With its sloping cobbled streets, beautiful baroque churches and an abundance of historical architecture, Olomouc is easily one of the most appealing cities in the Czech Republic outside of Prague. Typically, this bustling university town in North Moravia owes much of its architectural splendour to its long and somewhat chequered past. Some claim that this ancient city dates back as far as Roman times, when it was reputed to have been founded by Julius Caesar himself.
I had never really been inside or had a proper look around, but I was sure the small church of St Martin in the Wall would have an interesting story, if for no other reason than its ancient appearance and peculiar name. Just off the central Národní třída is a classic Prague alleyway that’s tucked away from the shopping boulevard, neatly dividing the centuries from one another, and there you’ll find it. One of the oldest churches in the city, St Martin in the Wall is one of those relatively few landmarks whose story can transport you all the way
Standing atop of a small hill, with a tramline swooping around it, punctuated by a baroque Roman Catholic church on one side and a modernist Hussite church on the other, Rangherka, or the small Vršovice château, contains within its own story the history of the surrounding district as well. The original building was put up just as the then village of Vršovice began to grow and develop rapidly. Now, unlike the surrounding neighbourhood, it is a sad sight. The prominent neo-renaissance building is in ruins, with reconstruction having dragged on for
You may know the feeling – you return to your native village after a long absence and come across an eyesore – a building that screams “money, power and influence” and sticks out like a sore thumb from its surroundings. That is the kind of building that architect and photographer Jan Kruml likens to a flashing gold tooth.
Architects and theoreticians, many of whom are of the younger generation, are giving free guided tours of significant historical landmarks and contemporary buildings at 45 Bohemian and Moravian cities and towns on Saturday and Sunday, as part of an event dubbed the Day of Architecture. Almost 70 individual activities are being held, including 16 in the capital Prague; these range from tours of some of the city’s estates of prefabricated tower blocks to lectures on the work of German-speaking architects that are today largely forgotten.
According to an old Czech saying, ‘každý správný chlap’ (every real man) should at some point build a house, father a son, and plant a tree. Viktor Filipi, our guest in this edition of Czech Life, isn’t quite there yet in the first two departments but the last category he knows a lot about. The 24-year-old – a student in his final year in the Masters programme in Landscape Architecture at Mendel University – began working on his family’s garden more than ten years ago; just recently it was voted by readers of idnes as “the country’s most
A children’s wing at Prague’s Motol hospital has been found to be structurally unstable. The wing, which is undergoing renovation and accommodates no patients at the moment, has moved by eight to ten centimetres, a spokeswoman for the hospital said. The hospital halted all renovation work and the building is being reviewed by experts. The facility, which is one of Europe’s largest children’s hospitals, was opened last June after a major reconstruction which cost 4.4 billion crowns.
A concert hall in České Budějovice, nicknamed Stingray, designed by the
late architect Jan Kaplický, could be completed in 2015, the head of the
local music fans’ association said. The project, which is the Czech-born
architect’s last design to be built in his native country, is expected to
cost around two billion crowns; however, the investor of the project has
not been disclosed. The supporters of the project hope that they will
secure all permits by the end of the year and construction should begin in
December 2013. The new concert hall could then open to the public in
Jan Kaplický, who died in 2009 aged 72, also designed a new National Library building in Prague, known as the Blob. However, the project was dropped under pressure from Prague City Hall.
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