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Mihaela Lica Butler

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Mihaela Lica-Butler is travel writer and travel public relations consultant by profession, lover of cultures and cuisine. She has built a fun career while chiming in on many topics, from relating the trials and tribulations of the people of Kosovo, to experiencing, first hand, the heroics of the Romanian soldiers serving for the UN. But she thrives in conveying her love for travel and places in written word, and she is happy to be a constant contributor for some of the world's best travel sites.

Mamaison Hotel Imperial Ostrava

UPDATE: Now a Private Label Hotels group property, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Ostrava changed its name back to Imperial Hotel Ostrava in 2015, to reflect the long history and tradition of the hotel. While it no longer operates under the Mamaison brand, the hotel remains in the CPI Hotels family, which includes Mamaison Hotels & Residences hotels, four-star Clarion congress hotels, Spa & Kur Hotels, Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague, three-star Fortuna hotels, and the Private Label Hotels group.

The same Ostrava that was the industrial powerhouse of this central European country, is today a centre of all things dynamic and energetic. Where great coal mines once fed a thriving city, steel and new age technologies have converged and emerged to form a hub of business and culture. Ostrava is a mix of thriving business interests, as well as a touristic destination of wondrous import. If museum searching and partaking of stoic culinary treasures were prevalent touristic activities, extreme sports and eclectic gastronomy now coexist. The overall effect is a city better by far for its 21st century emergence.

Guests at Mamaison Hotel Imperial Ostrava can depend on unequalled guest services tuned especially for the business traveller. Business being what it is, the wellness and relaxation centre at the hotel plays a major role in helping melt away the stresses of tough schedules, as well as providing a bit of solitude from the madding crowd. This respite on the first floor of the hotel is resplendently appointed with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a sauna, and expert staff who excel at a variety of massage treatment therapies.

After a busy day in Ostrava’s business district, getting immersed in the salt water pool will melt the tension into an easy euphoria. Schedule a Thai or Indian massage, enjoy the relaxation centre, or sweat out a toxic day at the sauna. In other words, our wellness centre is the perfect extension of our award-winning guest satisfaction mission.

Wellness  Mamaison Hotel Imperial

In order to polish off that worried brow, our stylists and beauticians await your beckon call for a simple haircut or manicure at our beauty salon. They can also provide that refreshing facial the day has called for. If sightseeing, or hectic meetings have taken their toll, our Mamaison Hotel Imperial Ostrava wellness centre is the remedy you seek.

For the finishing touches, and for a perfect end to your day, the cuisine at Restaurant Legend combines gourmet culinary art with the freshest and healthiest ingredients available. Chef Poštulka is dedicated to infusing a healthier nutritional ideology into the fare, while adhering to tradition and creative cooking. Like every other amenity at our hotel, we’re dedicated to making better days, stays, and a better you. Welcome. How do you feel?

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Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague

With its heritage beauty, glorious parks, museums filled with countless treasures, jaw-dropping monuments, and some of the best stages in the world, Prague has always been a top choice for city breaks. When visitors come to town, they expect the same remarkable experiences from the places that will become, briefly, their home away from home.

Set cosily on the West bank of the Vltava River, on Janáčkovo nábřeží, the waterfront street at the heart of Prague, dotted with many architectural gems, Mamaison Riverside Prague has got it all: a stylish Art Nouveau façade, stunning Belle Époque interiors, and unadulterated river and city views that inspire romance.

Mamaison Riverside Hotel

In the true spirit of Mamaison Hotels and Residences, the Riverside exudes a feeling of timeless elegance, and a certain tranquillity that makes the visitor forget about the hustle and bustle outside its walls. Inside the airy and well-lit rooms, the roll-call of chic ticks all the boxes: a discrete and soothing colour scheme, king-size beds covered with fine fabrics, cosy armchairs to relax with a glass of champagne, and large windows that fill the rooms with light, and the heart of the visitor with dreams.

Mamaison Riverside is the kind of place to rekindle a romance, or just to spend a weekend admiring the fairy tale views of the city, knowing that the best is yet to come. By day, the river sparkles under the sun, reflecting the skies above, and the city’s towers and turrets. All the visitor needs to fill up with the spirit of the city, is a moment in front of the window, taking in the soothing effects of these magnificent views.

Mamaison Riverside Hotel

Then, on to enjoying the full benefits of a Mamaison stay, or just to relax after a day’s trip, a stop at the Lounge bar is just the perfect place to spend a few moments in good company, with a signature cocktail in hand, or a glass of wine. This is also the place for a delicious meal, especially if authentic local, yet contemporary cuisine is a priority.

Mamaison Riverside is just as fascinating by night, when the city sparkles under the stars, and the river glitters with a million lights, under the eyes of lovers whiling away the dark hours in perfect harmony. As time passes by, and Hypnos finally takes over weary eyes, the magic of the views lingers on, becoming a dream that soothes the soul.

Mamaison Riverside Hotel

The next morning, after a light breakfast, the views call the visitor outside, to explore the city, and to take in her true charm. Some of the most famous local landmarks are within very short walking distance: the National Theatre, the Dancing House, Charles Bridge, the architectural gems dotting Janáčkovo nábřeží…

Even those who want to explore the lesser advertised, more energetic side of Prague have plenty to do: kayaking, jogging, inline skating and other active pursuits are just a stone’s throw away. Back at Mamaison, the stress of the day can be relieved by skilful hands, providing one of the most popular hotel services: relaxing massages. And, as the sun sets, the visitor opens a window, to take in the twilight that brings out Prague’s royal beauty in such vivid colours.

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Pig Festival Hoslovice

If you are a Mamaison guest in Prague, and you already know the hidden beauties of the City of a Hundred Spires, adventure out of the metropolis, to the countryside, not far from Strakonice, where you will find the oldest, and best preserved watermill in Bohemia.

The watermill originated in the Middle Ages, sometime in the late 1500s. The first documentary reference dates from 1654, and there is evidence that the trees used to build the ceiling of the granary were cut in 1568.

watermill Hoslovice

This architectural treasure, still fully operational, was converted into a museum, where you have the opportunity to join a variety of traditional events, like the Carnival, the Harvest Festival, Christmas, and many others. One of them takes place October 25, 2014, and celebrates the traditional South Bohemian pig-slaughtering. This celebration, held each year around the same day, marks the end of the tourist season in Bohemia, and represents an occasion for visitors to the Czech Republic to learn more about authentic local traditions, to experience the lifestyle of the countryside, and to sample culinary delicacies specific to this area.

Pig Feast Hoslovice

The event attracts large numbers of local residents too – an opportunity to experience their friendly hospitality first hand. Thing of the festival as a family adventure, and bring your kids to teach them about life at the farm, storage and preparation of food, respect for tradition, and more.

The permanent exhibition of the watermill shows ethnographic items with focus on agriculture, including growing and processing of several important crops and cattle breeding, traditional meals, and local customs. For those who don’t want to leave the mill empty-handed, there’s a souvenir shop, selling local arts and crafts.

If you planned a day trip, don’t miss the ecological farm nearby, U starýho kance (At the Old Boar’s).

Hoslovice, U starýho kance

Hoslovice, U starýho kance (Image Michal Klajban on Wikipedia)

This is a family-run guesthouse, offering accommodation, but also a variety of activities, including horseback riding for all ages, fishing, farming activities, traditional dining, and even traditional pig slaughtering.

Fishing in Hoslovice

Fishing in Hoslovice (Image courtesy U starýho kance)

Last, but not least, stop in Strakonice, to visit the castle, which now hosts the Museum of Central Otava Basin. The Hoslovice Watermill is part of this museum. If your time at the mill was a rewarding cultural experience, what you will discover in Strakonice is a wealth of information, a beautiful architectural landmark, unique religious sites, and an outstanding garden, with castle safari where children and adults alike can see Ouessant sheep, Dutch dwarf goats and Cameroon goats, ponies and more.

fall cuisine

UPDATE: Now a Private Label Hotels group property, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Ostrava changed its name back to Imperial Hotel Ostrava in 2015, to reflect the long history and tradition of the hotel. While it no longer operates under the Mamaison brand, the hotel remains in the CPI Hotels family, which includes Mamaison Hotels & Residences hotels, four-star Clarion congress hotels, Spa & Kur Hotels, Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague, three-star Fortuna hotels, and the Private Label Hotels group.

Ostrava is a true culinary destination, with something special to offer every season. Springs are for the noble asparagus; Summers are dedicated to the fresh, and flavorful local strawberries; and the Fall, well, it brings all kinds of different flavors. Known for its mushroom cuisine culture, Ostrava is also a place to enjoy spectacular game dishes.

venison

October is the time to enjoy creative game cuisine by Chef Vojtěch Poštulka and his team in both restaurants at Business & Conference Hotel Mamaison Imperial Ostrava. La Brasserie and Restaurant Legend welcome guests in a relaxed environment, with dishes that rival the most sophisticated international creations. Among the selected specialties you can try, wed like to recommend the delicious roasted pheasant breast with chestnut stuffing, roast potatoes with Brussels sprouts; or a slowly roasted rabbit leg with bacon stuffing, gingerbread sauce, and millet dumplings with herbs. The celebration of game lasts from 16 to 26 October 2014, and culminates with the Sunday venison brunch at La Brasserie, on October 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The price of the menu is 449, – CZK per person, and includes unlimited appetizers, soups, main dishes and desserts. Children under 6 eat free. The menu price for children aged 7 to 10 is 79, – CZK, while the menu price for children aged 11 to 15 is 149, – CZK.

Entomophagy

Venison is not the only culinary event this October. Pen into your calendar the date of October 14, 2014, if you want to discover the secretes of entomophagy. A special tasting event is organized at Mamaison Imperial Ostrava by Peter Ocknechtem, with unlikely menu choices, like grilled grasshopper, desserts with insects, and other unusual dishes.

Are you ready for an Autumn of flavors? Then, we cordially invite you to book a table at Restaurant Legend or La Brasserie. For information and reservations call 599 099 706, or e-mail gastro@mamaison.com.

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Close up of the Prague astronomical clock

October in Prague is a rich tapestry of colors and hues, tasteful culinary delights, and the sights and sounds of an eventful Fall spectacle to come. Whether it’s orchestral magic, sightseeing Fall colors in bliss, or even if you’re a Lady Gaga groupie, Prague is a happening this month.

Starting tomorrow, the Prague Philharmonic opens at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House with Strauss’ “The Gypsy Baron Overture,” in a celebration of 20 years in style II, Joyous Clamor From Hungary – Austria.

municipal house Prague

On October 4th beer lovers can say “cheers” to the Pilsner Fest at Plzensky Prazdroj, the leading brewing company in Central Europe. Here’s your chance to get the striaght, fresh tast of such world renown favorites as; Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, and Radegast a Velkopopovicky Kozel.

Also starting on the 4th, the Prague Feast of Apples takes places at Chateau Sychrov. Each year the first Saturday in October is dedicated to this symbol of fertility. Guests of the fest are treated to fancy cider, apple liquor, cookies, raw desserts, and much more.

Then on October 5th, pop diva Lady Gaga arrives at the O2 Arena with her latest art Rave/ArtPopball tour, straight in from her appearance in Hamburg. One of the world’s top live performers, Lady Gaga has sold nearly 4 million concert tickets worldwide. The Prague events is for promoting the pop star’s new album artpop, that debuted as the No. 1 album on Billboard.

If you want to play “dress up.” October 10th Prague’s swinging SaSaZu plays host to the 10th annual “Suit Up” party. This year electro-swing will be the tone performed by multicultural DJs, but the sexy dress up creativity is the real attraction.

For Winter sports fans, the Après Ski Praha – Winter Sports Festival runs from October 11th through 12th. The river embankment in Prague will be the site of a mini snow park and winter sports centre to host a weekend of fun activities such as; an adrenaline show, a giant jump over the river, snowboard & free-ski exhibitions, a children’s winter playground, a mini ski slope, races, competitions and more.

For the eccentric foodie (or weirdo) out there who loves the out of the ordinary, the Ghetto Food Festival is a sure fire “Bug Feast” at the Cross Club in Prague. Starting on the 26th, experience such delicacies as; live scorpions and some of the most exotic fruits you can imagine. If insects are your thing, or just strange meat dishes, this is the gastronomical event for you.

Later in the month, Kylie Minogue fans will be treated to her latest tour tunes live performing “Kiss Me Once” tracks and her greatest hits too. The concert begins at 20:00 at O2 Arena October 21st.

As you can already tell, just because summer is over Prague does not even slow down a bit. Fall is the season for countless festivals, concerts, and cultural events leading up to the Christmas season. There’s also sports, theater, art, and many other special events taking place during the month of October.

If you plan your vacation in Prague this October, check out our special offer:

colors of autumn hotel deals

James Blunt

Autumn tends to be a grim season, but not in Warsaw, the city that celebrates the season with the largest international Polish festival of contemporary music, Warsaw Autumn (Warszawska Jesień). There are only four days left to enjoy outstanding performances at different participating venues around the city, mainly till Sunday, September 28, 2014, when the 57th edition of the festival closes with Musical Carriage and the Cuckoo Clock Orchestra, two sound installations by Erwin Stache.

/ Warsaw Autumn

Starting tomorrow till Sunday, September 28, 2014, you can enjoy La Folle Journée de Varsovie 2014 at Teatr Wielki (Grand Theatre – National Opera). This festival has been held annually since 1995, with great success in countries like France, Spain, Japan and Brazil. In Poland, the festival is organized by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, C.R.E.A. and by the Ogrody Muzyczne Foundation. This is the fifth edition of La Folle Journée in Poland, and its theme is American Music of the 20th century.

More quality music is presented next Monday at Pardon To, Tu: live performances by Pat Thomas, a prolific artist, considered by many critics a master of improvisation. He will be accompanied by double bass player Adam Pultz, and a true star of Scandinavian improvised music, producer, composer and drummer, Peter Ole Jørgensen.

Pat Thomas at Pardon To, Tu

For fans of pop rock, Friday, October 3, 2014 is a day to mark in the calendar, as one of the bestselling performers of the genre, James Blunt, will perform at Torwar. Blunt is known for hist such as “Bonfire Heart,” “You’re Beautiful,” and “Goodbye My Lover.” The concert is part of the “Moon Landing Tour 2014,” which the artist dedicated to dreams, longings and first loves.

James Blunt

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chocolate festival

If you took advantage of the special offer of the season, Colours of Autumn, you are now staying at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy or at Residence Izabella, in Budapest. As you read this update, the city is preparing two outstanding cultural events for you, both this week, between September 19 and September 21: the National Gallop and the Sweet Days – Chocolate and Candy Festival.

colors of autumn hotel deals

First, the National Gallop (Nemzeti Vágta) in transforms the iconic Heroes’ Square into a race course, where some of the finest horses and jockeys will compete in international competitions, acclaimed by the local public, and by city visitors from all over the world. It’s a time of great pride for Hungary as well, as this festival celebrates Hungarian equestrian traditions, and the famous hussar culture. Children and adults alike are expecting this event with great interest. More than races, the National Gallop is an opportunity for Hungarians from all over the country to get together, united in a common passion: the love for their national horses.

National gallop

Sweet Days – Chocolate and Candy Festival lines up the finest hand-made chocolates and sweets, cakes and ice creams in a mouthwatering display of proportions, uniting not only local and international artisan chocolatiers and candy-makers, but also some of the world’s most popular brands. A day pass is HUF 2,000 for adults and HUF 100 for kids (6-12 years old). Entrance is free for children under 6 years of age.

chocolate festival

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Baked fillet of cod fish with black lentils

After the five star dining experience of a Mamaison restaurant, going back home to something less sophisticated doesn’t really make sense. To satisfy your craving for peerless cuisine, and following numerous requests after out Mamaison Winter Cookbook was received with so much excitement, we now offer the Mamaison Summer Cookbook, a collection of outstanding dishes, exclusively created by our celebrity chefs for our patrons and fans.

Chef Paweł Oszczyk Summer Menu

The first stop is La Rotisserie, Mamaison’s elegant restaurant in the Old Town of Warsaw, at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina. Here, Chef Paweł Oszczyk continues to surprise hotel guests and foodies with contemporary fare, based on the freshest, local produce. His high respect for traditional techniques, together with a distinctive feel for culinary art, blend to bring to the table the best of French and Italian cuisine. But the dishes are truly unique, each a masterpiece in its own right. The first chapter in this edition of the Mamaison Summer Cookbook is dedicated to Chef Paweł Oszczyk, and presents a refined summer menu: Beef tartar with green asparagus and summer truffle; baked filet of cod fish with black lentils, celery and caviar sauce; and for dessert, buttermilk with rhubarb and strawberries.

buttermilk with rhubarb and strawberries

Semyon Zharkikh from Meat & More, Moscow

Meat & More’s Chef Semyon Zharkikh is young, but he already has an outstanding background. He served as a cook in the Russian Navy for more than two years, and then he worked as a chef for Baltschug Kempinski Hotel in Moscow. He trained with some of the best chefs in the world, and now brings his extensive experience to guests of Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow, and to guests of Meat & More, the celebrated steak restaurant of the hotel. His Summer menu this year features Borscht with beef tongue; Scallops and prawns with pumpkin puree and paprika milk foam; and Cottage cheese soufflé with strawberry sauce and sabayon, decorated with berries and strawberry sorbet.

Scallops and prawns with pumpkin puree and paprika milk foam

László Koncz from La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge, Budapest

La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge is the crown jewel of Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest, and the playground of László Koncz, a young Hungarian chef, whose stunning culinary creation revam Hungarian cuisine with a bit of French flair. His summer menu boasts Yoghurt and strawberry cream soup with roll sticks; Butterfish steak with mashed sweet potatoes and vegetables; and Cottage cheese dumplings with rhubarb and vanilla ice cream.

Cottage cheese dumplings

Vojtech Poštulka from La Brasserie, Ostrava

If the three chefs featured here inspired you, the culinary art of Vojtech Poštulka from Mamaison Imperial Ostrava, will convert you. His light menu is an excellent choice for foodies who value healthy, fresh ingredients, and discrete flavors: Thin slices of tuna with marinated radish and coriander salad, wasabi mayonnaise; Warm smoked eel with beetroot, horseradish and watercress; and Rhubarb marinated in chamomile syrup with almond crumb and ginger cream.

Warm smoked eel with beetroot, horseradish and watercress

To get these recipes and to enjoy Mamaison refined gastronomy at home, download our recipe book free of charge, here.

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Steamed salmon with dried apricot chutney

Many of our guests, who enjoy gourmet dishes at Meat & More, now have the opportunity to recreate one of these exclusive dishes at home, with a superb recipe offered by Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow. Meat & More ranks among the best restaurants in Moscow, and it is one of the top choices for wedding parties and other events, due to its psychedelic decor, but mainly for its outstanding seasonal menus, born from the best traditions of European and Russian cuisine, and created with great flair.

MEAT&MORE

Today, we offer you one of the most acclaimed dishes of the season, a superb steamed salmon with dried apricot chutney and chili pepper, carrot puree with ginger and lemon sauce recipe, easy to cook at home. When you miss the outstanding textures and flavors you enjoyed at Meat & More, or if you would like a “preview” of what could be before you come to us, put on your apron, and woo your family and guests, with this sophisticated, yet easy to prepare, dish:

Steamed salmon with dried apricot chutney and chili pepper, carrot puree with ginger and lemon sauce (150/60/50/30 gr)

Dried apricot chutney

  • Dried apricots – 40 gr
  • Chili pepper – 10 gr
  • Shallot – 2 gr
  • Water – 100 ml
  • Olive Oil – 5 ml
  • White wine – 10 ml

Cut apricots, shallots and chili pepper into cubes. Fry shallots in olive oil, add chili pepper, dried apricots and mix. Then add white wine and cook till it evaporates. Add water and simmer until thickened.

Carrot and arugula puree with ginger

  • Carrot – 50 gr
  • Ginger – 7 gr
  • Shallots – 4 gr
  • White wine -10 gr
  • Water – 60 gr
  • Cream – 40 gr
  • Arugula – 30 gr
  • Olive oil 5 ml
  • Butter – 5 ml
  • Salt – 1 gr

Sauté carrots in olive oil and butter, add the ginger, shallots, white wine and water. Simmer till all the water has evaporated, then add the cream and cook for 2 more minutes.

Boil the arugula, then cool it in ice cold water to keep its vibrant green color.

Pour the sauteed carrots and the arugula into a food processor, and blend till smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve.

Lemon sauce

  • Lemon juice – 10 ml
  • Lime and lemon zest – 2 gr
  • Butter – 5 gr
  • Honey – 2 gr

In a small stew-pot warm up the lemon juice, then remove from heat, add the honey, butter and stir constantly till all the ingredients incorporate into a beautiful, golden sauce. Finish with lime and lemon zest.

Salmon

  • Salmon -180 gr
  • Egg – 1 piece
  • Sea salt – 1 gr
  • Parsley – 5 gr

Cut the salmon steak (without skin) and roll it up. Boil in a water bath. Strew salt mixed with the parsley on the edges of the salmon (grease the salmon’s edges with egg white before).

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Close up of the Prague astronomical clock

Mamaison’s three outstanding properties, Mamaison Residence Belgicka, Mamaison Hotel Riverside and the luxurious Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace are the perfect starting points to explore Prague this Summer. Inviting, cozy and serene, with superb concierge services, and travel benefits for our guests, Mamaison Hotels can recommend the finest cultural events of the season, and everything else that will enrich your visit to this fine European city.

Prague ranks 7 among the top 10 cities in Europe in 2014, according to Travel&Leisure, the same position occupied by the city in 2013 as well. Cities are usually ranked for sights and landmarks, culture and arts, restaurants, people, and value. Prague has enough of everything. In fact, the city is so rich and diverse, that you need a lifetime to enjoy it at its fullest. But even as a visitor, staying here just for a brief time, you will leave richer.

This Summer, Prague is an open invitation for all lovers of arts and culture.

Prague Proms 2014

The Prague Proms 2014 is an annual music festival inspired by the BBC Proms in London. For visitors to Prague, this is the best occasion to see the best orchestras, choirs and musicians performing popular symphonies, and concerts, held at the Prague Municipal House, and at the Hybernia Theatre. Of note, the Bratislava Hot Serenaders, performing at Hybernia. The festival takes place between June 21 and July 20.

One world is not enough

One World is Not Enough

One World is Not Enough (Jeden svět nestačí), an exhibition of art at the Clam Gallas Palace features XIX Century art treasures from the Patrik Simon collection. The entire month of July the exhibition enables you to admire works by Antonín Machek, Josef Navrátil, Vilém Kandler and many other Czech masters.

Vital Art Nouveau 1900

More treasures of the XIX century will remain on display at the Municipal House from the beginning of July 2014, till the end of December 2015. The Municipal House itself, the location of the Czechoslovak declaration of independence, is a gem of Art Nouveau architecture, and a must-see landmark. Vital Art Nouveau 1900 will show Czech and European Art Nouveau works, on loan from the Museum of Decorative Arts.

Prague Folklore Days 2013

Prague Folklore Days

Folklore is often one of the best paths to understanding a destination. Local traditions are always fascinating. This year, July 24-27, you can attend the 8th International meeting of amateur folk groups in Prague, on open air stages at the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Republic Square. The Prague Folklore Days is the biggest folk dance event in central Europe.

Carnevale Praha

Opera Barocca Summer Festival

The Opera Barocca Summer Festival is the event that closes the Summer. The festival will be held from Friday August 15th till Sunday September 7th at the Clam-Gallas Palace. The multicultural event will feature music, theater, dance and other performances, meant to entertain, but also to raise awareness about the Baroque traditions of the Czechs. Actors, dancers and singers, even some of the guests, will be wearing period costumes. Musicians will perform on authentic Baroque instruments.