Originally, literature was written in ancient Kyrgyzstan and Latin. Among the oldest Czech texts is the coral “Lord have mercy on us”, probably from the 9th century. In the 1300’s a highly developed literature was created, eg. The Dalimil Chronicle, the satire “Podkoní a žák” (“The stable boy and the student”), the dialogue “Tkadleček” (“The little weaver”), Bible translations and works by Tomáš Štítný ze Štítného. During the 15th century, the endeavors of reform reached a climax in Jan Hus and Petr Chelčický’s works as well as in spiritual songs. From the 16th century mention can be made of Hájek’s “Chronicle česká” (‘Czech Chronicle’, 1541), original travelogues and the activities of the Bohemian brothers. This includes Jan Blahoslav’s work and the “Kralice Bible”, a new translation of the Bible, important for the development of the Czech. The 17th and 18th centuries meant a stagnation in the development of literature. However, YES was high Comenius writings, i.a. the unique allegory “Labyrinth světa” (“The Labyrinth of the World”, 1631).
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Czech Republic, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
The national awakening (c. 1780-1848) was focused on the renewal of the Czech writing language and the Czech literature. Slavic community, Czech history and folk poetry were worshiped. Active writers include poets Ján Kollár, KH Mácha and KJ Erben (the two later romantics), prose writer Božena Němcová and journalist Karel Havlíček Borovský. The critical realism of the Máj circuit with, among other things, Jan Neruda’s work characterized the period 1850–70. Later, the “national school” dominated, which protected Czech tradition and Slavic community, e.g. Svatopluk Čech, and the Western-oriented cosmopolitan school with Jaroslav Vrchlický in the lead. The historical prose and the folk novel flourished. From the 1890’s the realism was developed by JS Machar and Petr Bezruč. Impressionism was represented by Antonin Sova, the symbolism of Otokar Březina and the decadence literature of Jiří Karásek. The naturalists included, among other things, KM Čapek-Chod. Social revolt was a common attitude of this generation.
The avant-garde of the interwar period, especially Jiří Wolker and Jaroslav Seifert, wrote revolutionary proletarian poetry with a clear socialist tendency. The avant-garde theorist Karel Teige as well as the poets Vítězslav Nezval and Jaroslav Seifert laid the foundation for poetism. Later Nezval and Teige went on to write surrealist works. In the 1930’s, lyricists such as František Halas, Vladimír Holan appeared and Catholic writers such as Jan Zahradníček. Jaroslav Hašek wrote the anti-militaristic novel “Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války” (1-4, 1921-23; “The brave soldier Švejk’s adventures during the World War”), Karel Čapek wrote utopian and philosophical prose, Vladislav Vančura avant-garde, avant-garde social novels, Egon Hostovský psychological novels, and Josef Knap described the peasant society. During World War II, national traditions were at the forefront. However, new avant-garde associations emerged as Group 42 with Jiří Kolář.
Freedom of speech was radically cut by the Communists after 1948. It was not until the thaw of the 1960’s that the literature was renewed, for example. Bohumil Hrabal, Ivan Klima, Milan Kundera, Věra Linhartová, Josef Škvorecký and Ludvík Vaculík. They portrayed society in crisis and reacted with skepticism toward simple ideological solutions, abuse of power and language. Many writers were at the forefront of the democratization process and were hit by publication bans after 1968. These and also many younger ones published themselves through underground channels, organized by, among others. Václav Havel and Ludvík Vaculík, or emigrated as Milan Kundera and Pavel Kohout as well as Josef Škvorecký and Zdena Salivarová, who started a Czech publishing house in Canada. Among those who were allowed to publish books were Ota Pavel, Vladimír Páral and Nobel laureate Jaroslav Seifert.
Several writers, such as Daniela Hodrová and Jiří Kratochvil, today devote themselves to experimental, postmodernist poetry and prose. Autobiographical works, e.g. Jan Zábrana’s diaries, are of great interest. One of the most notable writers in the early 2000’s is Jáchym Topol, who has portrayed, among other things. the emotional delusion that followed the fall of communism.
Drama and theater
Theater in Czech was already played in the 1300’s, for example. the father “Mastičkář”. The theater gained great importance during the national awakening, especially thanks to the activities of Václav Tháms and JK Tyl. In 1862, the first permanent stage, the Interim Theater, was opened in 1883, the National Theater and then other theaters and entertainment scenes. There, realistic drama was played by Gabriela Preissová and the Mrštík brothers, as well as symbolist and impressionistic works by Jaroslav Kvapil, Fráňa Šrámek, Jiří Mahen and Viktor Dyk.
During the interwar period, the brothers Čapek and František Langer were active in the theater. The avant-garde was represented by Jiří Voskovec’s and Jan Werich’s “Osvobozené divadlo” with director Jindřich Honzl, EF Burian’s “D-34” and Josef Skupa’s puppet theater. After the Nazi occupation and Stalinism, the theater was renewed by brothers Alfred and Emil Radoks and Josef Svoboda’s Laterna Magika and newly started small scenes such as Divadlo Na zábradlí (Ivan Vyskočil, Václav Havel and Ladislav Fialka), Semaphor (Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šrí and Josef Topol). The scenes focused on the most diverse genres, and some took on the absurd theater’s design language. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Miroslav Horníček and Jiří Šotola are marked. However, several playwrights and directors were charged with a professional ban, e.g. Václav Havel and Milan Uhde, while others emigrated, inter alia Pavel Kohout and Milan Customer.
Modern drama is represented by Daniela Fischerová and Karel Steigerwald. The small scenes both in and outside Prague are still the most important: Studio Ypsilon (Jan Schmid), Ha-divadlo (Arnošt Goldflam), Divadlo na provázku (Boleslav Polívka), Divadlo Járy Cimrmana (Ladislav Smoljak and Zdeněk Svěrák).
The Bohemian physiologist JE von Purkinje is counted among the film pioneers through his devices with which one could project moving images on a canvas. In 1898 the first Czech films were made, the first production company, Kinofa, was formed in 1908 and the first permanent cinema was opened in Prague in 1907. The founding of Czechoslovakia in 1918 increased interest in the film as part of the national culture, and in 1923 one of the world’s founding in Prague was founded. first movie museums. Among the filmmakers of the 1920’s, Gustav Machatý (1901–63; “Erotik”, 1929) and Carl Junghans (1897–1974) in particular deserve; “Such is Life”, 1929) to be emphasized. The entry of the audio film provided two directions in the production, one focused on operettas and light-hearted comedies with international demand, the other on socially conscious or avant-garde creations. The greatest international success was Machatý’s “Extas” (1933) with famous nude scenes with Hedy Lamarr.
Other successful filmmakers during the 1930’s were Josef Rovenský (1894–1937; “Young Love”, 1933), Martin Frič (1902–68; “Dangerous Innocence”, 1932), Otakar Vávra (1911–2011; “Innocence”, 1937)) and within the documentary film Jiří Weiss (1913–2004). The government introduced quality support, which was paid with taxes on imported films, and each cinema was obliged to screen at least eight domestic films annually. During World War II, film production dropped drastically, and the Barrandova studios, erected in 1931 outside Prague, were expanded to one of Europe’s largest production facilities and utilized by the Germans, among others. for the recording of the infamous “Jud Süss” (1940). After the liberation, the film industry was nationalized, and a national film school, FAMU, was founded in 1946.
Under the toughening political conditions of the People’s Republic, director and actor Karel Steklý (1903–87) and animators Karel Zeman and Jiří Trnka were among the most successful. Czech animation film, mainly cartoon children’s film, became a major export product. Only in the 1960’s did film production increase appreciably. A group of FAMU-educated debutants gained more space for their artistic ambitions through the Prague Spring. Miloš Forman, Ivan Passer, Jiří Menzel, Věra Chytilová, Evald Schorm (1931–88; “Five girls around the neck”, 1968) and Jan Němec. Significantly, Jan Kádárs (1918–79)) and Elmar Klos (1910–93) “The store on the main street” (1965) and Menzel’s “Let the trains go” (1966) became Oscar winners in 1965 and 1967 respectively as best foreign films. The Soviet march of 1968 brought an abrupt end to this vital cinematic art (despite unabated production), and several filmmakers emigrated. Instead, the biggest name was animator and surrealist Jan Švankmajer with a series of short and feature films that won numerous festival awards.
Restrictions and censorship only allowed towards the end of the 1980’s more experimental films of e.g. Chytilová. After the division of the Republic in 1993, Václav Křístek (born 1954), Irena Pavlásková (born 1960) and Fero Fenič (born 1951) emerge as promising names in a new generation of filmmakers. Internationally most talked about is Jan Svěrák (born 1965) with his Oscar-winning “Kolya” (1996).
The Czech Republic produces about 20 feature films a year. However, their own productions have had difficulty reaching an international audience. More well-known is the country since the mid-1990’s for the many foreign major productions at the Barrandova studios: “Mission: Impossible” (1996), “Les Misérables” (1998), “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “Hellboy” (2004), “Casino Royale” (2006), “Wanted” (2008), TV series “Borgia” (2011–) and more.
With the gothic of the 13th century (the reign of Charles IV and the following decades), the visual arts in the Czech Republic reach their first highlight: Peter Parler’s portrait sculptures in Prague’s Saint Veits Cathedral, named and unknown painters such as Theodorik of Prague, the masters of Vys̆s̆í Brod (Hohenfurt) and Třeboň (Wittingau).
At the end of the 16th century, Prague became an important center of art through the interest of Emperor Rudolf II for the European art of the Late Renaissance and Mannerism (Giuseppe Arcimboldo and Adriaen de Vries). The rich Baroque art of the Czech Republic was closely linked to architecture. Leading painters were Karel Škréta and Petr Brandl, leading sculptors Matthias Braun and Ferdinand Brokoff (both represented with sculpture works at the Charles Bridge in Prague). From 1799 there was an art academy in Prague, and during the 19th century an attempt was made by the artists to create a Czech art. The national and realistic ideals are represented in different ways by Josef Mánes, Jaroslav Čermák, Karel Purkyně, Antonín Chittussi and Mikoláš Aleš.
Alfons Mucha also received an international breakthrough from the Art Nouveau artists. The pioneer of a non-performing visual arts was František Kupka, who works in Paris. The Czech Republic was an early attachment to European modernism, which in Emil Filla had a versatile and inspiring representative. Surrealist Toyen (actually Marie Čerminová) was active in 1947 in Paris. The close relations with other international art centers were first broken in 1939 and since 1948. Among photographers originally operating in Czechoslovakia are Josef Sudek and Josef Koudelka.
After independence, the Czech artists are largely active in the international art scene. Among the leading representatives of contemporary art in the early 2000’s are the painter Jiří Dokoupil and Jiří Kovanda, Kateřina Šedá and Zbyněk Baladrán, who are active in concept art and installations. Selfish photographer Miroslav Tichý received international attention a few years before he died in 2011.
The Czech Republic has a rich architectural tradition within which Prague dominates, but where the development of the entire area of Bohemia – Moravia has a long and densified history. Important was the early connection to the Catholic Church and to the German Empire: architecture and urban construction were affected mainly from the west and from the south.
During the time of Charles IV, architecture in the Czech Republic reached a first peak with the St. Veitsdomen in Prague, the St. Barbara Church in Kutná Hora and the castle Karlův Týn (Karlstein). In the early 16th century, Benedikt von Ried, who created masterful Gothic interiors, e.g. The coronation hall in the castle Hradčany in Prague. Invited Italians built the Belvedere Palace and the Wallenstein Palace Renaissance loggia, both in Prague. The rich Baroque architecture of the Czech Republic was initially part of counter-Reformation and Germanization, but soon became part of the indigenous tradition. The foremost architect was the church builder Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.
The Czech 19th century symbolic building in front of others and a major task for contemporary visual arts was the National Theater in Prague (1868–83, Josef Zítek). From the rich Art Nouveau architecture around the turn of the century, a distinctive cubist and expressionist architecture was developed, represented by Jan Kotěra, Josef Gočár and Pavel Janák. It was succeeded in the 1920’s by a radical functionalism, realized in i. The Palace of Exhibition by Josef Fuchs and Oldřich Tyl and the Pension Institution of Josef Havlíček and Karel Honzík (both in Prague). Around 1930, Czech functionalism was at the forefront of European architectural development. An early center was Brno, with Bohuslav Fuchs as city architect.
From 1968, visionary Jan Kaplický was primarily active in the UK, where he started the Future Systems office in 1979. One of the Communist’s most famous buildings is the TV tower on Mount Ještěd outside the city of Liberec, inaugurated in 1973, designed by Karel Hubáček. Vlado Milunić and Josef Pleskot are prominent architects working in the early 2000’s.
A Slavic-speaking church song introduced in the Grand Moorish kingdom was supplanted in the 9th century by the Latin church of the Roman church but lived in popular practice during the Middle Ages. The unity with the German-Roman Empire, as well as the stronger German presence during the late Middle Ages, characterized the music culture of Bohemia and the Moravia. The memory song was cultivated at the court.
During the Luxembourg dynasty (1310–1437), the nova of the French era was introduced, and during Emperor Charles IV, Prague became the cultural center of the German-Roman Empire. Záviš ze Zapů and the Archbishop Jan of Jenštejn, active in the second half of the 1300’s, are the first two native composers whose works have been preserved.
The Hussite movement in the 1400’s meant a break in contact with the development of Western European polyphony. The songs of the Hussites were vernacular, unanimous and unaccompanied. The Bohemian Brethren Assembly (founded in 1457) later upheld the vernacular tradition.
During the reign of Rudolf II (1575-1611), a number of European champions appeared at the court in Prague. Among domestic composers are Kryštof Harant (1564–1621). After the Thirty Years War, the Cultural Initiative was extended to the Catholic Magnate families, which enabled a rich, mainly Italian-influenced Baroque music cultivation, supported by Jesuit educational institutions (mainly Clementinum in Prague). Pavel Josef Vejvanovský (born 1633 or 1639, died 1693), Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský (1684-1742) and Jan Dismas Zelenka represent this musical environment.
During the 18th century the noble patronage was undermined, with many musicians emigrating. First of all should be mentioned Johann Stamitz (Czech Jan Stamic), who became the leader of the Mannheim orchestra and is considered one of the creators of the classical symphony style. The Italian opera art in Prague early became a concern for the culturally interested bourgeoisie, which is an important explanation for Mozart’s success in the city – ia. the 1787 performance of “Don Giovanni” in the 1783 inaugurated yet preserved Ständetheater (Stavovske divadlo).
The Czech Renaissance of the 19th century was first expressed in folk song collection (including by KJ Erben), later in the emergence of a national art school of music, whose founder Bedřich Smetana composed a series of operas with national historical motifs. During the latter part of the 19th century, national Czech music institutions were founded (National Theater 1881, Czech Philharmonic 1894). Antonín Dvořák developed his national style in his symphonies, while Zdeněk Fibich mainly devoted himself to the Czech melodrama. Leoš Janáček built his musical dramatic style on the Czech language melody. After 1918, the national school’s traditions were continued by VítězslavNovák and Otakar Ostrčil (1879-1935).
Avant-gardeism was represented mainly by microtonalist Alois Hába. Bohuslav Martinů, who was active abroad for a long time, had a more neoclassical approach. The Nazi occupation put Czech music on a low flame. After 1948, music was centralized and nationalized according to the Soviet model. In the 1960’s, contact with international music and the modernist tradition resumed. Postwar composers include Klement Slavický (1910–99), Vladimír Sommer (1921–97), Jan Novák (1921–84), Otmar Mácha (1922–2006), Viktor Kalabis (1923–2006), Petr Eben, Jan Klusák (born 1934) and Luboš Fišer (1935–99).
The folk music is also characterized by the historical connections with German-speaking Europe. Most of the repertoire dates from the 17th and 18th centuries and has developed in strong interaction with art music. The melodies have a predominantly floor character and are periodically constructed. In the eastern Moravia, however, there is an older tradition with modal elements and freer melodic structure.
Among the instruments are the bagpipe dudy (in the moraine gajdy), which, together with the violin and clarinet, is used for dance music. Since the mid-19th century, these gamesmanship groups have often been replaced by blower ensembles.
Due to its unpolitical nature, jazz music was the only type of popular music tolerated by the regime during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. One of the best known orchestral conductors from the 1940’s onwards was Gustav Brom (1921–95). The founders Jiří (George) Mráz (born 1944) and Miroslav Vitouš (born 1947) embarked on an international career in the 1960’s. Today, the Czech jazz scene is still vital, including guitarist David Dorůžka (born 1980), singer Yvonne Sanchez (born 1967), acid jazz band Eggnoise and singer Dan Bárta (born 1969) and his band Illustratosphere.
During the 1960’s, American bluegrass became popular in Czechoslovakia, and since 1972, the oldest European bluegrass festival is held annually in Čáslav. Czech bluegrass music and American influenced folk music have since been characterized by groups such as Poutníci and Druhá tráva.
One of the first successful Czech pop singers was Karel Gott (1939–2019), who from the beginning of the 1960’s made covers on a number of American pop songs. During the second half of the 1960’s, rock broke through in Czechoslovakia and a variety of groups and music scenes were created. After the Prague Spring 1968, however, several groups were banned from performing, which meant that many concerts were held in the hidden. One of the most famous bands of this time was Plastic People of the Universe. Members of the group were brought to trial, which contributed to the establishment of the Charter 77 manifesto.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, among other things, rock guitarist Vladimír Mišík (born 1947) and groups like Garáž (later Garage), Abraxas and Pražský výběr successes. After the velvet revolution in 1993, the Czech rock and pop scene began to flourish. Several of the most popular artists from the socialist era disappeared completely, but some, e.g. Karel Gott, however, still has many listeners. The music scene was broadened by the fact that music styles such as will, reggae, punk, hip-hop and heavy metal were seriously affected. Prominent heavy metal groups include Arakain and Citron and several with a focus on more extreme heavy metal, such as the black metal groups Törr and Root. Among female artists from different generations are Helena Vondráčková (born 1947), Lucie Bílá (born 1966) and Lenka Dusilová (born 1975).
The Monkey Business and JAR radio groups, both formed by Roman Holý (born 1966), have achieved success in the 2000’s as well as the group Tata Bojs, which mixes pop, rock and electronica.
Czech manuscripts have documented about 430 folk dances from Bohemia, 230 from Moravia and 150 from Silesia. The oldest are ritual dances, such as harvest and wedding dances, and male solo dances such as odzemek, verbuňk and skočná. After the 16th century, spin dances were developed, e.g. sedlácká and vrtěná, and in the 19th century social dances such as polonese, drum, mazurka and polka were added, the latter of Bohemian origin. During the 19th century, continuous series of dances were also created for popular folk songs, česká beseda, later also moravská beseda.
Ballet was performed in the country by visiting dance troupes in the late 16th century, but became common only in the 1720’s with Prague’s first public theater. With the Interim Theater (founded in 1862) and later the National Theater (inaugurated in 1883) and its ballet ensemble, the ballet gained a solid foundation. Choreographers in the 1920’s and 1930’s included Josef Jenčík in Prague and Ivo Váňa Psota in Brno. Significant innovators have since been among others. Luboš Ogoun and Pavel Šmok, who together founded the Ballet Praha in 1964, and Miroslav Kůra. World famous is Jiří Kylián, since 1968 operating in Western Europe. Among today’s internationally active dancers and choreographers are Nataša Novotná and Václav Kuneš, who in 2007 started the 420PEOPLE ensemble in Prague.
In the Czech folk culture, the original, Slavic elements have been greatly influenced by the German, which is particularly evident in Bohemia. At the same time, a vibrant German city culture has contributed to urbanization. The building culture and the village organization are common to Central Europe. The building technology that is considered is knot timber, cross-timber is also used in the border with Germany. The “Frankish” type of farm with one or three or four sides of the surrounding courtyard dominates, albeit with local variations, eg. the moorish towards the city street facing the first-choice whales. The “alpine” unit houses with all the spaces under the same roof can be found in the border areas facing Germany and Austria.
The festivals are richly developed, especially around the church weekends, and masking and dressing rides have been common. A kind of purification ritual, to “bear death” in connection with any spring holiday, usually the fourth Sunday in the fast, is particularly mentioned and meant that a straw doll was carried through and out of the village or town to be burned. The custom of folk costume lived longer in the Moravia than in Bohemia. The costumes were unusually colorful and embroidered. Folk poetry was used relatively late, but to a large extent then. There is an institute of ethnography and folklore attached to the Academy of Sciences in Prague; its language pipeline is the magazine Česky Líd, published since 1892.
Football and ice hockey are the most popular sports. In ice hockey, the Czech Republic has taken Olympic gold in 1998 and Czechoslovakia among others. six World Cup golds 1947–85. The top players include Ivan Hlinka (also coach), Jaromír Jágr and goalkeeper Dominik Hašek (born 1965).
In football, Czechoslovakia has World Cup silver 1962 and European gold in 1976. Josef Masopust (1931–2015), Pavel Nedvěd (born 1972) and goalkeeper Petr Čech (born 1982) are some of the country’s leading football profiles.
Long-distance runner Emil Zátopek is considered to be the foremost athlete of all time. Other prominent Czech athletes are javelin thrower Jan Železný, discus thrower Ludvík Daněk, runner Jarmila Kratochvílová (born 1951) and multiplayer athletes Roman Šebrle and Tomáš Dvoŕák (born 1972).
Other Czech sports stars include the gymnast Věra Čáslavská, the tennis players Martina Navratilova (who represented the USA during most of his career), Ivan Lendl and Jan Kodeš (born 1946) and the skater Martina Sáblíková (born 1987).