No visit to Prague is complete without a stroll across Charles Bridge. A masterpiece of mediaeval architecture, the bridge has survived floods, sieges and even some poorly executed renovations. In this edition of Spotlight, we walk across the bridge with architect Martin Krise from a preservationists’ association called the Club for Ancient Prague.
The City of Prague has halted traffic and transport on the Vltava after water flow on Sunday morning was measured at 600 cubic metres per second. Expected weather conditions should see an even greater volume. Piers will be closed and all transport and activity on the river stopped, deputy mayor Rudolf Blažek said. Anti-flood barriers, such as the one near the Four Seasons hotel not far from the historic Old Town Square, are be putting into effect in keeping with the city’s anti-flood measures.
The Prague Civic Democrats are expected to officially announce their candidate for mayor in local elections this autumn on Monday, but the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes has suggested that party bosses themselves are still far from decided. Names floated earlier include actor/senator Tomáš Topfer and emergency services head Zdeněk Schwarz. But neither man has officially been contacted and both denied any interest in the post, the paper said. The Civic Democrats are under pressure to find a strong candidate to run against rivals such as Markéta Reedová (former deputy mayor) for Public Affairs or Zdeněk Tůma (the former governor of the central bank, running for Top 09). In the national election back in May, it was newcomer TOP 09 that scored better than the Civic Democrats in Prague, which had long been their bastion.
The City of Prague has wasted no time reacting to a proposal made public this week that the famous Strahov Stadium, overlooking the city, could be demolished to pave the way for new development. The idea was floated by the Czech Sports Association, which owns ten percent of the stadium and underlying buildings and grounds. But the city, which owns the rest and was not consulted, says flat out it is not going to happen.
After four years when entrance was free, visitors now have to pay admission fees again at St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle. The castle’s operators say charging should make the magnificent cathedral more peaceful. But not everyone has to pay. If you come to pray – and you look the part – you can still enter for free.
Prague’s place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites will not be threatened despite questions hanging over the city’s handling of renovations to the historic Charles Bridge or over the construction and impact of the new Blanka tunnel, Czech Radio reported. UNESCO representatives visited the Czech capital back in January to look at projects underway and to meet with local officials. A report based on their findings, the spokesman for the Culture Ministry said, recommended that Prague adopt clear rules overseeing the construction of new high-rise buildings; inspectors in the report also expressed regret that proper documentation and studies weren’t conducted in advance of renovation of the landmark Charles Bridge. However, Czech Radio reported, there is no danger of Prague being struck off the list of World Heritage sites. The World Heritage Committee has been meeting in Brasilia since Sunday to review the status of current members as well as to present new additions.
The commercial real estate advisor CB Richard Ellis has revealed that rented commercial or retail space in the Czech capital is the 32nd highest in the world but still seven times cheaper, for example, than in Manhattan. Boutique stores at prime locations in the city pay an average of two thousand and forty euros per square metre per year (the equivalent of around 50,000 crowns or 2,600 US dollars). By comparison, the figure in New York is 13,744 euros. The most expensive streets to rent on in the Czech capital include Na Příkopě, Pařížská and the lower half of Wenceslas Square, CB Richard Ellis real estate expert Tomáš Beránek said. On the list of world rankings, New York, which finished top, is followed by Sydney and Hong Kong. London ranked fourth.
Around 1,000 people held a protest in Moravský Krumlov on Sunday over the moving of Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic to Prague. The series of 20 paintings has been housed in Moravský Krumlov castle for over 50 years and is the town’s main attraction. However its owner, the city of Prague, will on Monday begin moving it to the capital, where it will be displayed at the Veletržni Palác modern art gallery. Mucha’s heirs are also opposed to such a move, which they regard as merely temporary. The Art Nouveau pioneer gave the Slav Epic to Prague, on the condition that the authorities built a dedicated home for his late masterpiece, a condition that remains unfulfilled. Saturday was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alphonse Mucha in the Moravian town of Ivančice.
A Czech noble has weighed into ongoing talks about whether the Czech state should sell one of Prague’s Baroque architectural masterpieces to its current tenants: the German embassy. For the Germans, the building is more than a 17th century architectural jewel, it is also part of their recent history.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
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
An Experiment in Vivisection: Czechoslovakia’s Second Republic 1938-1939
The history of the “German Czechs”