Here in the Czech Republic, the two classic Easter baked goods are mazanec and beránek. Mazanec is a sweet, though not cloyingly so, bread filled with raisins and often topped with almonds. Beránek is a cake baked in the shape of a lamb. Many commercial varieties are covered in chocolate.
Looking at the rows of concrete apartment buildings that make up Prague’s Jižní Město, the country’s largest housing estate, it is unlikely that culture will be the first thing that comes to mind. Fortunately, there are people devoted to changing this negative perception and proving to local inhabitants that cultural stimulation doesn’t require a 30-minute metro ride to the city center.
The 12th annual 9 Gates (Devět bran) festival of Czech, German and Jewish culture begins on June 13. Music, theater and film from Czech and international performers give a sample of a complex and often tragic cultural blend whose repercussions continue to be felt.