Prague wakes up!

My first trip to Prague was at Christmas in 1990. The Velvet Revolution had happened only a year earlier, and the city was awakening after its Nazi and Communist slumbers. I fell in love with its streets and buildings, its river and bridges, and its sturdy, down-to-earth people.

A bit of 20th-century history
As the 1900s began, Prague was just another provincial city of the Hapsburg empire. It slumbered in relative peace, far from political storms and ambitions.

But soon it was swept into WWI, its citizens conscripted to fight for the Emperor in a complicated war that punctured the European status quo and remade the map. After the war ended, Czechoslovakia emerged as an independent country and prospered as a liberal democracy.

Until 1938, when Hitler's Nazi troops took over the city as WWII gathered steam. Till 1945, the people of Prague kept their heads down and waited for liberation.

From 1945-1948, the country was free again. But the 1948 elections brought Communists into power,…

Read all about the wonders and treasures of the Golden City--Prague!

We've made it free! The ebook version of Prague for Beginners will be free for you from June 11-15. All you have to do is visit the page and download your own free copy.

If you don't have an e-reader, you can download the free app at the same time. Then you can read it on your smart phone, your tablet, or your computer--all for free.

Here's the link to get your free copy:

The Star in Prague 6---Hvězda park and palace

From Wikipedia: "Letohrádek Hvězda(Czech pronunciation:[ˈlɛtoˌɦraːdɛk ˈɦvjɛzda], translating into English as "Star Villa" or "Star Summer Palace") is aRenaissancevilla situated in agame reserveof the same name (Obora Hvězda) inLiboc,Prague 6, 7 kilometres west ofPraguecity centre.
The surrounding game reserve was founded in 1530 by King Ferdinand I. Twenty-five years later he commissioned his younger son Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria, to build the villa. The foundations were laid on 27 June 1555 by the Archduke alone, and construction of the villa was completed three years later. The villa is shaped as a six-pointed star, from which it and the game reserve acquire their shared name. In 1962 the villa was listed as a national cultural monument, which it remains today. An exhibition relating to theBattle of White Mountain, which took place nearby, is now on permanent display inside the publicly accessible villa."…

The National Theatre is 100 years old!

"The construction of the Czech National Theatre took 13 years and was partly covered by funds raised from a massive public collection. The building was completed in 1881 but only two months after its opening it was destroyed by fire."

"The National Theatre reopened on 18 November, 1883 with the performance of Bedřich Smetana’s opera Libuše, which was performed under the famous slogan Národ sobě – a nation unto itself."

Open House for architectural delights in Prague

"The Open House Praha festival this year will see 65 buildings open to the public on May 19 and 20. The buildings include new examples of modern office architecture, 20th-century landmarks and historical palaces. Twenty-four buildings are new to the program this year.

This year it will be possible to visit a newly renovated apartment building by the architect Kamil Roškot, a completely new development in the form of the Drn palace in Národní třída, the modern office building Greenline, the Brussels pavilion Expo 58 or original Zátka soda factory, now the headquarters of the advertising agency.

Clam-Gallasův palác, photo by ŠJů(cs:ŠJů)
“From historic buildings, visitors should not miss Clam-Gallasův palác or neo-Renaissance Schebkův palác. From the buildings of the 20th century, Kramářova vila, Hotel International Prague in the style of socialist realism, or the distinctive CETIN building from the 1970s are worth mentioning,” festival director Andrea Šenkyříková said."

Learning Czech for non-natives--young learners learn by immersion

"Half of the children in the private kindergarten and nursery school Bambino in Prague are from Czech families, one third are from bilingual families, mostly American-Italian or English-Czech, and the parents of the rest are expatriates, Bambino's head Tomas Trnka said.

"We have kids of about ten nationalities," he said, adding that American, French, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Slovak and Israeli children were most common. "We have children of diplomats who spend a limited time here, usually two or four years. It is their priority that their child has social contacts rather than learns to speak Czech well," Trnka said, adding that foreign employees of world corporations have a similar strategy. But if the foreign parents decide to stay in the country, they want their child to leave kindergarten with a very good command of Czech, he said."

In Brno--support local growers and fair trade

"Brno will join more than 100 other towns and citiesacross the Czech Republic in holding “Fair Breakfast” events on Saturday morning, May 12.

This will be the eighth time that this event, which is always held onWorld Fair Trade Day, has taken place in Brno.

This time, picnickers will meet on the lawn around the Environmental Education Centre Hlídka (“Středisko ekologické výchovy Hlídka”, map) at Špilberk. In case of rain, the breakfast will be moved inside."