Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) – Review of major cultural events in the Czech Republic in 2015:

– Plzen became the European Capital of Culture for 2015. It has offered 600 events within the project that was officially opened on January 17.

– The Vysehrad Codex (Sidex) Vyssegradensis from the late 11th century, the most precious illuminated manuscript in Czech collections, was presented to the public after 46 years during the last weekend in January when 5600 people came to see it.

– The Way Out directed by Petr Vaclav, a story of a courageous Romany mother, received seven Czech Lion awards, including for the best film in 2014, and Olga by Miroslav Janek about Vaclav Havel´s first wife was awarded as the best documentary at a ceremony on January 21.

– The 17th One World international human rights film festival, held in Prague from March 2 to 11, presented 144 films from 59 countries. Afterwards it moved to 33 other Czech towns and also to Brussels.

– National Library director Tomas Boehm resigned for personal reasons in March and he was temporarily replaced by Petr Kroupa.

– The 22nd Febiofest international film festival in Prague presented 159 films from 56 countries from March 19 to 27. The Icelandic film Life in a Fishbowl directed by Baldvin Zophoniasson won the festival´s New Europe competition. Selected films from the programme were shown in 14 Czech towns from March 30 to April 17.

– The former Baroque Hospital in Kuks, north Bohemia, was opened to the public after a two-year reconstruction on March 28-29.

– The 22nd Days of European Film festival took place in Prague from April 9 to 16 and then in Brno and five other Czech towns. The programme offered 40 films from the EU member states and candidate countries.

– “A Poet”, novel about the life of Czech poet Ivan Blatny (1919-1990) by Martin Reiner, won the Magnesia Litera 2015 Book of the Year prize on April 14.

– The planned one-billion-crown reconstruction of the historical building of the National Museum in Prague, which was closed over it in 2011, finally started. It should be completed by October 2018.

– The International Animated Film Festival in Trebon, south Bohemia, offered almost 400 films from May 5 to 10.

– The 70th Prague Spring music festival was opened by a German orchestra, for the first time in the event’s history, in the Smetana Hall of Prague’s Municipal House on May 12. Its programme included over 40 concerts until June 3. South Korean young men won the Prague Spring international music contest – Yubeen Kim in the category of flute and Sangyoon Kim in the clarinet.

– The international BookWorld book fair, held at Prague’s Exhibition Grounds on May 14-17, focused on Egyptian literature and other main topics were “the literary diaspora” and Czechs in the world.

– Belgian film Birds of Passage, Cuban film Behaviour and Afghan Mine won two awards each at the 55th International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Zlin, south Moravia, which was held from May 29 until June 4 and which showed 363 films from 52 countries.

– The 57th Smetana´s Litomysl opera festival offered 37 concerts and opera performances on June 11-July 5.

– “The United Estonia” Estonian project won the main award for the best exposition at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ), the largest scenography event in the world. It presented stage design from 78 countries from June 17 to 28.

– Bob and Trees by U.S. director Diego Ongaro won the Crystal Globe best film award in the main competition of the 50th International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, held on July 3-11. The Best Actress and Best Actor awards went to Czechs Alena Mihulova and Krystof Hadek for the main roles in the films Home Care and The Snake Brothers. Over 220 films from 60 countries were screened during the festival.

– The government listed nine new items among the national cultural heritage on July 8.

– A concert of Icelandic singer Bjoerk, accompanied by an ensemble of 37 musicians and singers, opened the Colours of Ostrava music festival staged in this north Moravian city on July 16-19. It attracted 43,700 visitors.

– Uherske Hradiste, south Moravia, hosted the 41st Summer Film School festival from July 24 to August 1. It presented almost 240 films and welcomed some 5,500 Czech and foreign film fans.

– The Czech Pavel Haas Quartet won the award of the Gramophone British music monthly, dubbed “a classical music Oscar,” for the fifth time on August 28.

– The European Heritage Days were launched in the UNESCO-listed town of Cesky Krumlov, south Bohemia, on September 5. Until September 13, more than 1000 heritage sights were exclusively opened to public all over the country within this event.

– The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) selected Home Care by Slavek Horak as a candidate for the Academy Award nominations in the category of the best non-English speaking film on September 17.

– The 52nd Golden Prague international festival of music and dance television programmes, held from September 3 to October 3, presented 72 films by 40 producers.

– A photograph featuring migrants at the Hungarian-Serbian border by Jan Zatorsky from daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) won the main award at the 21st Czech Press Photo contest, the winners of which were announced on October 12.

– Spanish novelist Eduardo Mendoza Garriga was presented with the Franz Kafka Prize of the Franz Kafka Society on October 22.

– The International Documentary Film Festival Ji.hlava, the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, was held on October 27-November 1, presenting more than 250 films from all over the world. The jury decided not to choose the winner in the Czech film category, but the audience award went to Vit Klusak´s Czech Journal: Matrix AB focused on Finance Minister and billionaire businessman Andrej Babis.

– A bronze eight-metre-high equestrian statue of Jobst (1354-1411), Margrave of Moravia and a member of the ruling House of Luxembourg, designed by Jaroslav Rona, was unveiled in the centre of Brno on the national holiday, October 28.

– The Prague Theatre Festival of German Language offered eight productions from the scenes in German-speaking countries as well as Czech theatres on November 5-29.

– The main theme of the 25th Prague Writers´ Festival held from November 7 to 10 was fear and its main guest was Iranian writer Mahmoud Dowlatabadi.

– Karel Gott, 76, won the Czech Nightingale pop music contest in the best male singer category again this year, for the 40th time in his career, on November 28. Though seriously ill, Gott took over the award personally. The best female singer was Lucie Bila as the best band Kabat as in the past years.

– The most expensive painting sold at auctions in the Czech Republic this year was the Paris Still Life by Emil Filla that was auctioned off for 13.6 million crowns (without the auction surcharge) on November 29.

– The long-awaited exhibition of Renaissance artist Tizian (Tiziano Vecelli) is to be opened at Prague Castle on December 15.

– In other music genres, but classical music, the Prague audiences applauded, for instance, American singer and musician Patti Smith in the sold-out Archa theatre as well as Madonna, who returned to Prague with two concerts in the giant O2 arena in November, the legendary British band Queen, the Kraftwerk electronic music band and Italian composer Ennio Morricone conducted a concert of his famous film music in O2 Arena in February.

($1=24.802 crowns)