The thirteenth edition of Prague Museum Night will take place on Saturday 11 June, 2016. This popular cultural event, promoting activities of museums and galleries, has been offering a possibility to visit Prague cultural heritage sites at night since 2004. There are 52 museums, galleries and other cultural institutions participating this year, opening 80 unique buildings.
An international music festival dedicated to the genius of Antonín Dvořák, features topflight soloists and conductors and the most internationally-acclaimed orchestras and chamber ensembles presenting music by Dvořák and other composers of the world to an international audience.
This year the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival will celebrate the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák in the company of prestigious orchestras, star soloists, and conductors both from the Czech Republic and from abroad. Appearing on its concert stages from 7 to 23 September will be acclaimed ensembles like the Philharmonia Orchestra of London under Christoph von Dohnányi, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zürich, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. This, the eighth year of the festival, will be festively opened by the unique cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing with the Czech Philharmonic. Some other evenings, including the closing concert, will also belong to this foremost Czech ensemble. And programmes will be further adorned by such stars as violinists Lisa Batiaschvili and David Garrett, cellist Gauthier Capuçon, and pianist Piotr Anderszewski.
The gala opening evening on 7 September will be devoted entirely to music of Dvořák as performed by the most qualified of artists. Playing the most celebrated work in cello literature – Dvořák’s famous Concerto in B minor – alongside the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek will be an artist often called the greatest cellist of the present time, holder of sixteen Grammy awards, Yo-Yo Ma. And the first half of the evening will be devoted, in a rendition by the Czech Philharmonic, to the rarely-heard Second Symphony.
The Czech Philharmonic holds a privileged position in the Dvořák Prague Festival as its resident orchestra. In the ‘Dvořák Collection II’ series it will perform additional Dvořák symphonies, welcoming also conductors like Jakub Hrůša and Semyon Bychkov and soloists such as the outstanding pianist Piotr Anderszewski and the charismatic violinist David Garrett. This year we’ll hear Dvořák’s even-numbered symphonies, rounded out by his iconic Symphony No. 9, From the New World, which as performed by the Czech Philharmonic will bring the eighth year of the festival to its culmination.
Halb-Marathon, or Run Through Prague
These days, people don’t just come to Prague for its tourist attractions, its culture, or its restaurants. One of its many other attractions has become running races. Half-marathons and marathons let you experience the city from a whole new perspective and maybe even take home an entirely different kind of souvenir in the form of a personal record. One thing’s for sure: running brings people together. At the starting line, you’ll find people from all over the world — people who share the same passion for running.
Big races that take place in the Czech metropolis under the auspices of the RunCzech Running League have reached the levels of those put on by other European running organisations. And not just in the number of participants, but also the services available and the route planning. This is evidenced by the prestigious award given by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) — something the organisers of the Prague International Marathon can be proud of.
For runners from abroad, the biggest attraction is certainly the beautiful route. The races start in Prague’s historical centre and run through its most scenic areas, from which cars and buses are temporarily banned. Runners can take in a view of Prague Castle, as well as both banks of the Vltava River. The marathon route even leads across Charles Bridge.
Overseas runners make up an average of 19% of the total number of runners. Athletes from all over the world — 108 different nationalities — come to Prague to race. The most common foreign nationalities are French, German, Italian, Polish, Swedish, and Slovak. But you’ll also find runners from Nepal, Guinea, the Coconut Islands, or even Antarctica.
The running season in Prague starts in the spring, usually at the end of March/beginning of April. The half-marathon route is 21.0975 km long. 2015 will be the 17th time the half-marathon has been run in Prague. The entry fee ranges from CZK 700 to 1,800 (approx. EUR 25 to 65), depending on when you register.
The upcoming marathon (42.195 km) in May will be the 21st — 10,192 runners took part in 2014. The entry fee ranges from CZK 800 to 2,500, or about EUR 30 to 90.
As the races quickly sell out, it’s best to register in the autumn before the race. But even if you don’t, it’s not too late — there are other ways to get a race bib. One way is to buy the Pokoř (půl) marathon package, which includes a number for the race, or you can get one through one of PIM’s charity partners and help support their good works with your running. The half-marathon and marathon weekends also feature relay races, team races, as well as other smaller and shorter races. These races generally have openings even at fairly late dates.
There’s a whole schedule of smaller races that take place in the capital city, but none are more attractive, renowned or attention-grabbing for foreign visitors as the RunCzech running league races. You can register for all the main Prague running events online at www.runczech.com.
Also of interest, especially for Czech runners, is the traditional 10K road race in Běchovice, the Velká Kunratická cross-country race, or the new RunTour, which features races of varying lengths in Prague’s Ladronka Park. For more information and race dates, see www.behej.com.
Prague Christmas Markets
Christmas markets (Vanocni trh) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic. And the Prague Christmas markets are the most impressive, lighting up the city, and bringing locals and tourists together to share in the spirit in a ‘winter wonderland’ setting.
The main Christmas markets are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (5 minutes walk from each other). There is also a smaller market at Republic Square and a permanent one at Havel’s Market.
The Prague Christmas markets are open daily, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
The markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts: glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metalware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats, gloves and scarves, and puppets and dolls beautifully dressed in traditional costumes.
Visitors should find some nice items to take home, to decorate their houses or to use as Christmas gifts. But the Christmas markets are not just about shopping. Visitors can observe traditional foods being made, and sample all manner of local produce. Large hams are roasted on spits, there are terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása), and cakes and pastries prepared in front of you – try ‘Trdelník’, a hot sugar coated pastry. To accompany the food, there are the famous Czech beers – Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar – and a variety of warm drinks on offer. Outdoor Christmas shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot mulled wine (svařené víno or svařák) in your hand!
The Christmas markets at the Old Town Square also have an animals stable, where children can stroke sheep, goats and a donkey. And there is a large Bethlehem scene depicting Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Kings in a wooden stable. Most impressive of all is the Christmas tree, shipped in from the Krkonose mountains in the north of the Czech Republic. The tree is erected at the Old Town Square and draped in a blaze of lights. It is switched on every night around 5pm, and set against Prague’s dark gothic skyline, makes a spectacular sight.
Artists and Prophets
Egon Schiele saw himself as a visionary and prophetic artist, František Kupka forged an abstract style of painting infused with spiritist principles, Joseph Beuys called under the rubric “social sculpture” up for social change due to creative actions, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an ecological crusader whose spiral paintings were holistic in essence. These pioneering artistic attitudes and developments would have not come about without contact with several “prophets”. Some of these were artist-naturists, others were modern-day Christs, while still others saw themselves as social revolutionaries of a kind. Their relevance for modern art remains a largely untold story. Today, their names – Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Gusto Gräser, Gustav Nagel, as well as Friedrich Muck-Lamberty and Ludwig Christian Haeusser – have almost been forgotten. During their lifetime, however, they were widely known among a broad-based public and in avant-garde circles. Artists and intellectuals also admired them, albeit often behind closed doors.
The Prague rerun of the Frankfurt exhibition is presenting over 350 works by various artists. They include Egon Schiele, František Kupka, Johannes Baader, Heinrich Vogeler, Joseph Beuys, Jörg Immendorff, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser as well as a variety of documentation materials.
The exhibition both reveals causalities and establishes unexpected connections. It also embeds the ‘barefoot-prophets’ and the artistic avant-garde in a wide-ranging social historical context.
Curator of the exhibition: Pamela Kort, Los Angeles/Berlin/Zurich. Cooperation: Veronika Hulíková, Rea Michalová. An exhibition organized by Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in cooperation with the National Gallery in Prague.
Date: 22.07.2015 – 18.10.2015
Place: Trade Fair Palace
The National Gallery Offers Free Entrance for Young People
Starting in April, children and students up to age 26 can visit all National Gallery permanent exhibitions free of charge. These collections feature artwork from the Middle Ages through to the present day and are free for Czechs as well as foreign visitors.
The National Gallery in Prague has successfully put its long-term plan into place to provide free entrance for the younger generation, making fine art more accessible to the public. The Gallery took as its example a similar concept used by renowned museums abroad – such as in London and Washington – for this new entrance fee model.
The project’s goal is to ensure that the younger generation has the opportunity to enhance their education through exposure to art, as well as to ensure that fine art becomes a natural part of their cultural life. This offer is valid for both Czech and foreign visitors to the National Gallery until the end of 2015.
The specific permanent exhibitions that this offer extends to are:
Prague Art and Music 1.0
The concentration of galleries per square mile (or meter) in Prague is pretty impressive, and you might be surprised at what hidden gems the local galleries are hiding. For those of you who prefer to enjoy audible art, you won’t be disappointed either. After all, music is the very soul of Prague. here we have put together a basic selection of the most interesting things you should definitely see or hear while in Prague.
For most visitors, their first steps take them to Prague Castle. And it’s no wonder – the majestic landmark towering over the Vltava is one of the country’s main symbols. The large complex is home to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery, one of the oldest existing collections of paintings in the country. Throughout the year, the Picture Gallery exhibits works from the renowned collections of Emperor Rudolf II. Among more than a hundred pieces are paintings by Titian (Young Girl at Her Toilette), Hans von Aachen (Head of a Girl, Portrait of Emperor Matthias as Czech King), Tintoretto (Whipping) and Peter Paul Rubens (Assembly of the Gods on Mount Olympus). While you’re at the Castle, don’t forget to visit the Lobkowicz Palace, where you can find the breathtaking Haymaking by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, London: The Thames on Lord Mayor’s Day by Canaletto, or a lovely portrait of The Spanish Infanta Margaret Theresa by Diego Velazquez.
Extensive and unique collections can also be found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery in the Sternberg Palace on Hradčany Square, housing the permanent exhibition of European art from antiquity to the late Baroque. In addition to works from classical antiquity, you can also see major works of Italian, Flemish, Dutch and Austrian painters, one of the most famous of which is The Feast of the Rosary by Albrecht Dürer. The Schwarzenberg Palace, probably the most beautiful Renaissance building in Prague, presents the best of Baroque art in Bohemia (works by Matthias Bernard Braun, Ferdinand Maximilian Brokoff, Karel Škréta and others). Of special note is the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, featuring an impressive, truly world-class collection of medieval art from Bohemia and Central Europe, and the Kinský Palace in the Old Town Square, featuring Asian art.
Prague and music are inherently inseparable. The year 2014 was even declared the Year of Czech Music, and extraordinary musical event organised
because of various anniversaries of Czech composers and musical geniuses (Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Leoš Janáček and others) which fall on years ending in four. But don’t despair – 2015 will offer music lovers a number of special experiences as well.
The first stop for music experts should be virtually any concert of the Czech Philharmonic – the most important Czech symphony orchestra. Its home in the Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall, underwent an extensive renovation this year and now offers listeners not only more comfortable seating, but also better acoustics. The Czech Philharmonic’s programme varies every year, but will always satisfy the most demanding visitors and children’s audiences alike.
Another exceptional concert space is the Municipal House’s Smetana Hall, home of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and a regular venue for the most important concerts of the Prague Spring music festival.
High-quality music events are also held at the Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle, the Church of Sts. Simon and Jude, the Mirror Hall of the Rudolfinum, and the atmospheric Church of St. Anne.
Prague is also a popular venue for international pop stars, many of whom have shot music videos here (for example, Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, Jason Mraz, Rihanna, and more.) The largest concerts are usually hosted in the spacious O2 Arena or the Prague Congress Centre. The new multi-functional Forum Karlin with the latest technology and crystal-clear acoustics has also very quickly established itself on the cultural map of the city.
In terms of music clubs, there’s a wide range of options. Jazz lovers should head to Smíchov’s Jazz Dock, which will enchant with the magnificent atmosphere of its jazz evenings. For those who love a few good guitar riffs , head to the legendary Lucerna Music Bar or the Akropolis in Prague’s charismatic Žižkov district. For those who want to dance until dawn, we recommend the Roxy – a mecca for all lovers of quality electronic music, or the industrial-themed Cross Club in Prague 7 if you enjoy your bass good and loud. Some of the edgiest Prague events are held at the Meet Factory, owned by artist David Černý.
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