Prague Cultural Calendar 2013

Europe-cities.com

Prague is a year round destination – even if the weather isn’t so cooperative for strolls through the historic streets or in the parks. Besides a wide range of museums, the city offers an active events calendar – festivals of music, film, theatre and more are held throughout the year. Jacy Meyer brings a roundup of some of the best. When known, 2013 dates are given, but these events have a long tradition in Prague and are typically held around the same time every year.

January

Grand Restaurant Festival
From January 15 – February 28, 2013, the Grand Restaurant guide in cooperation with participating restaurants has organized a festival so ‘even ordinary mortals can enjoy the best food’. We assume this means the prices are more affordable. Top restaurants that received high ratings in Maurer’s Grand Restaurant Guide 2012 (the Czech equivalent to Michelin’s) will offer a pre-paid themed menu: Farmers & Tradition; The Head Chef’s Specialty or The Best Food My Mother Makes. This is a great opportunity to expand your eating horizons with authentic Czech food.

Prague Short Film Festival
The Prague Short Film Festival is a competitive festival of short films which aims to contribute to the development and promotion of artistic short films and their production. Running from January 16 – 20, 2013; the festival is held at Světozor Cinema, a great place to see a variety of film festivals throughout the year.

February

Bohemian Carnevale
This is a modern take on an old tradition for anyone who loves dressing up, fancy balls and general revelry. Bohemian Carnevale runs February 1 – 12, 2013, and every year in the Lenten period. In addition to two grand balls, there are Baroque opera performances, a public ‘meeting of masks’ at Old Town Hall on February 2 and a carnival stage is set-up on Old Town Square the duration of the event.

March

Jeden Svet /One World
The Czech Republic’s premier documentary film festival runs in Prague from March 4 – 13, 2013. Taking place in Lucerna, Svetozor and other Prague cinemas, One World is organized by People in Need, a local NGO. During the festival’s run, there are also presentations, workshops and discussions on human rights around the world.

Febiofest
One of the most beloved festival’s of the year, Febiofest is Prague’s largest film festival. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the festival runs from March 14 – 22, 2013. The audience-friendly festival screens their films in the multiplex Cinestar Andel and two smaller venues. Oriented to full length films, Febiofest also brings home the best films from the previous year, distribution premieres, retrospectives and tributes. New filmmakers, and special sections dedicated to gay and lesbian cinema, children’s films and even experimental films means the festival truly is one for all movie fans. The parking garage of the movie theater turns into the Febiofest Music Festival in the evenings featuring a range of local and international acts.

April

The Hervis Prague Half Marathon
Hit the streets of Prague for the half marathon on April 6 2013. Runners who’d like to see a different side of the city will enjoy this race which takes you through the different neighbourhoods around the Vlatva River. The start and end point is the square in front of the beautiful Rudolfinum.

The Prague Writers’ Festival
Now in its 23rd incarnation, the Prague Writer’s Festival brings together an international line-up of authors and poets, sprinkled with Czech writers for a week of readings and discussions. This year’s theme is “The Birth of Nations” and events are to take place at Nova Scéna and the Czech Senate building. The festival runs April 13-18, 2013.

May

Volkswagen Prague Full Marathon
If you warmed up with the half marathon last month, come on over for the big one May 12, 2013. There’s actually a whole weekend of sporting events ranging from a dog walk to in-line skating and a family mini-marathon. The Volkswagen Prague Marathon has been voted one of the most beautiful marathons in the world and will take you through some of the city’s prettiest sites, including along the Vltava River. Be warned, all traffic, including trams, is stopped for the duration of the event.

Prague Spring
One of the city’s premier events, the famous classical music festival, Prague Spring runs from May 12-June 2, 2013. Top soloists and orchestras from all over the world combined with the best of Czech musicians and a well-chosen repertoire means tickets go fast for this popular event. Book them ahead of time online and enjoy the best in classical music at an historic Prague performance hall.

Book World Prague
Prague’s largest book fair is held from May 16-19, 2013. While most of the books and publishers on display are in Czech, there are typically a number of English-friendly readings and discussions; check their website for full programme details. This year’s invited guest is Slovakia and there will be a special focus on poetry.

Czech Beer Festival
Enough with the music and literature, let’s celebrate a true Czech tradition – beer. A bit lacking in atmosphere, the Czech Beer Festival nevertheless brings together a good range of Czech producers (including smaller breweries) for a big drink fest May 16 – June 1, 2013. Various samples of Czech cuisine will be available to help soak up the beer and musical entertainment will be held as well.

Khamora
The Czech Republic’s best known international Roma cultural event will take place from May 26 – June 1, 2013. Held to show the richness of Roma culture and traditions, the event includes film screenings, concerts, exhibitions and seminars – the best being the nightly Roma band concerts.

Tanec Praha
The jubilee 25th edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Dance and Movement will run May 27 – July 4, 2013. Both international and Czech troupes perform a range of premieres or new pieces recently debuted. Special guests for this year include the British choreographer and dancer Akram Khan and the Flemish company Peeping Tom. The programme’s festival can be found at their website.

Prague Food Festival
Coming close to rivaling Prague Spring as the most popular festival of the month is the Prague Food Festival. Not in any way limited to Czech cuisine, the city’s top chefs and restaurants put on a display of tasty tidbits. Held on the beautiful grounds of Prague Castle, tickets go fast and the event can get very crowded. Plan accordingly and nosh your way through Prague’s best restaurants – maybe picking up a couple ideas for future meals. There are also cooking demonstrations, beer and wine tastings and events for kids.

Prague Fringe Festival
Prague’s local fringe festival returns this year from May 24 – June 1, 2013. Showcasing quirky and experimental productions, most of which are in English or language independent, the Fringe groups together its venues and productions so the truly committed can experience as much of the festival as they can handle. Watch the website for the developing programme.

June

The United Islands of Prague
This free outdoor musical festival will return to the islands in the Vltava River and venues nearby from June 20-22, 2013. Musicians include both local and foreign acts.

Prague Museum Night
On the night of June 8, 2013 from 7pm to 1am, a number of Prague museums open their doors for free. This is a massively popular event with locals, so get a map ahead of time and plan your route. Free bus travel is provided between venues. Monitor their website for forthcoming details including special events held at some of the museums.

Prague Proms
Typically running in June and July, Prague Proms is a boisterous concert series, offering up a playful set of concerts. Held in a couple of different venues, including the Art Nouveau Municipal House, this festival is closely attached to the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, and offers music lovers fun summer concerts in a time when most of the city’s theatres are dark.

The Karlovy Vary Film Festival
The country’s oldest and most prestigious film festival will run this year from June 28-July 6, 2013. If you would like to attend, book a hotel immediately, and monitor the website for film updates. Tickets are cheap, but only released the day prior to the films’ screening so planning and patience is essential.

July

Rock for People
Summer sees a large number of outdoor musical festivals held across the country. Rock for People is one of the most popular; bring a tent and spend the weekend near the town of Hradec Králové from July 3 – 5, 2013. Headliners have yet to be confirmed but check their website for developments.

Colours of Ostrava
This international music festival, held in the Moravian city of Ostrava, will take place from July 18 – 21 2013. Check the website for the line-up as the date approaches.

Summer Shakespeare Festival
Dates for 2013 hadn’t been confirmed as of press time, but the festival usually runs most of July and August. This is one for true Shakespeare lovers – most of the performances are in Czech, but held in a courtyard of Prague Castle. This gives the productions an atmosphere like no other. A highlight on the Czech cultural calendar; many of the actors are well-known Czech performers. Typically a couple performances each year are done in English. Watch the website for more details.

August

Letní Letná
Lovers of circus will want to hang out in Prague’s popular Letná park from August 18 – September 1, 2013. This festival sets up tents and offers fun events throughout the day, and great international circus performances in the evenings.

September

Mattoni Grand Prix Praha
Now that’s you’ve recovered from the marathon, return to Prague on September 7, 2013 for a 10k city race. Here’s your chance to run at night through the illuminated streets of Prague which will be enlivened for your running pleasure with live music, dancing and more. There is also a women’s 5k race.

Foodparade
This new Prague food festival, now in its third year will run September 7 – 8, 2013 on the grounds of the beautiful Troja Chateau. Lovers of good food and drink will enjoy the chefs and restaurants setup to share their goodies. Like the Prague Food festival, small tastings from their menus will be available to try.

Strings of Autumn
This showcase of experimental and traditional music takes place in venues across Prague. Last year’s festival started at the end of September and ran through the beginning of November. Organizers hold nothing back and bring together an eclectic mix of performers. Check the website for updates.

September

Mattoni Grand Prix Praha
Now that’s you’ve recovered from the marathon, return to Prague on September 7, 2013 for a 10k city race. Here’s your chance to run at night through the illuminated streets of Prague which will be enlivened for your running pleasure with live music, dancing and more. There is also a women’s 5k race.

Foodparade
This new Prague food festival, now in its third year will run September 7 – 8, 2013 on the grounds of the beautiful Troja Chateau. Lovers of good food and drink will enjoy the chefs and restaurants setup to share their goodies. Like the Prague Food festival, small tastings from their menus will be available to try.

Strings of Autumn
This showcase of experimental and traditional music takes place in venues across Prague. Last year’s festival started at the end of September and ran through the beginning of November. Organizers hold nothing back and bring together an eclectic mix of performers. Check the website for updates.

October

Designblok
Typically held the first week in October, local designers get to exhibit their creations in a number of venues throughout the city. One venue is dedicated to special installations, while another hosts individual designers and design schools, plus there’s a fashion show. The best time to see what’s cutting edge in Czech design.

November

Mezipatra
The Czech Republic’s longest running queer film festival has screenings around the second week in November. Watch their website for confirmed dates and screenings.

St Martin’s Day
Though a relatively recent tradition, the St Martin’s Wine, opened on November 11th, gives you a chance to sample some young Czech and Moravian wine, which is characteristically fresher and lighter. If you are in town, look for the St. Martin’s poster in restaurants and pubs across the city. This means they will be opening the new bottles at 11am on November 11th, and they may also serve a typical St. Martin’s dinner of goose.

December

Christmas markets
One of the joys of Prague’s Christmas markets is how long they last! The two main ones on Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square typically open the first Saturday in December and run through January 1. There are a number of smaller ones scattered in squares across the city, so enjoy a day of light shopping and market treats.