The region of Prague is the fifth wealthiest in Europe, according to data released Thursday by the European statistical office Eurostat. The data reflects the purchasing power standard of the individual regions of Europe in 2007 and by that measure puts Prague behind Hamburg and slightly ahead of Paris city centre. London city centre topped the list with nearly twice the buying power of Prague, or 334% of the EU standard, followed by Luxemburg and Brussels. The Czech Republic as a whole however fared much worse, with the national average amounting to 80% of the EU average. Also, some of the poorest regions in the EU were also found in the Czech Republic, particularly north-western Bohemia, which showed a purchasing power standard of 62% of the EU standard.
Now, ever gone on holiday and been forced to leave your teddy bear at home? Well, fear not, a Czech tour operator is launching what looks like a world first for tourism – holidays for cuddly toys. Starting from 90 euros you can send your teddy bear or other furry friend on a luxury trip to Prague or other Central European cities – you’ll even receive a photo album with his holiday snaps. Earlier we spoke to the man behind the idea, Tomio Okamura.
Thirty-five years ago on Wednesday, the Prague department store Kotva opened its doors for the first time. Back in the day, a trip to Kotva was as close as most Czechs could get to real luxury. Now, even after the arrival of modern-day shopping malls such as Palladium, which is located directly across the street from the old-fashioned department store, Kotva is still in business. Sarah Borufka talked to former Elle editor Jana Cíglerová, about what Kotva symbolized for those who lived under communism and how that has changed.
Around 150 drivers protested the lowering of the speed limit on certain Prague roads Saturday evening. The protestors were escorted by police as they formed a slow-moving column of automobiles on Prague’s busy South Junction for roughly an hour. The Prague City Hall reduced the speed limit on a number of Prague thoroughfares to 50 km/h at the new year in an attempt to reduce noise levels in the areas. However, demonstrators say that that lowering the speed limit at busy locations is not the solution that even residents had envisioned, and will continue to protest until some other measure is taken, such as the construction of anti-noise walls.
One of the most important documents concerning the future of Prague is the rather unimaginatively named “Development Plan”. Since 1999, the plan has been the key public document laying out the broad rules for what can be built where in the city and its suburbs. For investors, developers, property owners and Prague’s 57 local authorities, the plan outlines development and environmental priorities: in terms of land-use, new building and the transport infrastructure. Since the plan was first drawn up in the early days after the fall of communism,
Later this year, ABL FM services, a company in charge of a number of Prague’s historic sites, will re-open the bell tower on St Nicholas’ Church, where 20 years ago the Communist-era secret police, the StB, kept a hidden lookout. The cubby-hole with views of Prague’s Malá strana district was used to above all monitor activities outside nearby embassies, especially that of the US.
Many consider Prague’s public transport system one of the best in Europe. But there could soon be cuts to services in the city, including a proposal to end metro services after midnight. Even though the approval of this cost-cutting measure is still pending, many Prague residents are outraged at the possibility that the last metro trains could leave earlier.
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