Furthering close and strong ties with the Czech Republic and its people

From the Castle to the Capitol, American Friends of the Czech Republic fosters communication, encourages understanding, invites friendship, and promotes mutual respect between the two countries and their peoples, governments, economic enterprises, and civic and cultural institutions.


Czech Republic Offers Help to France with Notre Dame Cathedral Repairs (rmx.news)

According to the Minister of Culture, Antonín Staněk, the Czech Republic could offer the assistance of experts to France and his office is also working on organizing a fundraising campaign. "The Ministry of Culture is now handling the organization of a fundraising campaign. The Ministry itself cannot organize it, but a state contributory organization can," Staněk said. He also stated that there are specific issues with sending money from the state treasury to a country abroad. Therefore, he is discussing necessary precautions with the Ministry of Finance and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Czech restorers and experts with experience in the reconstruction of the burned-out Slovak castle Krásná Horka could help with the restoration of Notre Dame. "At this point, we are also waiting for the French side to decide what another specific form of assistance will be needed for the assistance to be coordinated and meaningful," Staněk added. Possible help for France was first mentioned by Staněk on Monday. Czech PM Babiš immediately responded to the Notre Dame fire and expressed his support in a text message to the French President. (April 17, 2019)

Prague's Astronomical Clock has been Refurbished and has Returned to its Former Glory (lonelyplanet.com Sept., 2018)

For nearly nine months, visitors to Prague were disappointed to find the Astronomical Clock, Prague’s top tourist attraction, all covered up. But, after an extensive refurbishment program, the clock, which dates back to the year 1410, has now been restored to its former glory. The original machinery of the clock was badly damaged in 1945 by the Nazis during the Prague Uprising. Three years later, the clock was put back into operation, but the original workings were replaced by electric machinery. Now, following its most recent renovation, the original mechanism is back, together with numerous other details, such as the little windows that open up to let the 12 apostles emerge. They were made of sheet metal, but have been now restored back to stained glass. While the Astronomical Clock undergoes a renovation every 10 years, a reconstruction of such an extent hasn’t been undertaken since WWII. The whole clock was taken from the tower and completely disassembled. All incorrect welding made in previous years had to be smoothed out and each and every part was attended to. The round calendar decorating the lower part beneath the actual clock and showing the current day and year was replaced with a new copy of the original one by Josef Mánes from 1865. The previous replica from 1946 had decayed so badly that it couldn’t be restored. The original calendar can be found at the City of Prague Museum. While the end of the repair works seems to have been timed to match the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, Prague City Tourism spokeswoman Barborá Hrubá has stated it’s rather coincidental. Instead, she notes, the repair of the astronomical clock was part of a general renovation of the façade of the Old Town Hall buildings, which started in 2009.