Culture Shorts

Bratislava hosts the jubilee Days of Organ

Georges Athanasiades
photo: BKIS

Prominent Swiss organist Georges Athanasiades will open the 30th annual Days of Organ Music in Bratislava on August 15. The seven evenings of the prestigious international festival will showcase Polish organist, organ builder and publicist Jerzy Kukla and Austrian organist Wolfgang Reisinger will play on August 17 and 22, respectively. An exceptional double-concert of world-renowned Slovak organists Marianna Gazdíková and Marek Vrábel will perform on August 20.

On August 24 another Slovak, Zuzana Ferjenčíková, will play followed by Slovak Bernadetta Šuňavská on August 27. The final concert on August 29 will showcase the talents of Bernard Hass from Denmark.

All concerts start at 19:00 at the Bratislava Castle. Tickets are available at the Bratislava Culture and Information Centre at Klobučnícka 2.

Lost world of mammoths

A life-sized mammoth enables comparisons to the size of people. Though most mammoths went extinct about 12,000 years ago, this chestnut-coloured model seems vibrantly alive. When the exhibition closes, the museum will retain it as a permanent exhibition.
photo: TASR

Until the end of August visitors can see the exhibition Mammoth in Slovakia - The Lost World of Mammoths in the Slovak National Museum (SNM) at Vajanského 2 in Bratislava. The project introduces the most well-known animal of the last Ice Age: the mammoth. The exhibit is accompanied by a display of 60 paintings by book illustrator Zdeněk Burian.

The exhibition displays include: maps, copies of fossils, models, reconstructions, photos and an interactive programme that begins with the origin of the mammoth's name, continues with a replication of the animal's environment, its appearance, its way of living and its relationship to man.

The exhibition is divided into four parts. The first presents the most famous findings of mammoth remains in the world. In an artificial cave, visitors will move into the second part that depicts the relationship between man and mammoth during the existence of the species as well as after its extinction. The third part is concerned with the mammoth's biological predecessors and other related species.

The last part making up the core of the double-exhibition, deals specifically with the mammoth in Slovakia. "There have been about 250 findings of mammoths and other proboscideans in Slovakia. The most recent are in Piešťany and Rovinka," historian Pavel Dvořák told TASR news wire. At the exhibition, the best preserved specimens are showcased. Visitors can also see the mammoth from Senec, mammoth remains uncovered by the founder of the Slovak museums Andrej Kmeť in the 19th century and the only mammoth scull found in Slovakia, from Borovce. Among the most well-known exhibits is a mammoth skeleton from Siberia.

"We prepared the exhibition thanks to the Sk3.7 million subsidy from the Culture Ministry," said SNM general director Peter Maráky. That makes this the most expensive short-term exhibition in the museum's history. The replica of the mammoth alone cost Sk500,000.

The exhibition has been extremely popular this summer. More than 23,500 people saw it between its opening in mid May and the end of June.

What: Mammoth in Slovakia - The Lost World of Mammoths and Zdeněk Burian - Master of Palette of Ancient Times
When: until August 31, open daily between 10:00 and 19:00 (last entry at 18:30).
Where: SNM, the Natural Science Museum, Vajanského 2

Roma Holocaust Memorial Unveiled

The memorial for the Roma Holocaust resembles the reddish bricks used to build the barracks of the Auschwitz extermination camp, where thousands of Roma victims were murdered.
photo: TASR

The first memorial commemorating the Roma victims in the Holocaust during World War II was ceremoniously unveiled in the southern Slovak town of Dunajská Streda on August 4, TASR news wire reported.

The death toll of the Roma Holocaust is estimated between 300,000 and 500,000 Romanies.

Until recently, the Roma Holocaust was a little-known part of the Slovakia's history and the unveiling of the first memorial is in some ways a settlement of the Slovak debt to the Roma minority.

Dunajská Streda was selected as the site of the memorial because it lies in southern Slovakia, the region with the country's highest number of national minorities.

The monument was created exclusively by Roma artists with the help of blacksmiths from Dunajská Lužná.

Prime Minister Robert Fico said during the ceremony that the Slovak government would work intensively and actively to keep the horrors of the Holocaust alive in the memories of the people. The prime minister noted that the fate of the Slovak Roma in WWII has received more attention in the last 10-15 years. Before that time, the topic was usually avoided even in the Roma communities. The Roma who survived the Holocaust were apparently not interested in dwelling on their past suffering or demanding reimbursement.

Head of the Slovak Council of Roma Communities' NGOs Ladislav Richter told SITA news wire that even though there has been a long silence about the Roma Holocaust, it is necessary now to commemorate the thousands of innocent Roma from Slovakia killed. He underscored that the Roma belong to this region and are a part of it.

Deep Purple to give two concerts

Rock music fans can look forward to hearing original versions of hits Smoke on the Water, Hush or Fireball because the British band Deep Purple with singer Ian Gillan are headed to Slovakia. The hard-rock quintet will perform twice, first in the Expo Arena on October 4 in Bratislava, then three days later in Steel Arena in Košice.

Deep Purple is on tour to promote its latest CD, Rapture of the Deep, released in October last year.

Apart from the popular Gillan, original drummer Ian Paice will play at the concerts in Slovakia along with bassist Roger Glover, guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey.

Prepared by Jana Liptáková
from press reports

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