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Czech mortgage rates continued to fall in February as banks gave out the 30 billion CZK worth of mortgages, the largest volume ever recorded, Novinky reports. January was already a strong month with 25 billion CZK worth of mortgages, only for February to break the 2016 record with 30 billion CZK. The average rate fell once more to 1.93%.  Jiří Sýkora of Fincentrum and Swiss Life Select said that the number of mortgages is not growing as fast as the volume of mortgages, implying a heavy demand for debt.  “In the second month of the year, banks gave out a total of 9,948 mortgages, which is 1,568 more than January and 2,856 more than 2020. However, the number of providedContinue Reading

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During the 13th century, a Gothic structure known as the Houska Castle was built upon a cliff. The mysterious castle has no water source, fake windows, was built far from any trade routes, and all of its remaining defenses face inwards towards its courtyard. The Houska Castle, located north of Prague, is an enigmatic location with little-known history and innumerable legends. The most famous of all the legends is that the castle was built as a defense against a bottomless pit in the ground, known as the Gateway to Hell. According to the legend, local villagers claimed that demonic half-human and half-animal creatures crawled out of the pit at night. To keep the creatures in, the pit was covered inContinue Reading

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Statistics show that about 75% of casinos in the Czech Republic have been closed and 50% of slot machines have been eliminated. This result came after lawmakers in the country voted in favor of a decree that would render the prohibition of all technical gambling games in Prague effective. Of course, this is a win for the country but a blow to players who indulge for fun and money.  According to councilor Hana Kordova, the decree aims at regulating gambling operations in the city. She added that the regulation is all about finding a balance between legislation and modern gaming technologies. The new law gives a citizen the freedom to decide and do business while also reducing the issues thatContinue Reading

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Last week, two German magazines, Die Welt and Der Spiegel, published articles criticizing the Czech government for the improper handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The article by Olaf Gersemann in Die Welt argues that Saxony and Bavaria have the worst situation with the coronavirus in Germany because they share the borders with the Czech Republic. He stated that it is not just a coincidence that these areas show the worst results in the entire country. Many Czechs travel there every day for work, thus spreading the virus. “Developing control with anti-coronavirus measures is difficult because the disease is constantly spreading across the open border with the Czech Republic. There was a third wave of a pandemic with 829 new casesContinue Reading

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Due to the current vaccination scandal, the head of the State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) Pavel Březovský resigned. According to the Seznam Zprávy’s investigation, Březovský was responsible for including SZÚ employees and their relatives on the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccination.  “As the director, I accept all responsibility for the situation. For this reason, I have decided to resign today,” Březovský stated. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called this type of behavior unacceptable, and that this incident slows down the vaccination process. “Such excesses cannot be repeated. We said that priority is given to paramedics and nursing homes,” Babiš explained.  Based on the investigation, the employees included their relatives and partners on the list, and not all of themContinue Reading

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On the surface, it can look like Czech identity revolves purely around the country’s vast history and the fairytale aesthetics that come with it. But in the details, you find lots of funny modern quirks, one of them being Pérák. Pérák is a superhero originally created by Jiří Trnka and Jiří Brdečka in 1946 and acted as a sort of mascot for anti-Nazism at the time. He existed as an urban legend for quite some time, but he first appeared in Trnka and Brdečka’s animated film called “Pérák a SS” (Pérák and the SS.) His character is a chimney sweep who accidentally puts his sweep too far down a chimney, manages to get it stuck in a couch, and thenContinue Reading