The start of the summer holidays has a profound effect on life in the Czech capital. Students go backpacking in the Middle East, families head for a seaside vacation in Croatia and children get dumped at their grandparents’ in the village. Prague dwellers evacuate the city in droves in favour of their country houses and holiday huts.
Two parts of the 6-kilometre tunnel being dug near Prague Castle collapsed on Tuesday, burying a worker for six hours and leaving a gaping hole in a garden of the Ministry of Culture. And it wasn’t the first time; the Blanka Tunnel has collapsed on two other occasions in the course of its construction, and concerned citizens and officials are losing their patience.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the city of Prague is to be held responsible for an accident that happened six years ago, when a British citizen was seriously injured by a Christmas tree that toppled over on the city’s Old Town Square. The man, who spent several months recovering from the accident, will receive 560,000 Czech crowns in compensations. Previously, the city of Prague appealed a verdict from 2006 under which the injured man was to receive 2.5 million Czech crowns, on the grounds that the organizers of the Christmas market were responsible for all safety issues. The verdict of the Supreme Court cannot be appealed.
A Prague City councillor, Jiří Janeček of the Civic Democrats, has come forward with a controversial plan which – if implemented – would push long-term homeless people from the city centre. His aim, Czech TV reported on Tuesday, is for the city to build a camp somewhere on the periphery that would provide shelter as well as soup twice a day for those, he said, who “respected nothing” or presented a “hygiene or security risk”. Not surprisingly, the proposal has quickly drawn criticism from charities and NGOs.
Hundreds of Michael Jackson fans gathered on Prague’s Wenceslas and Old Town squares on Friday evening to commemorate the first anniversary of the pop idol’s death. They came with candles and flowers, many of them dressed in typical Michael Jackson style and sang and danced some of his famous hits. The highlight of the evening was a concert in his memory at Prague’s Hybernia theatre attended by some 900 people.
Prague's National Museum this week introduced a plan for a complete renovation of its main building, located at the top end of Wenceslas Square, which has long been in urgent need of reconstruction. The National Museum plans to re-open to the public in four years’ time with new exhibition grounds, a lookout from the dome on top of the building and much more.
Work on extending Prague’s green line or Metro line A was officially launched on Monday by the city’s Mayor Pavel Bém. The mayor deposited a symbolic figurine of St Barbora – the patron saint of architects – at the head of the new tunnel, which will join Prague’s Dejvice district with Motol in four years. The extension will stretch the subway system by six kilometres, creating four new stations: Červený vrh, Veleslavín, Petřiny and Motol. The cost of the project has been estimated at 19 billion crowns; eight of those are expected to come from European funds. City councillor Radovan Šteiner said on Monday that the project would be a major benefit, not least to those making use of Motol Hospital. The extension will probably not be the last for Metro A: five more stops have been projected for the future, leading to Prague’s international airport. City hall would like to see those completed by 2018.
The weather may not be ideal so far this summer for laying about in the sand, but one outdoor amusement centre isn’t letting that spoil their big occasion. Žluté lázně, or the “Yellow Spa”, turned 100 years old on Wednesday, and that is cause for a week of celebrations at Prague’s “beachfront” on the Vltava, come rain or come shine.
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