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czech customs
Culture

4 Czech Christmas Customs Travelers Should Know

Czech Christmas customs and traditions are different than what most people are accustomed to in their native countries. Yes, there are some similarities, but the actual customs are an excellent opportunity to experience life as a Czech. Travelers should be aware of some of the most common customs and traditions if traveling to the country… Keep Reading

Interior Estates Theatre
Culture

Revisiting Don Giovanni

On 29 September 1787, Mozart wrote a letter to his brother-in-law, Johann Baptist Franz Berchtold zu Sonnenburg to say he would be leaving early for Prague. This casual remark makes no mention of the fact that Mozart was travelling with his wife Constanze to direct the world premiere of the opera Don Giovanni (K527) which… Keep Reading

Villa Bertramka
Culture

Where did Mozart live in Prague?

While Vienna was undoubtedly Mozart’s creative home, the city of Prague opened its arms to him in the 1780s and received him as the composer of ‘Figaro’, which was given its Czech premiere in the Estates Theatre in 1786, to overwhelming success. This particular appreciation for Mozart’s music was peculiar to a late eighteenth century… Keep Reading

Decin Castle
Culture

Tracing Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Czechia

Whilst the Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria visited the Czech capital at least twelve times, only once was he accompanied by his spouse, the legendary Empress Elisabeth. As well as being Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary (since 1867) Franz Josef was also titular King of Bohemia, although his uncle Ferdinand I was… Keep Reading

U Krale Brabantskeho
Culture

Where Mozart drank in Prague?

Cafés and historic pubs remain fascinating experiences for the curious. Rich in tradition and local legends, they have invariably become interlinked with a variety of personalities who have in their own way, helped to shape a city’s cultural identity. Like an intellectual life-blood to the city’s artistic mind, some have attracted leading philosophers and writers,… Keep Reading

Zakupy Castle
Culture

Maria Anna: An Empress in Prague

Maria Anna of Savoy, Empress of Austria and Queen of Bohemia, to name only a few of her titles, has important links with Prague, though today she seems to be but little known – a victim perhaps, of historical disappearance, remembered if at all, as the consort of Emperor Ferdinand I (1793-1875). Some traces of… Keep Reading

The Church of St Simon and Jude in the Old Town Prague
Culture

What Mozart played on in Prague

Whilst most original instruments associated with Mozart now reside in Salzburg, owned by the International Mozarteum Foundation, other instruments on which he played are also of historical interest, not least because they offer an insight into his improvisational process at a particular point in his musical creativity. Some of these instruments were invariably cathedral or… Keep Reading

music piano hands
Culture

Why You Should Learn To Play Piano

The piano is something I’m convinced almost anyone can pick up on. In fact, according to a survey by the ABRSM, over 34% of adults in the U.K currently play the piano. Why is this the case? Because as perhaps one of the simplest skills to pick up, it can open doors to an immense… Keep Reading

Czech Heaven
Culture

Book Review: Czech Heaven

There is no doubting how important saints are to the Czech Republic. After all, a statue of one of them, Saint Wenceslas, occupies probably the most prominent location in the country at the top of the square that is named after him. The mounted statue of Saint Wenceslas has seen many of the key events… Keep Reading

A rare photograph of X-Troop taken in early 1943
Culture

Forgotten Heroes? The Czechs of X-Troop, N°10 Commando

Rice, Smith, Taylor, Bates, Latimer, Platt…seem unlikely names for Czech heroes. However, these were the pseudonyms used to hide the identities of Czechs who, 75 years ago, volunteered for ‘hazardous duties’ in one of the most clandestine units in the British Commandos: ‘X’ Troop, N°10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. Formed in July 1942, the Czechs became the… Keep Reading

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