Plzeň Czech Republic – European Capital of Culture 2015

Pilsen

Plzeň (Pilsen), the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic, has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2015, alongside Mons in Belgium.

Pilsen
Pilsen

Pilsen entered the competition with the motto: “Pilsen Open Up!” The city wowed EU ministers with its new theatre, a multi-cultural quarter devoted to design and non-professional artists and modernisation of the sports centre. The city has also promised to build a new amusement park, Gambrinus Park, with a skate part, a rope climbing centre and an artificial climbing wall.

In 2016, Wroclaw in Poland will be a European Capital of Culture – read more that here.

Pilsner Fest 2010 – A Feast of Pilsner, Gastronomy & Music

Pilsner FestOn the 27th and 28th of August the Pilsner Fest will take place in the premises of the Pilsner Urquell  brewery in the Czech Republic.  The festival promises to be a feast of beers, gastronomy and music.

Music lovers have been promised an incredible two-days featuring 25 bands offering the widest variety of musical genres and performing on two stages directly on the grounds of the Pilsner brewery including: J.A.R., Support Lesbiens, Mig 21 and Tři sestry (Three Sisters). The latter has even prepared an entirely new song for Pilsner Fest and will play it live for the very first time in Pilsen. A unique sort of musical carousel has also been prepared to introduce each band. As the band on stage winds down its performance, it will play something from the repertoire of the band following them up. Visitors will therefore be treated to an incredibly diverse combination of musical styles: Tři sestry playing something famous from Xindl X, Visací Zámek (Padlock) trying a bit of hip-hop ala Kapitán Láska (The Captain of Love), or Jirka Macháček gritting his teeth and launching into a song by Sunshine.

There will be plenty of unique beer specials to keep your tastebuds alert, while traditional snacks will be available to soak up any excess alcohol!  The best bit? Entry to the festival is FREE of charge.

To find out more visit www.pilsnerfest.cz

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Czech Cities Come to Life with Easter Markets

Znojmo City
Znojmo City

The Czech Republic is one of the most popular places visited by European and American Westerners alike.  If you are taking a trip this Easter check out some of the beautiful Easter Markets – they are simply not to be missed!  An Easter Market is held every year in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in Prague. Stalls with souvenirs and Easter products lure locals and visitors alike from 20 March to 11 April. In addition to shopping, an interesting cultural programme awaits. Spectators will enjoy folklore, folk music and dance in Old Town Square. There will also be a workshop for children, providing the youngest ones the possibility to braid switches into so-called “pomlázky” (birch rods) and to dye eggs.

Market places will of course sprout up in a variety of places in the Czech Republic. The South Moravian city of Znojmo, for instance, will celebrate the spring holidays from 29 March to 4 April. Easter markets filled with artisans, culture and attractions for children are being prepared. Children also can look forward to tours of Znojmo underground designed specially for them. www.znojmocity.cz

In Ceský Krumlov, Easter markets are held from 1 to 5 April and the attractive programme will be complemented this year by passion plays in the monastery garden. www.ckrumlov.info

People can also celebrate Easter at castles and chateaus. From 3 to 5 April, the event titled Princely Easter at Krivoklát will take place. You can expect to see an Easter market and concerts as well as masses and theatre performances. www.krivoklat.cz

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New Developments at Czech Spas

Jáchymov
Jáchymov

The Czech Republic is without question one of the world’s spa superpowers. Here you will find more than 30 spa locations, hundreds of curative springs and other valued healthful natural resources:

Aquatic pleasures in Jáchymov

In 1906, the Jáchymov spa in the foothills of the Krušné mountains became the first in the world to take advantage of the curative effects of radon water. Patients with ailments of the locomotory system are treated there. From the end of November, here you can also visit thestate-of-the-art Aquacentrum Agricola, located in the oldest (some 100 years old) spa building. You are thus able to enjoy all kinds of aquatic pleasures in an interior that is at once modern and preserved with a number of original historic elements. For more information, visit www.laznejachymov.cz.

A unique pool in Karlova Studánka

The Karlova Studánka spa, which lies in the heart of the Jeseníky mountains 800 metres above sea level, has also undergone innovation. Last year, the construction of a unique pool with warm sea water was completed here. In addition to bathing, visitors to the pool also will love the various massage jets. Moreover, the pool is illuminated with white and blue light, creating an exotic atmosphere. This environment is also conducive to pleasant meditation. You can find more information at www.k.studanka.cz

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Meet The Cancelled Czech: A Biography of Dan Havlena

Dan, the son of a diplomat, was born into an affluent Czechoslovak family in 1922. The early years of his life were filled with extraordinary events including meeting Stalin and sitting on his knee, and watching the Germans test jet engine prototypes prior to World War II. However, both of these incidents are eclipsed by his remarkable and desperate escape from Communism.

Having obtained an engineering degree and wishing to embark on a career in the international oil industry, Dan earnestly sought a means of escape from Communism. He considered trekking over mountains and swimming across rivers in order to avoid frontier controls. However, ultimately, he decided on hijacking an aeroplane. On the 6th of April, 1948, Dan, the leader of seventeen determined Czechs (three members of the crew, including the pilot, and fourteen passengers) seized a commercial aeroplane at gunpoint and flew it to the United States-controlled zone of Germany. The Czechoslovak National Airlines aeroplane was flying from Prague to Bratislava when the hijackers tried to divert the aeroplane to London but, ultimately, landed in Munich. Despite being given a chance to escape the poor living conditions and oppression within Eastern Europe at that time, only three other passengers grasped the opportunity to flee Czechoslovakia.

czech-map

Unfortunately, the plot to hijack the Czechoslovak National Airlines aeroplane had dire consequences for Jan Masaryk, the son of Tomas Masaryk, the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia and founder of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Jan Masaryk held the position of Foreign Minister for Czechoslovakia between 1940 and 1948. He was supposed to join the hijackers but had died, falling out of a window, on the 10th March, 1948 at his Czernin Palace apartment.

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Prague Castle Most Visited Place in Czech Republic

Prague Castle
Prague Castle

Prague Castle is the most popular tourist attraction in the Czech Republic.  In 2008, the castle was visited by 1.34 million people. The Prague Zoo is the only other destination to exceed the 1 million visitors mark, while the Babylon entertainment complex in Liberec is the leading location outside Prague within the Czech Top 10.

Top 10 Most Visited Tourist Destinations in the Czech Republic

1. Prague Castle 1.34 million
2. Prague Zoo 1.20 million
3. Jewish Museum, Prague 612,000
4. National Museum, Prague 549,000
5. Babylon entertainment complex, Liberec 540,000
6. Dvur Králové Zoo 539,000
7. Lešná Zoo 490,000
8. National Gallery, Prague 477,000
9. Old Town Hall, Prague 456,000
10. Terezín Memorial 443,000

Top 5 Most Visited Castles and Chateaux

1. State castle and chateau Ceský Krumlov 338,000
2. State chateau Lednice 331,000
3. State chateau Hluboká nad Vltavou 255,000
4. State castle Karlštejn 254,000
5. Chateau and arboretum Pruhonice 250,000

These results were based on numbers from 2008 and were published by the Czech Tourism Agency in 2009.

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Jurys Inns Opens in Prague

Prague Castle

Jurys Inns has opened its first hotel on mainland Europe. The small Irish chain of hotels has finally opened its doors to locals and visitors in the Czech capital city, Prague. Holidaying in Eastern Europe has proven very popular with Irish people in recent years, proving to be an accessible, affordable location steeped in history and culture.

Jurys Inn Prague now offers an inexpensive accommodation offer without having to compromise on comfort, style or a central location.  The hotel employs 60 people, bringing the total number of employees in the Jurys Inns Group to over 2,000, due to the recent expansion.

The 214 bedroom hotel is located within short walking distance of Prague’s old historic town centre and other key attractions such as the romantic Charles Bridge and the idyllic Prague Castle. If you are thinking of an Autumn Break, Prague is an ideal spot, offering the perfect mix of culture, shopping and nightlife while still offering great value for money for Irish clients.

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Czech Baked Salmon

This recipe is perfect for a quick but super healthy meal and requires just seven ingredients (and that’s counting salt and pepper as two!)  If you don’t want to use salmon, trout is a reasonable alternative, or mackerel could be used but I would imagine that could produce quite a different taste.

Czech Baked Salmon
Czech Baked Salmon

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Czech Campaign

Prague Castle
Prague Castle

A media campaign, which was prepared by CzechTourism in cooperation with the City of Prague, will be running throughout August on the Expedia.com reservation portal.  This synergy was also supported by Prague Airport and the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, together with the hotels which participated in this campaign.

The aim of this campaign is to present Prague as a holiday alternative in Central Europe and to increase the number of people coming into the city from surrounding destinations.  The campaign on Expedia is focused on the important source tourism markets for the Czech Republic: USA, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia.

The City of Prague
Prague will undoubtedly captivate your senses.  The City of a Hundred Spires, the Golden City, the Mother of Cities and the Heart of Europe – these are all names for Prague, the largest UNESCO urban conservation area in the world. Prague is also an exciting city that offers a mix of art, music, dance, film and theatre.  This gem of original European architecture is a beautiful and romantic city with breathtaking views, quiet gardens, rides on riverboats and relaxing strolls along narrow cobblestone lanes.  Even with its history dating back more than a thousand years, the Czech capital is still a thriving modern city with luxury hotels, excellent restaurants offering traditional Czech and international cuisine, trendy clubs and enchanting pubs.

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