February 2: Hromnice
Czech very own Groundhog Day, an important day for Czech weather-related folklore when people predict the length of winter and the year's crops.
March 19: St. Joseph's Day
Czech version of the Irish St. Patrick's Day.
Some tradition has changed but Easter remains one of the most joyful holidays on the Czech calendar.
April 30: The Burning of the Witches
If you made something that looked like a witch and burned it, you could finally get rid of the cold weather! A final farewell to winter can still be witnessed in many Czech villages.
May 1: The Day of Love
This day devoted to lovers and the Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha: "Late evening, on the first of May - The twilit May - the time of love".
July 5: Day of Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the Great Moravian Empire in the year 863.
July 6: John Huss Commemoration - Anniversary of the execution of Jan Hus, a significant Czech religious reformer.
November 2: All Souls' Day
Czechs pay respects to their deceased loved ones.
December 5: St. Nicholas Day,
an exciting holiday for children, it is especially fun in Prague.
December 24 - 26: Christmas
Czech children believe that Christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) who comes into the room through the window...
There are 12 bank holidays in the Czech Republic. Except for Easter Monday, the dates of the holidays are fixed:
1 January - New Year's Day
1 April (2013) - Easter
1 May - May Day
8 May - Liberation from Fascism
5 July - Cyril and Methodius
6 July - Burning at Stake of Jan Hus
28 September - Czech Statehood Day
28 October - Establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic
17 November - Freedom and Democracy Day
24 December - Christmas Eve
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - Christmas Day
The currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna (CZK) or Czech Crown. The Crown is subdivided into 100 Haler, abbreviated as hal. Czech coinage consists of 1,2,5, 10, 20 and 50 Crown pieces. Banknotes: 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000.
Many places in Prague will now accept Euros but exchange rate given is usually poor. Always try to pay in Czech crowns.
Any how food, public transportation, beer and wine – are a bargain and very affordable.
In our expiriens there is better exchange rate in Prague than in canadian exchange offices. It's still convinient to have enough Czech Crown fot taxi fron airport and the first day.
Major credit cards are accepted in most locations.
It was in the Jewish district that I found this building in a style I hadn't seen before. The building from 1911, was built and painted in Biedermeier-style.
Biedermeier is the era between 1815 and 1848 in Central Europe. It just doesn't refer to architecture, it also includes literature, music, visual arts and interior design during this time.
Biedermeier architecture is renowned as having clean lines, minimal ornamentation, simplicity and elegance.
You can see the house I saw at 21 Maiselova street had all of this!
In the Old Town Square was where I found some buskers. One I really liked, was a young woman making huge bubbles. The children loved her and the bubbles which were nearly big enough to put over a small child. Quite entertaining!
Just before I left the square, a couple of men came into the square, one with a Cello and the other was a singer - I didn't stop to listen.
Doesn't take long before a crowd starts to form!
Don't be surprised if you see a Bride and Groom in Pragues Old Town Square! It is a very popular area.
The Old Town Hall is where wedding ceremonies are held, then afterwards, photo's are taken in the square, often with the Horse and carriage.
It certainly made for a nice Bridal photo's!
Prague, and it seemed to me every Restaurant or Café had an outdoor seating area divided into smoking and non-smoking.
What I didn't expect to see, was every possible space taken up with either a food vendor or perhaps an outdoor coffee place with seating. It really amazed me, that between each of the outdoor pillars of the "church of Our Lady before Tyn", I found tables & chairs, and food being cooked! Each small area belonging to a different vendor. No view, just somewhere to sit outside and enjoy a cuppa or meal. It was amazing, and yes, they were doing business!
The Czech Republic and Puppet's go hand in hand! The puppet show has been one of the traditional forms of theatre in the Czech lands for many centuries.
Puppets in the Czech Republic were around in the Middle Ages, when puppet shows were performed at fairs and markets. It was at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century that Czech puppet-making and puppetry developed. The Puppets were carved from wood and were given expressionless faces as it was the Puppeteer's job to give life and feeling into the puppet, by manipulating the puppet's movement and timing. Puppet shows were not only for children, but for adults too!
As time went buy, Puppetry became a family tradition, and was handed down to each generation.
For me, it was hard to imagine over 2000 Puppeteer's doing shows after World War 1.
Even today, you can go to a Czech Puppet Theatre to see a show.
I found plenty of shops to buy puppets from in Prague!
At the market in Republic Place, was another food stall. I believe this is the name of a company that sells all kinds of sausages to the public. They are known as "Sausage Kingdom" and go around to different markets.
When I was at a market in Prague, I saw Trdelnik being cooked and sold. I had no idea what it was! It looked to be a sweet, which it actually is.
The Trdelnik pastry is made by wrapping dough around a stick and cooking it over an open flame until it is golden brown and fully cooked. Then, it may have a dusting of cinnamon, sugar or nuts sprinkled over it. They are an inexpensive snack and quite popular. People were queuing to buy them, and I could watch them being cooked.
The name "Trdelnik" comes from trdlo, the wooden stake the cake is wrapped around for cooking which gives it its traditional hollow shape.
Trdelník is a traditional Hungarian cake and sweet pastry, originally coming from Székely Land, Transylvania. We found it available at markets in other countries too!
I found it interesting that the common assumption is that most Czechs are atheists. Though some would argue that living under communism was responsible for this, it probably goes far deeper than that. There is also the argument that the church didn't know how to respond to the increased expectations following the collapse of communism.
The one study that is commonly referenced asked not if a person believes in God or not. Rather it asked if they adhered to a religion or church. Very different if you think about it. One interesting argument i read was that it may be a historically rooted resistance to organized ideology since that has always led to war through the Czech's history.
It's hard to say, really. It is made even more puzzling by the large number of very beautiful churches you will see in Prague.
If I had to choose the best in Czech Republic I would have no doubt - Folklore.
Being in Prague I tried hard to find a live performance, and could only find it as a dinner animation in Holiday Inn.
I had no doubt, and took all my team to that dinner. They went a little bit suspicious about the interest of that show, but soon were convinced. Great night.
A serious request - Please, keep on dancing and playing that lovely music.
I boarded my train at Olomouc early on a Sunday morning, expecting that it would be a pretty quiet ride to Prague. If I was lucky I would even get a bit of shut eye after a night of partying in Olomouc.
It turned out to be a pretty fun ride. The train car was mostly empty. As I was stowing my bags one of the guys a few rows up turns around and welcomes me to the train, offering some of the bottle of vodka he and his friends were drinking. Though it was only about 9 am, the bottle was already half empty.
As it turns out there were about 15 of them, all supporters of a Czech hockey team (Vitkovice) and the almost 3 hour ride to Prague ended up being more like a combination of a party and pep rally. They were on their way to Prague to see their team play and they were fired up! When the conductor, a rather slight lady, would come in the car they would quiet down for a few minutes.
After Olomouc they put on their jerseys and started singing and cheering, they basically didn't stop until we got to Prague. The leader of the group was making sure his charges were getting enough to drink and singing with feeling. They came to talk to me for a bit, halfway apologizing for being a bit rowdy (I hope you don't get a bad impression of us, he said to me) It was all good fun and got a chance to see real Czechs showing off what they are passionate about.
We got spirit, yes we do! We got spirit,,,,how bout you!
When Eman found out we'd never had trdelnik before, he set out to do two things: the first was to teach us how to pronouce it and the second was to get us to taste some. Let's just say he was much more successful in this second endeavour! This round, delicious pastry originates from Romania. Its distinctive shape comes from the fact that in the old days, the dough would be stretched and rolled around a small tree bole (usually oak or beech wood) and baked over a fire. The tree bole has since been replaced by a metal cylinder but other than that, the basic recipe hasn't changed much over the years. Once cooked, the pastry is traditionally rolled in sugar and crushed nuts. Trdelniks are sold at different spots in the city, usually from street food stands. Some places offer the possibility of adding jam or nutella, but I was happy to get the original one :o)
Many people think of Prague's Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) as a tourist trap that merely offers some interesting architecture and so-so restaurants, but I thought it was interesting to see that it also is the place where locals converge to celebrate special events. We happened to be in Prague when the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team was killed in a plane crash. A memorial was quickly set up at Old Town Square and hundreds of people brought red votive candles along with flowers and hockey memorabilia in honour of the three Czech players who died on September 7, 2011: Josef Vašíček, Jan Marek and Karel Rachůnek. A night vigil while also held during which the square was filled with people wearing hockey sweaters and chanting hockey songs.
I'm sorry, but some things I just can't understand. Before you go to Prague you are almost always advised to take good walking shoes, you will be doing plenty of walking. That advice is spot on.
Local women are generally nicely dressed and walking about just like everyone else. What I don't understand is that local women seem to wear a lot of boots....and they have to walk on cobblestones all the time! Ah the high price of looking good!
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