Police in Prague last year recorded the second lowest rate of homicide since 1990. The metropolis saw 29 cases of murder in 2011, of which 26 were solved. Only the previous year, 2010, saw fewer homicides, when 22 cases were investigated. The total number of punishable offences however rose in 2011 by roughly 10%. The majority of cases, 57%, were committed by repeat offenders, while first-time offenders were responsible for only 5% of solved crimes. Police also recorded a rise in wilful property damage while other property crimes, such as car theft, were down. Crime in Prague accounted for nearly a fourth of criminality in the Czech Republic.
The Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II left a deep mark in Czech history. Various legends and myths surround the 16th century ruler who made Prague his imperial seat and whose diverse interests made the city a centre of Renaissance arts and sciences. One monument from his time is hidden beneath the surface of the earth – a water tunnel carved deep into the rock of one of Prague’s hills.
Air quality, the unemployment rate and the cost of public transportation – many factors influence the perceived quality of life in urban spaces. A fresh survey suggests that there is much left to improve when it comes to the quality of life in the Czech capital, with the most-cited nuisances of Prague residents being garbage and graffiti. By contrast, public transportation is viewed as adequate and fairly priced by most.
Lovers of Czech applied arts and design will find a veritable treasure trove of interesting items, ranging from glass wares to clocks and metal works, in Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts. Located right across the street from the well-known Rudolfinum palace, the museum is housed in a stunning Neo-Renaissance building. It was one of the last in Prague to be designed in that style. The architect was Josef Schulz, who also was behind the Czech National Museum.
Police have again suspended a part of the Opencard investigation regarding public orders for legal and consulting services. The investigation was already suspended in the first half of last year, but was ordered reopened by the Supreme State Prosecutor. Detectives again reached the conclusion that no crime was committed in this instance; other aspects of the case are still under investigation. Prague’s Opencard serves as a transit pass and is also used for other services such as the borrowing of library books. Critics charge that the project – which cost more than 800 million crowns – was drastically overpriced.
A record number of 5.2 million people visited Prague in 2011, according to an analysis by the consultancy firm Mag Consulting released on Monday. Most visitors to the Czech capital – around 4.5 million – came from abroad. The number of visitors to Prague broke the previous record from 2010 when some 4.7 million people visited Prague, according to figures by the Czech Statistical Office. The Mag Consulting firm also registered a record number of 13.2 million hotel stays in Prague last year.
The Prague street cleaning service has announced it will remove all candles from Prague’s Wenceslas Square in the early hours of Saturday ahead of New Year’s celebrations. People have been lighting candles and laying flowers spontaneously at the foot of the statue of St Wenceslas in the square since the death of former president Václav Havel on December 18th. The city authorities say they are afraid the site of mourning might be damaged during the upcoming celebrations.
The Lucerna Palace, long considered a beacon of Czech national pride has been celebrating its centenary this year without too much of the fanfare usually reserved for such occasions. Situated off Wenceslas Square in the very heart of Prague, and established by civil engineer, designer and builder Václav M. Havel in 1907, it was the first multi-purpose arcade of its kind ever to be built in this country.
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