The Czech coronation jewels will be on display at the Prague Castle again after five years, for the occasion of the election of the new president. The jewels will be displayed at the Vladislav hall at Prague Castle between May 10 and 19. The entrance will be free of charge. Among the jewels is the St. Wenceslas crown that was made and first worn by Charles IV in 1347. The other objects, such as the royal sceptre, the orb and the coronation vestment come in the 14th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Prague’s skyline gave the capital one of its nicknames: the city of a hundred spires. But in actual fact around a thousand spires, belfries and towers of various styles and ages now grace the city centre. Some of them are popular tourist attractions offering great views of the city, others only recently revealed their mysteries. One served as an observation post for the secret police; another hosted a morbid display of a dozen severed heads.
The first public elementary school in the Czech Republic to introduce school uniforms has said, eight months on, the project has been a success. The principal of Zš Františky Plamínkové in Prague 7, Josef Koudela, expressed the conviction that the uniforms (worn by the first-years) had helped the children better identify with their school. A recent poll by SANEP suggests that 40 percent of Czech parents support the idea of school uniforms; some psychologists are opposed, however, questioning their usefulness. The Education Ministry has stayed on the sidelines on the issue, leaving the decision up to individual schools.
In this week’s Arts my guest is New York-based landscape architect Martin Barry who last year launched a new festival and conference in Prague called reSITE, focussing on urbanism and rethinking the public space. To this aim, he and organisers involved everyone from internationally recognised designers and urban planners, to students of arts and architecture, and last, but not least, politicians.
After months of preparations, the state prosecutor’s office has filed a lawsuit against former Central Bohemian governor and MP David Rath and ten other defendants, accusing them of corruption and abuse of office; if found guilty, Mr Rath faces up to 12 years in prison. Because of the considerable amount of evidence and documentation involved in the case, the court hearings will most likely only begin in the summer. The former governor remains in custody but could be allowed on bail by the Prague regional court.
A woman was admitted to a Prague hospital with methanol poisoning on Friday, a spokesman for the facility said, the second such case registered in the Czech Republic this week. Some 40 people have died in the country since the outbreak of the methanol crisis last September. The police have meanwhile charged another five people for selling bootleg liquor on the black market. The country’s chief hygiene officer has again warned against drinking alcohol from unknown sources.
Ten people had to be evacuated from their homes on Prague’s Národní Street on Wednesday morning after a fire broke out on the roof of their building, the historic Topičův Dum (Topič House). One person had to be treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire began at around 4:30 in the morning and was put out by 7 am. Topičův Dum, located across from the National Theatre, has a rich history and is regarded as an important example of Art Nouveau architecture.
Prague’s transit authority has announced that part of a tram route on Prague’s busy Milada Horáková Street in Prague 6 will be halted for a period of three months, due to renovation and construction work on both the route and the city’s Blanka Tunnel. Trams will be rerouted along several stops across from Prague Castle, beginning on March 31. The rerouting is relatively minor in comparison to a major section of the same road being closed off for several months in Prague 7 last year, which led to marked traffic delays on Letná plain.
The Prague City Council has approved a revitalization plan for the capital’s Old Town Square that includes the installation of a replica of a Marian column that stood on the square for over 250 years until it was torn down in 1918. Many consider the column a symbol of oppression, but its supporters, who have campaigned for its return for over 20 years, have found a strong ally in the current mayor.
When a smart card system was introduced in Prague in the mid 2000s to serve for public transport and other amenities, it may have seemed like one more step in the city’s transformation into a modern metropolis. However, more or less from the off the Opencard has been dogged by controversy and allegations of corruption. Now, in the latest, murky twist, almost the entire city council are facing criminal charges in connection with the system.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
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