Visiting the Czech Republic
Foreign visitors to the Czech Republic must have a passport valid at least 90 days beyond the time of their planned stay in the Czech Republic. Immigration officers may require a foreign visitor arriving in the Czech Republic to produce a certificate of travel health insurance for the intended time of stay. Further information is available at: http://www.mzv.cz or The Law on Foreigners and Act of residence of Aliens in the territory of the Czech Republic Act 326 of 30th November 1999.
Visa for Tourism
Citizens of European countries are not required to have a Czech visa with the exception of Albania, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. Regarding non-European states, citizens of the USA, Mexico, Argentina, the Korean Republic (South Korea), Malaysia, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Israel are not required to have a visa. All other nationalities must have a visa. These can be obtained from the Czech Embassy offices abroad, which may require applicants to produce other necessary documents, such as official invitations, return tickets, vouchers for services, or confirmations of the reservations of spa and other treatments. Up-to-date information concerning the procurements of visas and conditions of entry to the Czech Republic is provided by every Czech embassy office.
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Foreign Exchange and Customs Regulations
The import and export of foreign currency, foreign bills of payment, foreign securities and deposit books in non-Czech currency is in no way restricted. The import and export of current Czech bank notes and coins, bills and securities in Czech currency is permitted only to the value of 200,000 Kc without the approval of the Czech National Bank. The import and export of gold and gold coins must be officially declared. Further information can be obtained from customs offices responsible for such matters.
The import of non-commercial goods with a total customs value of not more than 3,000 Kc per traveller is free of import duties. Export of tabacco products (maximum of 200 cigarettes), alcoholic drinks, and perfume is limited. Medicines can be imported only in types and quantities inkeeping with the personal need of the traveller. Any kind of non-commercial good can be exported from the Czech Republic without limitation of their value. Export of historical objects is forbidden. for export of antiques and cultural objects, certification is nessesary that attests that the object is not an object of national historical value. Further information regarding conditions governing the export of cutural objects is available from customs offices or in some cases sales organisations.
The Prague Baby Jesus
The Statue was brought to the Czech Lands by Spanish Duchess Maxmiliana Maria Manriques de Lara Mendoza, as part of the dowry for her marriage to Czech nobleman Vratislav of Pernstejn. The statue was then inherited by Polyxena of Lobkowitz, the same aristocrat who gave refuge to terrified regents Slavata and Martinic after they were defenestrated in May 1618. Ten years later, she stepped onto the stage of history again. After the Battle of White Mountain and the subsequent execution of the Protestant rebels, the reins of power passed back to the Catholics and pious Lady Polyxena dedicated the family treasure to the Order of Barefoot Carmelites, who had been awarded the former Lutheran church in the Lesser Town by Emperor Ferdinand II, following the Hapsburg victory.
The Baby Jesus, which is displayed in silver and glass cabinet on the church?s marble alter, wears a gilded crown. His right hand is raised in blessing and his left holds an imperial orb with a cross. But his appearance is constantly changing ? ?Il Bambino di Praga? has a wardrobe as diverse as that of many a Hollywood star. In the adjoining church depositary there are dozens of little outfits in which the Carmelite sisters ceremonial and tenderly dress him, each costume corresponding to a particular time of the liturgical year. On holy days associated with Jesus, he is dressed in green; at Easter, he wears white; and during Advent, he has purple robes. His most expensive cloths, made of green samite, were dedicated by Empress Marie Theresa, who is said to have embroidered them in gold herself. There are also remarkable outfits in Moravian-Slovak folk style and garments made by believers from all over the world, from Shanghai and the Philippines to Australia and Ecuador. But cloths are not the only gifts to have been showered on the Prague Baby Jesus over the centuries. One Czech noblewoman bequeathed him part of her estate; Count and Countries Kolowrat gave him silver lamp and reliquary; on his visit to the church in 1648, Karl Gustav, who later become king Gustav of Sweden, put a full 30 golden ductsin his purse; and a few years later, Count Bernard Ignac of Martinic hung a miniature of the Order of the Golden Fleece round his neck.
Even in the 21st century, the Prague Baby Jesus continues to receive votive gifts and letters of thanks. Visitors from Latin America are especially convinced that he has the miraculous gift of healing even incurable illnesses and freeing believers from the worries and burdens of earthly life. The thank-you letters on the tiles in the niche around the Baby Jesus are testimony to their faith. Next to names from all over the world, one sentiment is repeated again and again in numerous languages ? ?Thank You?.
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