I had never really been inside or had a proper look around, but I was sure the small church of St Martin in the Wall would have an interesting story, if for no other reason than its ancient appearance and peculiar name. Just off the central Národní třída is a classic Prague alleyway that’s tucked away from the shopping boulevard, neatly dividing the centuries from one another, and there you’ll find it. One of the oldest churches in the city, St Martin in the Wall is one of those relatively few landmarks whose story can transport you all the way
The drawn-out debate over the construction of a futuristic building colloquially known as “the Blob” originally meant to house the Czech National Library in Prague has taken a new turn. Designed by the late Czech-born London-based architect Jan Kaplický, the huge green and purple structure divided public opinion when it won an international competition in 2007 and the project was finally scuppered. Now, more than four years after the original plan was put forward, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has unexpectedly renewed the debate.
Prague’s mayor Bohuslav Sobotka has praised the outcome of a flood response training exercise conducted in the Czech capital on Saturday. He said the exercise had met the highest expectations and indicated a high level of preparedness even in the event of a serious flood. Within the exercise firemen and emergency crews erected a flood barrier along a three kilometre stretch of the Vltava river in one and a half hours flat. The deadline was four hours. The head of the team said good weather conditions and the fact that the city is half empty on weekends helped the effort. The flood barrier is to be dismantled by midnight and all traffic restrictions lifted.
Anti-Romany demonstrators from the north of the country are preparing to take their grievances to Prague in a renewed call for action. Protesters from Varnsdorf and other towns in the region are to gather on Prague’s Palacky square on Saturday to draw attention to their problems: a deteriorating security situation and rising crime for which they blame the Romany minority. The inhabitants of Varnsdorf have repeatedly called on the town council to resign for failing to deal with the crisis. The Roma minority from the area is planning its own demonstration in Prague against discrimination and social exclusion.
For the occasion of September 28, I’m here at a place that some people actually call the real centre of the Czech Republic. Not the geographic centre to be sure, but certainly the focal point for much of the Czech Republic’s rocky modern-day history. It’s a statue of a man on a horse (which people call ‘the horse’ when they arrange one of the hundreds of meetings that take place here each day). But it’s of course the man on the horse that has overseen everything over the last hundred years from the declaration of Czechoslovak independence to the
Police discovered a dummy bomb on an international train at Prague’s Main Station on Sunday night. A passenger travelling from Belgrade reported a woman’s purse that had been left in the lavatory, containing what looked to be a wired explosive device. A bomb squad was called in and found the device was a fake. A woman later phoned in to say she had forgotten the purse on the train. She is currently being questioned by the police to determine why she had been carrying the device.
If you’re not looking for it then you’ll probably overlook the rather nondescript building of the Ministry of Industry, near the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square. If, however, you are one of the few who read Prague’s street-side memorial signs, you get the full impact of what the dirty grey, rough-hewn building called Petschek’s Palace means to modern Czech history: “In the time of the Nazi occupation,” it reads, “this building housed the torture chambers of the Gestapo. Fighters for the freedom of our country fought, suffered and died here. We
A tram driver was killed in a collision of two trams on Prague’s Plzenská street early on Monday. No one else was injured in the accident. The collision occurred shortly after six am when the second tram drawing into a station failed to brake properly and ploughed into a stationary vehicle. The driver failed to leave the cabin in time and was trapped in the wreckage. He succumbed to his injuries on the spot. The five passengers riding on the tram were uninjured. The tram route was closed for the entire morning. The damage is being estimated at 10 million crowns.
A statue honoring the late American president Woodrow Wilson was re-installed at Prague’s main train station on Thursday. The original monument, built in 1928, was torn down by the Nazis in 1941. Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, as well as the mayor of Prague 1, Oldřich Lomecký, attended the re-installation of the statue and placed a bronze tube containing historic documents inside the body of the statue. The project, which was initiated by the American Friends of the Czech Republic, took several years to complete. The official unveiling of the statue is scheduled to take place October 5, with President Václav Klaus and foreign guests such as Madeleine Albright set to attend.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in the Czech Republic for talks regarding the organisation’s transformation and role in global security. The top NATO official will also be discussing military operations in Afghanistan, missile defence and relations with Russia with Prime Minister Petr Nečas, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra. The talks are further expected to cover the participation the Czech Republic in allied operations and missions, the alliance summit in 2012 as well as possible developments in Libya. Regarding the latter, Mr Rasmussen said Wednesday that he has no information regarding the whereabouts of Muammar Gaddafi, and added that he was not a target of NATO’s operations.
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