Prague's Troja district is one of the city's most luxurious residential areas. It is also the home of Prague Zoo, which after Prague Castle, is the most visited place in the capital. But the district was hit hard by the floods in 2002 and it also boasts two more sites that only a few tourists know about. City Hall is now introducing an ambitious new project that hopes to turn Troja into an attractive place of fun and leisure.
One of the most controversial buildings in Prague, the futuristic Zizkov TV Tower, is this week celebrating its 15th anniversary. Long before that date, many people in Prague opposed the idea of such a tall and out-of-place building being erected in a largely residential area. But 15 years later, it now seems that Praguers are slowly but surely getting used to it.
In today's One on One Jan's guest is Zdenek Lukes, one of the country's most respected architectural historians, employed at the Office of the President's heritage section overseeing Prague Castle. Mr Lukes first began working there in 1990 and in our interview recalls changes that he's seen, the fate of a secret atomic bunker, and a famous visit by the "world's greatest rock n' roll band". Jan began by asking him first what coming to the Castle was like.
The 'Masopust' - or Carnival - in Prague's Zizkov quarter is set to come to a climax on Tuesday. 'Masopust' always takes place towards the end of winter, before the start of Lent. And though many Czechs no longer celebrate it, the tradition of 'Masopust' is slowly making a comeback. The Zizkov Town Hall has been organizing its own carnival for 14 years.
The Prague Castle management expects the Roman Catholic Church to hand over St Vitus Cathedral in the near future. Following Friday's ruling of the Supreme Court which overturned previous court decisions that returned the cathedral to the Roman Catholic Church, a spokesman for the President's office, Petr Hajek, said he does not expect any difficulties concerning the transfer. The cathedral has been managed by the Catholic Church since last June. Friday's decision by the Supreme Court criticised the earlier rulings on legal grounds, and returned the case to the district level. Legal disputes between the Czech state and the Roman Catholic Church over ownership rights to St Vitus cathedral have been going on for 13 years.
Thursday 15 was Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before the fasting period of Lent, as celebrated in Italy, German and Poland, for example. According to tradition, one is supposed to eat large quantities of food, which is forbidden during Lent. Even though not traditionally celebrated in the Czech Republic, the day marked the beginning of "Bohemian Carnevale", a festival which is trying to revive Renaissance carnival traditions in the heart of Central Europe.
Looking at old photos of quaint parts of downtown Prague that were demolished at the turn of the 19th century to make way for fashionable apartment blocks, one easily gets nostalgic. But thanks to modern technologies, one day soon it will be possible to walk through the streets and lanes of the old Jewish quarter of Prague - but of course, only in virtual reality.
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