The Žižkov television tower, photo: CzechTourism

In Magazine: Czech bettors lose money on the new Pope; a good way to beat the cold is to attend the annual wine-tasting event From wine cellar to wine cellar; check out the capital’s latest attraction: a six star one-room hotel and, a police search is on for 19th century explorer Emil Holub’s pipe.

Pope Francis,  photo: CTK
Czechs who are into betting have not had an easy time lately. Bets on the Czech presidential election saw insignificant wins since most bettors put their money on the winner, whether or not he was their own choice for president. Hopes of bettering the score on the papal elections were dashed not long after since almost no one put their money on Cardinal Bergoglio. Bettors lost approximately 1.5 million with thousands of bets on Cardinal Turkson and Archbishop Scola. Somewhat irrationally, bettors also put their money of Cardinal Dominik Duka.

Illustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague
The weather is unseasonably cold for this time of the year with nighttime lows dropping to -10 degrees Celsius and snow showers defying the fact that it is Easter time. But in some parts of the country people know how to keep warm –in Moravia close to 5,000 people attended the annual wine tasting event called From wine cellar to wine cellar. The hardiest drinkers could visit up to 50 wine cellars but many people were happy making a close inspection of one. The annual event has gained enormous popularity and is now attracting a large number of Poles and Slovaks as well.

Photo: Official website of the festival
In the town of Zlín people were also in good cheer this week thanks to the presence of live bands on the local trolleybuses. The BusFest happening is traditionally organized by students of Zlín University who first introduced it 4 years ago, thinking it would be a good idea to bring some cheer into the lives of people going about their daily tasks. The happening was a hit and on one day of the year now trolleybuses are transformed into mobile music clubs. Every third bus in town has a live band and many of the locals hop on as many as they can in the course of the day.

Photo: CTK
As usual the Easter holidays are a welcome opportunity for people to socialize and enjoy the age-old traditions linked to Easter. Many pubs are preparing special menus for the occasion and farmers’ markets are selling Czech Easter specialties. There are also lots of outdoor events and happenings despite the freezing cold weather. Last week a group of butchers from the town of Hodonín came together to make a record-size sausage measuring 4.3 meters. The sausage was measured by a representative from the Czech Book of Records and promptly consumed by the crowd of onlookers. In the town of Choteboř people got together on the main square to make a huge Easter egg from thousands of plastic bottle caps. Over 10.000 caps went into the creation of the brightly coloured Easter egg with 30 of them having travelled all the way from England.

The Žižkov television tower,  photo: CzechTourism
It’s the smallest hotel in the Czech Republic with the best view of Prague you can get. The six-star, one-room hotel is 70 meters above ground in the Žižkov television tower. Situated right above a luxury restaurant, café, bar and observation deck it costs approximately 25,000 crowns per night and comes with a limousine and a driver –clearly accommodation for a special occasion. The newly opened one-room hotel is the result of a year-long reconstruction of the tower’s interior to make it more visitor- friendly. The inside space is designed to make it suited to different occasions and would accommodate a wedding party of 150 people. Those who have been to see it say the breathtaking view is worth the money, and cynics agree, adding that the best part of it is that you don’t get to see the tower which in 2009 placed second in an international survey of the world’s ugliest buildings.

Photo: Czech Police
The police are searching for a lost pipe. Not any old pipe, mind you, but a 500-year-old pipe that belonged to the famous Czech 19th century explorer and traveler Emil Holub, the first explorer to map out the Victoria falls and a man who greatly contributed to public understanding of Africa in his time. The pipe was stolen from a Prague Museum exhibiting Holub’s cartographic work and some of his personal belongings. Experts say the pipe was worth 100.000 crowns but its historic value is inestimable.

Photo: Czech Post/CTK
A domestic mail stamp with the image of President Miloš Zeman will start selling at post offices around the country on April 24th. It will be purple in colour and the first issue will be 10 million items. The Czech Republic is one of the few countries which puts the image of living presidents on stamps. The first presidential stamp issued was of Czechoslovakia’s first president T.G. Masaryk in 1920.