The flowers and plants are coming back to life and so are the sights and historic monuments which reopen their gates to visitors from all over the world after the winter. The Easter celebrations from March 30 until April 1 include a series of interesting events which give visitors an extra reason to plan a trip to the Czech Republic during spring.
Easter in Prague
Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, invites visitors to a range of exciting Easter events. The annual Easter markets which take place on three of Prague´s most famous squares – Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and the Square of the Republic – are the most popular of them all. This year the markets will take place from March 16 until April 17. At Old Town Square there will be more than 90 stands offering traditional Czech products such as beautifully decorated Easter eggs, laces, wooden toys and puppets and various Easter decorations. Every day the markets are visited by 10,000 people looking for some great shopping as well as entertaining cultural programmes. The schedule includes music and dance performances, demonstrations of old arts and crafts, decorating Easter eggs and making candles. Younger visitors will have lots of fun in the children´s workshop in Old Town Square where they can try some of the crafts themselves. www.trhypraha.cz
Numerous classical music concerts take place in Prague every day at Easter time and make any trip to the Czech capital even more special. The music of well and less well-known works by Czech and international artists will sound in many of Prague´s most beautiful venues including Klementinum, the Municipal House, the State Opera, the Spanish Synagogue or the Lobkowicz Palace. www.pragueexperience.com/events/easter.asp
Celebrate Easter at a castle, chateau or an open-air museum
Most Czech castles, chateaux and other historic monuments traditionally reopen their gates after the winter on the last weekend in March. As the last March weekend this year also happens to be Easter weekend, some of them are putting on special shows. At Zleby Castle (www.zamek-zleby.cz) the castle kitchen will come to life with chefs and maids preparing traditional Easter treats using ancient recipes. Hradek u Nechanic Castle (www.hradekunechanic.cz) offers a programme celebrating the history of Czech and international Easter customs. Other castles and chateaux which have prepared entertaining Easter programmes include: Krivoklat (www.krivoklat.cz), Kravare (www.kravare.cz), Jansky Vrch (www.janskyvrch.cz), Zirovnice (www.zirovnice.cz), Pardubice (www.kcpardubice.cz), Ctenice (www.zamekctenice.cz), Veltrusy (www.zamek-veltrusy.cz) etc.
The ideal places to celebrate Easter, shop for traditional Czech products at Easter markets and learn about the various national and regional customs are the Czech open-air museums. Valasske museum v prirode in Roznov pod Radhostem (www.vmp.cz) will stage a three day programme comprising a period market, demonstrations of various arts and crafts and Easter customs performed by members of local folk groups. Visitors to Polabske muzeum in Prerov nad Labem (www.polabskemuzeum.cz) will enjoy a traditional Easter as celebrated in the local village from the mid-18th Century until the first half of the 20th Century. The following open air museums will also be staging Easter programmes: Kourim (www.skanzenkourim.cz), Muzeum vesnice jihovychodni Moravy in Straznice (http://skanzen.nulk.cz/) or Hanacke skanzen in Prikazy (www.hanackeskanzen.cz).
The Moravian city of Brno will host the 22nd edition of the Easter Festival of Spiritual Music (www.mhf-brno.cz/velikonocni-festival-duchovni-hudby/) from March 24 until April 7, 2013. The theme of this year´s festival will be Exodus referring to the Israelites´ departure from Egypt, the pilgrimages of believers to the Jerusalem temple as well as the conclusion of Christ´s journey on Earth. Spiritual compositions by Wolfgang Rihm, Giovanni Battista Aloisi and Giovanni Valentini will be performed in the Czech Republic for the first time. The renowned vocal ensemble “Singer Pur” from Munich will also appear in the Czech Republic for the first time. Among the highlights of the festival will be choral compositions by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and a performance of Händel´s grand oratorio Israel in Egypt.
Straz nad Nezarkou Castle, the former home of renowned Czech opera singer Ema Destinnova, holds its special Easter Concert on March 31, 2013 (www.zamekstraz.cz/velikonocni-koncert). Visitors to the concert can look forward to an interview with the Director of Ballet of the National Theatre Vlastimil Harapes. Richard Haan, the first soloist of the National Theatre, will sing and Tereza Podarilova, the coryphée of the National Theatre, will dance.
A Relaxing Easter
Easter will be celebrated in style in the Czech spa towns which have prepared a whole range of events for the festive weekend. A truly relaxing stay awaits guests at the Thermal Spa of Velke Losiny with warm baths and healing wraps and then a delicious festive Easter lunch. (www.lazne-losiny.cz) The spa town of Podebrady is offering a selection of rejuvenating spa treatments with an Easter Concert and a Gala Evening with live music. (www.lazne-podebrady.cz) More Easter spa packages can be found at: www.clp.cz/specificke-pobyty/velikonoce-v-laznich-2013/28.
Easter is also a celebration of Czech cuisine. Among the traditional fare of the Easter table is special Easter stuffing, hot cross buns, Easter sponge in the shape of a lamb and beautifully decorated Easter ginger bread. Make sure you visit restaurants which offer Czech specialities and provide excellent service. A selection can be found at: http://www.czechspecials.cz/restaurace/