Enjoy the Czech Hospitality of the Past (Vychutnejte si české pohostinství z minulosti)

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Do you still remember going to Czech restaurants and pubs with tacky decorations, dirty walls, sticky tables or dirty tablecloths with set in stains? The food from that era was very simple, maybe too oily or salty, but very cheap. In places like this you could find interesting people and an atmosphere that was much different form the one you may experience today. This week you can find a restaurant like this in Prague 3 called “U dvou Hrabalu” on Chelcickeho 14 Street. The restaurant was re-designed to show what Czech or even Slovak pubs used to look like in the eighties or maybe even earlier times. Until Sunday, the visitors have a chance to go back in time to re-live the past that may have already been forgotten.

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CzechFolks.com Celebrates One Year Anniversary (CzechFolks.com slaví 1. výročí)

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Ilustrace: Miloslav HeřmánekToday is a special day for CzechFolk.com, because we celebrate our first anniversary. The past twelve months were really amazing and we can’t wait to see what is ahead of us. Less than 6 months ago, we also introduced another affiliate named CzechFolks.com PLUS that brings lots of interesting articles from our talented authors that live all over the world. That is why we believe it is time to tell you more about our site and introduce to you our team of volunteers that contribute to the site. Continue reading

More Czech Products for Free! (Více českých produktů zdarma!)

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Let’s start the weekend with some fun. As we promised, we have a great prize for CzechFolks.com readers. Everybody living in the USA can participate. You will not only win a wonderful item related to the Czech Republic or Slovakia, but you will also be able to pick a T-shirt of your taste and size.

The sweepstakes are sponsored by ABC Imports – a company that imports great goods mostly from the Czech Republic. What can you find there? Here is a brief list of items that you can find on their website www.abc-imports.com: Continue reading

Will Canada Reintroduce the Visa Requirements for Czechs? (Zavede znovu Kanada vízové povinnosti pro Čechy?)

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According to Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, the chances that Canada would re-impose visa restrictions on Czechs are getting slimmer. The visa reinstatement came to mind after the massive refugee claims submissions in the past six months. The Czech Republic was the second highest country contributing about 1700 claims submitted between January and June 2009, right after Mexico with about 5500 claims during the same time period. The Roma, also known as Gypsies, complain about living conditions and racism, however, others believe that they only seek asylum in Canada for its generous welfare system and due to the lenient immigration laws. Continue reading

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Has Started! (Mezinarodní Filmový Festival Karlovy Vary byl zahájen!)

Like every July, even this year the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (IFF) introduces more than 200 new and popular films from many countries around the world. The 44th year of this festival opens with the red carpet and the arrival of the guests as you see in the American Academy Awards Show. The location of this festival is, however, much different since it takes place in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), a historic town known for its healing mineral spring water that in the 14th century helped Charles IV to heal his body and mind. During this time of the year, the town is filled with tourists, visitors and locals eager to see the beauty of the city and creations of many talented filmmakers. Continue reading

Will Prague Ever Host the Olympics? (Bude někdy Praha hostit olympijské hry?)

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More than six years ago Pavel Bem, the mayor of Prague, informed the public of his intention to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2016. Even the former mayor of Prague, Jak Kasl, supported this idea when he signed a contract with the Czech Olympic Committee. Two years later Pavel Bem stated that this idea became a serious plan. As he stated, “Prague would become a special location to organize such an event that would bring lots of attention to the city,” but would it actually be able to host such an event? Today we don’t have to think about this question since the event organizers withdrew their plan due to the current economic crisis. Nevertheless, the Olympic candidacy has already cost the city about 70 million crowns. Was it a smart idea to withdraw or not? Continue reading

The Unforgettable Obliteration of Lidice (Nezapomenutelné vyhlazení Lidic)

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June 10th has been a sad day of remembrance in the history of the Czech village Lidice since the year 1942. The story still touches many people, even though it happened more than 60 years ago. On that day Nazis murdered Lidice men and boys over the age of 15 years old. The Women and girls were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp and about 100 children were sent to Gneisenau concentration camp, where only some of them later ended up in Nazi orphanages. Others were killed or died due to poor health. The village physically disappeared and was erased in German maps. The tragic act happened based on a false accusation that some Lidice residents were involved in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich; also known as “the man with the iron hearth.” Continue reading

Czech/Slovak Expatriates (1): Dr. Premysl Pelnar (Čeští/slovenští expati (1): Dr. Přemysl Pelnář)

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The story below is about a very important Czech doctor, Premysl Pelnar, who recently passed away (5th of April, 2009) at the age of 95 years old. Dr. Pelnar, a Czech physician, who immigrated to Canada from the former Czechoslovakia in 1964, played a significant role in the area of occupational health. For example, he organized several research projects that resulted in hundreds of scientific publications and lead several research projects all over the world. A fund named “Dr. Premysl (Mike) Pelnar Academic Enrichment Fund” was also established in his honor in the Department of Occupational Health at McGill University in Montreal. The story is written by our new author Josef Cermak, a Doctor of Law, journalist, writer, poet, actor and a lifelong organizer of public and scientific life for Czech and Slovak countrymen in Canada. The Czech version to this article can be found in our “Czech Only” version of CzechFolks.com named CzechFolks.com PLUS, where he regularly contributes with his insightful and brilliant articles.

I am hoping that Dr. Premysl (Premík, Mike) Pelnar is with us in spirit. I am sure that if he could, he would be with us in body as well. And most likely would deliver a riveting, charming and smiling oration on the vicissitudes of his life. And what a life it was! Continue reading

In Memory of Waldemar Matuska (Na památku Waldemara Matušky)

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Yesterday, a great Czech singer and actor, Waldemar Matuska passed away at the age of 76. Waldemar Matuska was actually born in Košice, Slovakia, but he spent most of his life in Prague. During his life in the former Czechoslovakia, he was very popular and twice won the Golden Nightingale poll. As an actor, he performed; for example, with Jiri Suchy and Karel Stedry and he played in many movies, such as, All My Good Countrymen (Všichni dobří rodáci), Lemonade Joe (Limonádový Joe), If a Thousand Clarinets (Kdyby tisíc klarinetů), A Night at Karlstein (Noc na Karlštějně), The Hit (Trhák) and more. When he immigrated to the USA in 1986, the communist party published an article in “Rudé právo” magazine entitled “The moral fall of a singer.” His songs were banned and even his opening song for a Czech TV series Cottagers (Chalupáři) was edited and his voice was removed. Luckily, the infamous label he received soon vanished after the fall of communism in 1989 and Matuska was able to frequently visit his home country.

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You Can’t Hide from Czech Courts Anymore (Před českými soudy se již neschováte)

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Beginning the 1st of July, 2009, the Czech courts will gain more power and control over Czech citizens than ever before. On this day a new amendment of the Judicial Code will become valid. It will prevent avoidance of judicial mail. It will, however, assume that all correspondence sent by courts will be received by their recipients, even though they won’t be required to sign for it. What does this mean for all of you living abroad? Even if you don’t sign for a registered letter directed to you, ten days after the registered envelope delivery you will be assumed to have received it. The change is meant to thwart the typical behavior of people that received such letters in the past. Usually, if they found out the letter was from a court, they would refuse to sign for it and the post office would have to mail it back to the sender 10 days after contacting the sender or his/her family. Now, such correspondence will be deposited in the recipients’ mailboxes without the need for signatures.

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Enter to Win Free Language Courses (Zapojte se do soutěže o jazykové kurzy zdarma)

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A Czech proverb “Kolik reci vis, tolikrat jsi clovekem,” or in Slovak “Kolko reci vies, tolkokrat si clovekom,” can be literally translated as “As many languages as you know makes you that many times more of a person.” Basically it means that the number of languages you know makes you that number of times more of a person. So how many languages do you know? The golden rule is that you should know a little bit about the culture and language of the country you are visiting or moving to. The more you explore and learn about the country, its citizens and their culture, the more they will help you to understand the differences that could surprise you upon your arrival to a foreign country.

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Zdenek Sverak Receives the Czech Bestseller Prize (Zdeněk Svěrák obdržel Cenu Český bestseller)

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Zdenek Sverak is well known in the Czech entertainment world. This Czech actor, humorist, and writer found his new niche – writing books. Sverak was born on March 28th, 1936 in Prague. He studied pedagogy at Charles University in Prague. Throughout his career he was an author of several musical texts and also plays. He, however, never fulfilled his dream to write books with short stories. It was only recently that he fulfilled his dream when he finally wrote his book called “Povidky” that contains stories from times from 1966 till 2008. The book is full of humor, honesty, and meanings that will keep readers interested and entertained.

If you live abroad and are not familiar with Czech entertainment, you may have still heard of Zdenek Sverak. Among his famous film scripts stands out one written for a movie called “Kolja” (Kolya) – Academy Award winning film in 1996 that he also starred in. This was the second film he worked on with his son and director Jan Sverak after their first film “The Elementary School” that was nominated for an Academy Award. If you are interested in learning more about Czech movies, you can visit our page HERE.

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