Prague’s Smetana Embankment in the centre of the city closes for cars on Saturday, in the final installment of a pro-pedestrian campaign. Passers-by have a chance to see films as well as art and design exhibits in the area between 8 AM and 10 PM. The campaign, entitled Embankment lives, started in mid-September; organizers say they want people to experience one of Prague’s busiest areas without cars, and ultimately turn a section of the embankment into a permanent pedestrian zone.
An American writer and journalist specialised in travel and food and drink (in particular beer), Evan Rail has been living in the Czech capital since the year 2000. For the last half decade, he’s called the city’s Petrské náměstí home; in this edition of My Prague, Rail shows me around his neighbourhood, which despite being only five minutes’ walk from Náměstí Republiky is still somewhat off the beaten path.
Prague City Hall will demand an apology from the National Geographic Channel over a report which officials say harmed the city’s reputation. The TV channel ran a story about Prague last November as part of its Scam City series. It showed the Czech capital as a haven of crime, drugs and prostitution. However, the Czech police probed some of the allegations shown in the report, and found the documentary was fake and manipulated. Prague councillor Lukáš Manhart told the news website idnes.cz on Friday the City Hall would ask the TV channel to provide an explanation and an apology in the form of a new report. He said the city would consider taking legal measures if the station refuses to deal with the issue.
The annual multi-discipline and multi-venue contemporary art festival called 4+4 Days in Motion begins in Prague this Friday. Now in its 18th year, the festival looks at some of the controversial and problematic topics surrounding the modern city, through dance and theater performances, an exhibition, public lectures and discussions. In today’s Arts, we speak to the festival’s producer, Markéta Černá, who talked about why they chose a vacant palace, situated on Wenceslas Square, as the main venue.
A chemical analysis of wastewater in ten regions has detected traces of different drugs that are used in different areas of the country. Plzen showed higher levels of heroin, Prague higher levels of cocaine, Brno the party drug ecstasy and Usti nad Labem and Ostrava crystal methamphetamine. The head of the research team Lubor Hruska said he was surprised by the clear-cut distinctions. It is the first study of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Prague City Hall has approved plans to build a new metro line in the capital which should serve the city’s southern districts. The cost of the projected new D line is estimated at 25 billion crowns or more. If Prague secures EU funding for the project, construction could start in 2017 and the line would open five years later.
Prague councillors have approved a plan to build a new “D” line on the city’s metro system. The first part of the line, from Pankrác station to a depot in Písnice, will be 10 kilometres in length. The project will cost just under CZK 25 billion, which City Hall hopes to obtain from EU funds. It is unlikely to be completed before 2022. Construction work is currently underway to extend the A line from Dejvická station to Motol; the new stretch should open next year.
The police organized crime unit inspected the Real Estate Division of the Prague 11 town hall. Although the police spokesperson confirmed that they have secured a number of documents, he was unable to give more details about the purpose of the inspection or the nature of the documents. The town hall also gave no further details, and even the opposition council members have told the press that they do not know what the police may be investigating. The opposition has criticized the town hall administration a number of times in the past for financial mismanagement.
The National Theater in Prague has announced that it will present a special international project called 1914 on 30 April of next year to mark 100 years since the beginning of World War One. The play will be directed by the American director Robert Wilson and the script was inspired above all by Jaroslav Hašek’s novel The Good Soldier Švejk and the satirical play The Last Days of Mankind by the Bohemian born writer Karl Kraus. The creative team of the project also includes theater professionals from Slovakia and Hungary. The first round of rehearsals, which began in mid-September, will conclude this week, while the second round will take place next spring.
A Czech Airlines plane flying from Budapest to Prague returned to Ferenc Liszt Airport shortly after takeoff on Wednesday morning. The pilot decided to turn the ATR-72 aircraft around after smoke was noticed onboard. The Hungarian media reported that a long smoke trail was seen behind the airplane as well. According to a Czech Airlines spokesman, one of the plane’s engines had caught fire. All 33 passengers and four crew members disembarked from the plane safely and without any injuries.
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