After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 thousands of Western tourists flocked to Prague for their first-ever visit to the Czech capital. This intense interest lasted for several years and together with the city's architectural treasures it ensured a steady stream of tourists. But now - more than sixteen years later - the Prague tourist authorities have a new goal: to keep tourists coming back for more.
Magic, mysterious or surreal: many have attributed these qualities to Prague, notably the Italian author Angelo Maria Ripellino, who devotes a whole book to the enigmas of the city. A sense of the unreal seems to be as much part of the Czech capital's identity as spiky medieval buildings or highly quirky metro station designs.
Prague's Church of Our Lady Victorious on Karmelitska - or Carmelite - Street is home to one of the most revered images in the Roman Catholic world, the Bambino di Praga, or Child of Prague. We'll come to the famous statue in a moment, but first let's find out a little about the Church of Our Lady Victorious, and its troubled history.
If Prague's Veletrzni Palac or Trade Fair Palace didn't house the modern art collection of the National Gallery, most of us would probably not notice the large building that stands just a few metres away from the city's exhibition complex. But the Palace is one of Prague's earliest and largest buildings in the Functionalist style.
One only has to look at such recent edifices as the so-called "Fred and Ginger" building by Frank Gehry or Jean Nouvel's Andel Centre to see that Prague's architecture becomes more and more ambitious year by year. Yet there have been few more industrious projects than the groundbreaking relocation of the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, a move which saved the monument from certain destruction. As the building celebrates 50 years since this momentous operation, Radio Prague looks at how and why such an undertaking was made possible.
Mozart's Don Giovanni is one of the best known operas of all time, but how many people know that it was written, in part, in Prague and premiered here in 1787? Mozart had an exceptionally good relationship with the city, where his music was generally far better appreciated than in Vienna, so it is apt that Prague is playing a big part in celebrations of Mozart's 250th birthday this year.
The development of the Czech capital has been the subject of continued debate for years, not least the future for Prague's Pankrac district. The area is famous for three skyscrapers - including the city's tallest, the so-called City Tower. At 109 metres, it's being redesigned by New York-based architect Richard Meier. Many would like to see the area unified with additional buildings. But, some professionals have complained additional skyscrapers would only compound the problem. And, they're not alone.
Welcome to Spotlight, Radio Prague's travel programme taking you on a continuing journey through the Czech lands. In today's edition, though, not a destination but a look at trends in tourism. This week, the state-run agency CzechTourism, together with the private Association of Czech Travel Agencies, released tourism statistics for 2005 as well as the forecast for 2006. According to the survey, the outlook for the Czech tourist industry this year will once again be favourable.
Prague's Wenceslas Square is the best known thoroughfare in the Czech Republic, and the site of many key moments in the nation's history. But today Wenceslas Square is perhaps not the best of advertisements for the Czech Republic, having earned a reputation for crimes such as drug dealing and prostitution. Now Prague City Hall has launched a campaign to clean it up.
Swedish terrorist suspect Oussama Kassir, who was detained in Prague on Sunday, has accused the FBI of "manufacturing" a case against him, adding that it was "politically directed against Islam". In a statement released by his Czech lawyer, the 39-year old Swedish national said the United States wanted to embarrass the Swedish and Czech governments. Mr Kassir, the subject of an international arrest warrant for allegedly abetting terrorists was arrested as he stepped off a plane at Prague airport on Sunday evening on his way from Stockholm to Beirut. Sweden has never agreed to extradite Mr Kassir, who originates from Lebanon and has Swedish citizenship.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”