exhibition say: “The message of significance of protecting the earth is accompanied by unique visual experience.“ Who knows, maybe visiting this project might be the first step one can do for nature protection and resource conservation.

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    World Press Photo 2006 in Prague

    Sep 27, 09:12 (Filed under: Advice, Culture )

    Karolinum in Prague city center As in many many towns around the world (90 towns in 40 countries), people in Prague are also in the position to visit World Press Photo 2006 exhibition, which is still open until October 1. A large collection of professional photography is ready to remind us the key events that happened throughout the year.

    The exhibition is opened daily from 10 to 18 in Karolinum, Ovocny trh 3 (Next to the Estates Theatre) and the entrance is 90 CZK for adults, 50 CZK for students (these discounts are one of the things why I enjoy being a student).

    Czech photographer Michal Novotny has achieved big success, being third in category daily life, for his series of photographs about blind people in Liberia (I liked the first one that showed part of the old African man’s face with a blind eye). Canadian Finbarr O’Reilly is the author of the winning picture, which shows fingers of a kid touching his mother’s lips. The chairman of the jury described the winning image as: “...This image has everything – beauty, horror and despair. It is simple, elegant and moving.”

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