Prague's best known Menhir evokes both fascination and fear. An albino baby is born at Lesna Zoo and - what ails Prague's famous Astronomical Clock? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Menhirs are large, upright standing stones that are believed to have been erected in ancient times to serve religious or other purposes. They may have been been used in sacrificial rites, as territorial markers or early calendars. Menhirs are widely distributed across Europe, Africa and Asia and the mystery surrounding them evokes a mixture of fascination and fear. Vera Skrivankova has one just outside her garden - an upright slim boulder that is welded into her garden fence and takes up most of the narrow cobbled pavement. People often come to admire it - and tourist buses stop there to point it out. Vera says that many people believe it radiates a special kind of energy. "My daughter really believes in it, she says, "after every night shift she'll go to the stone to re-charge." Many faith healers allegedly do the same and some people come to the stone to meditate but some are so afraid of its powers that they cross the street in order not to have to come close to it. This - the best-known of Prague menhirs - is called Zkamenely sluha - the servant who turned to stone - and the first mention of it appears in Prague archives in 1914 when people started building houses in the area. Originally it stood in the middle of a meadow - possible as part of a group of similar stones. Another was uncovered buried in Vera's garden last year. If more of them appear in time it may be easier to decipher what purpose they served.
Police in the Decin region, in the northern part of the country have launched a controversial summer operation aimed at protecting tourists from thieves and pickpockets. They are putting up stickers along the most frequented tourist trails in the region warning people in English and German to be careful of their belongings, to lock their cars and not leave their things unattended. Their intention is good but the locals are up in arms about it. "What are tourists going to think - it makes us look like a den of thieves," one of them complained to the media recently. They are also afraid that the security campaign will drive tourists away and they will lose out on tourist revenues. However the police are adamant about seeing this through - and what they are hoping is that the stickers will drive thieves away from the region. "People on holiday are extremely carefree and they rarely bother to lock up anything - cars or caravans - making them easy targets. It is our duty to protect them - and besides if they get robbed here -they wouldn't come back anyway" an office countered. Either way, the controversial stickers are staying and only time will show who they will drive away -if anyone.