Prague celebrates Victory in Europe Day at National Memorial

Plus: Prague Marathon takes place in full for first time since 2019, U.S. veterans take part in Liberation Festival in Plzeň, and more weekend headlines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.05.2022 12:25:00 (updated on 08.05.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

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Holiday Czech politicians commemorate Victory in Europe Day

Czech officials including President Miloš Zeman marked the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II at Prague's National Memorial on Vítkov Hill this morning during Victory in Europe Day celebrations. May 8 is a public holiday commemorating the end of WWI in Europe in the Czech Republic and most other European states, marking the official surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Senate head Miloš Vystrčil, Chamber of Deputies speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Minister of Defense Jana Černochová, and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib were among the officials who laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider on Vítkov this morning. The annual ceremony took place in full this year for the first time since 2019 following two years of pandemic restrictions.

Sports Prague Marathon takes place in full for first time since 2019

Prague Marathon, one of the Czech capital's largest sporting events, was held in full this morning for the first time since 2019 following two years of pandemic restrictions that forced organizers to cancel or alter the event. More than 10,000 runners are estimated to have participated in this year's race, which began at 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning from Prague's Old Town Square.

Kenyan Eliud Kiptanui set the record for men in the Prague Marathon in 2010 with a time of 2:05:39, while Israeli Lonah Chemtai Salpeter set the record for women in 2019 with a time of 2:19:46. Czech runners Jiří Homoláč and Marcela Joglová are also participating in this year's race, and are the among the favorites from domestic athletes.

Leisure Karlovy Vary kicks off spa season with ceremonial blessing

The Czech Republic's spa city of Karlovy Vary kicked off the start of the 2022 spa season on Saturday with a ceremonial blessing of its springs by Plzeň Bishop Emeritus František Radkovský. After two years of pandemic regulations, guests can visit the region this year without restriction. Tourism to the area, however, has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, and officials predict that those levels will not fully return in 2022.

While Karlovy Vary has long been popular among Russian-speaking guests, the region is expecting a decline in these tourists this year due to the war in Ukraine. "Thanks to the Karlovy Vary Cultural Summer program, we will try to target domestic Czech tourists, and also target foreign clients who can get here by bus, car, or train," Mayor Andrea Pfeffer Ferklová told local media. "We would like to attract German and Austrian clients, and we will target Polish visitors this year as well."

Weather Prague saw a colder April than usual this year

Temperatures in Prague were significantly cooler this April than the long-term average over the past thirty years, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. The Czech capital's Klementinum weather station measured an average temperature of 9.4 degrees Celsius in April, which is 2.1 degrees colder than the average temperature between 1991 and 2020. April 2021 was also one degree cooler than the 30-year average.

Since records were first kept at Prague's Klementinum in 1775, Prague's coldest April was measured in 1839, with an average temperature of 4.9 degrees Celsius. The second-coldest was in 1817 with an average temperature of five degrees, and the third-coldest in was 1785 with an average temperature of 5.4 degrees.

Culture Memorial to victims of communism unveiled in Rohatec

A monument to victims of communism in the form of a circular bench surrounding a linden tree was unveiled today in Rohatece, near Litoměřice, across from the town's Chapel of All Saints. The bench is the second such memorial in the area following another in nearby Hrobce, and they were created and installed by descendants of persecuted families.

They benches are intended to serve as a reminder of Soviet oppression and communist persecution from the 1950s through the 1980s, but are also meant to be used a meeting place for locals.

Culture U.S. WWII veterans take part Plzeň's Liberation Festival

Politicians, war veterans, and hundreds of Plzeň residents continue to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the city by United States troops on May 6, 1945 during the five-day Liberation Festival, which runs though Sunday. On Friday, attendees gathered at Plzeň's Thank You America Memorial along with war veterans from the United States and Belgium who participated in the liberation of the city 77 years ago.

"This was not for the first time in our history when we were very grateful to the United States," Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová said at the event on Friday. "The United States also stood by for the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918. And its aid is also particularly needed today as the troops under war criminal Putin invade Eastern Europe."

Energy Gas prices expected to rise fifty percent over the next year

Gas prices in the Czech Republic have been on the rise since last autumn, and more waves of price increases are expected over the course of the next year, analyst Jiří Gavor from the Czech Association of Independent Energy Suppliers told According to Gavor, gas prices in the Czech Republic will be fifty percent higher by spring 2023.

"Since last October, prices on the wholesale market have been three to five times higher than at the beginning of 2021, and this must be reflected in final gas prices for retail consumers following a delay," says Gavor. "For the rest of the year, there is no hope of falling prices. We expect a gradual increase."

History Prague may strip Soviet Marshal Koněv of honorary citizenship

Prague is prepared to strip controversial Soviet Marshal Ivan Koněv of his honorary citizenship, according to a preliminary plan that Mayor Zdeněk Hřib will present to city councilors on Monday. A celebrated war hero credited with liberating Prague from Nazi rule, Koněv also took part in the May 9 bombing of Mladá Boleslav and the 1956 suppression of anti-communist protests in Hungary.

Koněv became an honorary citizen of Prague on June 6, 1945, and a statue of him was later erected in Prague 6. The statue was removed in 2020. "The act of bestowing honorary citizenship [to Koněv] must be seen in the context of the day, and also taking into account the further historical development of Czechoslovakia. Ideologically, it only allowed for a single interpretation of the events, while some facts were suppressed and kept secret," Hřib explains in his proposal.

Sports World Anti-Doping Agency finds errors in Czech committee

An audit of the Czech Anti-Doping Committee conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency in November of last year found 42 errors and breaches of regulations, Radiožurnál reported on Friday. The Czech committee has been given until September 10 of this year to fix the errors; otherwise Czech athletes may be banned from participating in international events.

Errors found by the World Anti-Doping Agency included a failure to meet the necessary number of anti-doping checks of registered athletes away from competitions. Doping checks were largely performed during competitions in the Czech Republic. "Competitions accounted for 70 percent of the tests, but the World Anti-Doping Agency wants the ratio to be exactly the reverse," says Jiří Janák, head of the Czech Anti-Doping Committee.

Crime Prague police investigate suspicious death of courier

Police in Prague are currently investigating the suspicious death of a courier, who was found deceased in his home with a head wound at the end of April. On Wednesday, April 27, the courier delivered food in Prague's Modřany and Podolí neighborhoods, and police have asked members of the public who might have seen him that day to come forward with any information. Photo and video of the courier on that date can be viewed here.

"The case is being investigated by forensic scientists, who are now investigating the circumstances in which the man died," writes police spokesperson Violeta Siřišťová. "He was found at home with no signs of life and a head injury. For this reason, we appeal to the public, because [foul play] cannot be ruled out. If you have met this man, please call 158 [with any information]."

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