“What’s a ‘chuchle’” was my first question, a reasonable question I think, when I first learned I would be going to see a ‘big’ one, many years ago. In the end it seems, the name of the premier Czech horse racing flat-track, Velká Chuchle, doesn’t have any literal meaning, but it is a synonym for a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Wenceslas Square in the Czech capital will hold car-free days again next year after holding a trial run last month on September 18. The event was held during the middle of European Mobility Week and car traffic on Prague’s most famous square was stopped for several hours. The mayor of Prague 1, Oldřich Lomecký, told journalists on Wednesday that officials at Prague’s 1’s town hall, business owners and others had registered the event as a success and that next year such days could be held once per month from April – October. Mr Lomecký said on Wednesday that in recent years Wenceslas Square lacked ‘purpose’, suggesting that events like the Christmas market helped revitalise the space. During the Christmas period stalls are set up at the bottom of the square, already set aside for pedestrians.
Cemeteries across the country will soon fill with flowers and burning candles when on All Saints Day people visit the graves of their loved ones. But in Prague, there is one burial ground where few visitors are expected. The Malá Strana cemetery was only in use for about a century, and it now stands out as a unique monument in the middle of the dynamically developing district of Smíchov. A group of local enthusiasts have now got together to save this unique part of the city’s heritage.
The construction of Prague’s controversial Blanka road tunnel will cost
at least 36 billion crowns, or more than 1.9 billion US dollars, Prague
Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda said on Tuesday. That is some 28 percent higher than
the originally estimated costs of 28 billion crowns. The tunnel complex,
which should channel through traffic away from the city centre, should be
completed in 2014.
The project of the Blanka tunnel has repeatedly come under criticism as overpriced, and also due to lack of transparency when handing out construction work. The tunnel has also collapsed on several occasions, creating large craters in the city’s Stromovka park.
Taxi services in Prague are amongst the worst in Europe according to the results of an annual poll carried out by the German ADAC auto club. Among 22 European metropolises Prague took 17th place in the survey, just after Madrid and one spot ahead of Vienna. The overall rating was worsened primarily by the rating of the drivers, who the survey said disregarded traffic lights, took needless detours and charged incorrectly. The best city on the list was Barcelona, Spain, while the worst was Ljubljana in Slovenia.
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
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery