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The parish St. Mortiz Church ranks among the most precious structures of the late Gothic style in Moravia. The three-naved structure has ribbed vaulting from the middle of the 14th century while the presbytery has newer webbed vaulting. Two asymmetrical square towers are situated next to the western facade. In the western part of the church there is a particularly architecturally interesting double staircase. The renaissance Edelmann Chapel is situated in the northern part of the church.
The true gem of the church is the late Gothic sculptural group from the middle of the 15th century, Christ on the Mount of Olives in the interior.
The Moritz organ comes from the year 1745 and is the largest organ in Central Europe and the eighth largest in Europe. It was created by the master organ maker Michael Egler. The sculptor Philipp Sattler and the woodcarver Johann Georg Huckh decorated the organ. A new, modern organ with five keyboards was added in the 1960s to the original instrument with three keyboards The organ has 135 registers and 10,400 organ pipes.
The Czech Republic is a cool little landlocked country south of Germany and Poland, with a national addiction to pork and beer. Potatos, cabbage, and dumplings are close behind them, and they also have this great bar food called "utopenec." It means "a drowned man," it's pickled sausage with onions, perfect with some dark wheat bread and beer. The Czech bread is legendary, like a meal all by itself.Czechoslovakia first became a sovereign state in 1918 when it declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The state of Czechoslovakia lasted until the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, which created Slovakia and the Czech Republic.It was occupied by Germany in WWII but escaped major damage, unlike most other European cities. The nation's capital, Prague, retains some of Europe's most beautiful Baroque architecture as well as one of the largest medieval castle complexes still standing. The President of the Czech Republic has his offices in the Prague Castle even today.There was a coup d'etat in 1948 and Czechoslovakia fell under Soviet rule. For fifty years Czechoslovakia was a Socialist state under the USSR, subject to censorship, forced atheism and even the arrest of jazz musicians!In 1989, communist police violently squashed a pro-democracy demonstration and pissed everybody off so bad that a revolution erupted over it, finally ending the Communist rule.The next twenty years saw rapid economic growth and westernization. Today in Prague you can eat at McDonald's or KFC, shop for snowboarding boots and go see a punk rock show.The Czech Republic took over the presidency of the European Union in January 2009. This instantly created lots of political drama because the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, is a renowned Euroskeptic.We anxiously await the outcome of "President Klaus vs. the Lisbon Treaty", a world heavywieght fight sceduled for spring 2009.Text by Steve Smith.