Skip Menu

Country and Language

Culture in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a country with a long tradition and culture in all conceivable forms: from architecture, theater, film, literature to music. We will only discuss the main cultural features, particularly those relevant to modern day life.

UNESCO

The Czech Republic has 12 sights listed on the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. They are mainly historical monuments of various ages (eg. the historical center of Prague, Český Krumlov or the entire village Holašovice), but also the works of modern architecture (Villa Tugendhat in Brno).

Film

Czech (and Czechoslovak film) had a worldwide reputation, especially in the 1960s due to the New Wave movement.

An Oscar for "Best Foreign Film" has been awarded to three Czech films: Shop on Main Street (1965), directed by Jan Kadár and Elmar Klos, Closely Watched Trains (1967), directed by Jiří Menzel, and Kolja (1996), directed by Jan Svěrák.

Czech films have enjoyed regular success at international festivals worldwide. The Czech Republic itself organizes a number of film festivals, the most prestigious being the international film festival held in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). 2014 saw the 49th such festival. The Summer Film School in the town of Uherské Hradiště focuses on more alternative genres.

Animated film

The Czech Republic (and especially former Czechoslovakia) is known for its animated films. Television for children has one programme called Večerníček (bedtime story), which is the longest continuously broadcasted television programme in the country. It is a series of short, about ten-minute-long episodes for children and has been continuously running every evening since 1965. Animated films for adults are represented by Jan Švankmajer, a world famous surrealist and creator of short and feature films.

Literature

Czech literature is well known in the world, especially the literature of the 20th century. It is represented by Karel Čapek (the author of the science fiction novel "The War With The Newts" or the drama "R.U.R.", where the word "robot" was used for the first time) or Franz Kafka, who wrote in German.

The most translated (into dozens of languages, including Chinese and Arabic) and the world's most widely read Czech book is "The Good Soldier Švejk", written by Jaroslav Hašek and illustrated by Josef Lada. The most respected living Czech writer is Milan Kundera, who lives in France and writes in French. The Czechs are known as a nation of readers - as can be seen from the 18,000 new titles being published annually. There are more public libraries than train stations in Czech municipalities (in spite of the fact that the Czech Republic has the second densest rail network in Europe, after the UK). There are various regularly published literary journals, organized author readings and a variety of literary competitions are held (e.g. Slam poetry, which was very popular in the last decade).

The world's best known Czech playwright is Václav Havel, the former president of Czechoslovakia, famous for his absurd dramas.

Music

Many people know the names of famous classical musicians such as Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček. However, they are the mere tip of the iceberg of Czech music. It was said that "every Czech is a musician" and to some extent it may still be true. Smaller musical projects of different genres are very successful in the Czech Republic, from classical music through alternative to heavy metal.The summer is the time when CR comes alive with large musical festivals (eg. Colours of Ostrava). Throughout the year there are shows at numerous clubs (especially in larger cities), where each listener can choose a genre according to his/her taste.

Interesting links

Film:

Literature:

Music:

Up