Thursday, 02 July 2015 12:03

Celebrating the Arts in the Czech Republic

Written by  Barbara Radcliffe and Stillman Rogers
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europe-czechThe arts are alive and well in the Czech Republic and your clients who love design, music, theater, art or architecture will delight in the rich cultural atmosphere of its cities.
Most will arrive in its beautifully restoreda capital of Prague, filled with buildings in styles from Gothic to Gehry in an old-world setting complete with a castle, palaces, meandering lanes and charming squares.
Not only does the architecture create a virtual textbook of styles, but the examples of each are definitive ones. Churches and palaces are stunning examples of Baroque, and Prague is renowned for its Art Nouveau buildings and cafes. Fans of Modernism and later styles will be just as happy: they can tour Villa Müller, designed by Modernist architect Adolf Loos, and see Frank Gehry’s famous Dancing House.

Cutting Edge Design
Mozarteum, a theater designed by innovative architect Jan Kotera in 1911, is now appropriately home to the Czech Design Center, highlighting the outstanding contemporary design the Czechs are noted for and offering visitors a chance to shop for the finest examples. Style-conscious clients will also be interested in Designblok - Days of Design, an annual six-day show (October 21-27 this year) that showcases cutting-edge Czech designers of contemporary furniture, home accessories, fashion, and jewelry. Venues are the Art Nouveau interior of the Industrial Palace at Prague’s Exhibition Grounds and the Baroque Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace. Any time of year, clients can shop in Designblok’s permanent gallery.
(www.profilmedia.cz)
September 21-27 brings a glamorous week of fashion, showcasing Czech and major international fashion designers in shows, talks and fashion parties. Prague Fashion Night, on September 23, brings a chance to shop in the exclusive boutiques on and around Pařížská Street at night, with special events and shows.

Pilsen - More than Beer
Your clients will find arts and culture in other Czech cities, too. In Pilsen, a 2015 European Capital of Culture, there is a tour of three newly restored apartment interiors designed by the world-famous Modernist architect Adolf Loos. One of these features a spectacular salon and dining room with glass walls positioned to create an endlessly repeated image, and at another, clients can see a salon with built-in furniture, travertine and wooden wall tiles. Loos interiors and furnishings are characterized by their modern functionality and timeless elegance of the designs, which depend on almost no ornamentation apart from their materials. Reserve Loos tour tickets at www.pilsen.eu

Modernism in Brno
Although the early-Gothic Špilberk Castle dominates its skyline, Brno is better known as central Europe’s Modernism capital, where a number of icons of Modernist style were designed and built in the era between the world wars. The star is Tugendhat Villa, designed by the director of the famous Bauhaus school, Ludwig Miese van der Rohe. In inscribing Tugendhat Villa as a World Heritage Site, UNESCO described is as “a masterpiece of the Modern Movement in architecture.” The villa is often the venue for concerts and classic film showings. Be sure to reserve clients’ tickets for tours at least two months in advance.
(www.tugendhat.eu)

Renaissance Český Krumlov
In contrast to Modernist Brno, the architecture and art of Český Krumlov is firmly Renaissance. Český Krumlov Castle, one of the largest in Eastern Europe, was built from the 14th through 19th centuries, but its most prominent features are from 16th-century remodeling in Renaissance style. But for many, the real gem of this castle is its Baroque Theater, considered the world’s best preserved theater of that era. On a tour, clients can see the ingenious early stage technology, as well as costumes, sound effects equipment and other back-stage features. Theater enthusiasts will also want to see the Marionette Museum for its antique and modern Czech marionettes and complete 19th-century puppet theaters. The museum shop sells marionettes created by contemporary Czech artists.

Music from Jazz to Dvořák
Finding music is never a problem anywhere in the Czech Republic, whether your clients like rock or opera, ars antigua or classic jazz. Street musicians, recitals in churches, outdoor concerts and music festivals join world class performances by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and ten professional opera houses, two in Prague alone. In September, Prague celebrates the work of native composer Antonín Dvořák, at the Dvor·kova Praha International Music Festival, while Strings of Autumn mixes jazz, experimental music and classical and traditional forms (www.strunypodzimu.cz). Brno International Music Festival features more than 30 concerts, along with recitals, operas and ballets (www.mhf-brno.cz). The Czech Philharmonic season runs from October through June. The Czech Association of Music Festivals (www.czech-festivals.cz) can help you locate special events that match your clients travel plans. For performance tickets, visit www.ticketpro.cz

Hotel Art
Your clients can immerse themselves in their favorite art and decorative styles even after the museums and attractions have closed, if you book them rooms in one of several period hotels.
In the heart of Český Krumlov’s UNESCO World Heritage Old Town they can enjoy original Renaissance paintings and frescoes at the boutique Hotel Růže, set in the dormitory of a 16th-century Jesuit college (http://english.janhotels.cz). Hotels in Prague represent the city’s early 20th-century styles, especially the Art Nouveau Palace Hotel (www.palacehotel.cz). Clients who admire mid-20th-century architecture will appreciate the elegant Art Deco Imperial Hotel and its Café Imperial for their mosaic ceilings, Cubist furnishings, geometric balustrades and original tiled walls (www.hotel-imperial.cz). Café Imperial, the most famous of the city’s coffee houses, was a favorite of writer Franz Kafka and Czech composer Leos Janacek.
Whether their cultural inclination is to Renaissance art, Baroque music, Modernist architecture or contemporary design, your clients will find it in the Czech Republic. Visit www.czechtourism.com

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