As any visitor to the city will know, tourism is an absolutely huge industry in the Czech capital Prague. Millions of people from all around the world visit the city every year - almost three and a half million in 2004, according to figures just released by Czech Tourism. Prague was the sixth most visited city in Europe last year, with the greatest number of tourists coming from the United Kingdom.
When we heard that the pope was dead, my housemate Olena and I wanted to go to church and light a candle. In we ventured from the suburbs to find ourselves some suitable holy location. Olena knew of a cloister in central Prague, but when we got there, only the adjoining 'cloister restaurant' was open. We forewent the appeal of a refreshing ice tea and trekked onwards.
Prague's reputation as one of Europe's most beautiful cities has been growing over the last decade or so ever since the city opened up to the world after the fall of communism. Every year more and more tourists are coming to the Czech Republic to sample the wonders of the "city of a hundred spires" But there are those who claim building developments in the city aimed at catering for the growing numbers of tourists are destroying the city's character. Some people are so concerned about the situation that they held a public debate attended by the
A Prague tram which was derailed on Wednesday killing two people was going at 32 km an hour, over twice the speed limit of 15 km an hour, an inspector said on Friday. Several people were injured in the accident, which occurred on the city's Karlovo namesti. The daily Pravo reported on Friday that one of the injured was robbed of money and a mobile phone before she was taken to hospital.
Two people were killed and three injured on Wednesday morning when a Prague streetcar derailed and collided with waiting pedestrians. Tram no. 22 derailed as it made a right turn at Prague's busy Charles Square, its rear wagon hitting those on foot. A 59-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman did not survive the accident. Two people are in hospital with serious injuries. The police are investigating the cause of the accident.
For most of my life I lived in the northern Prague district of Bohnice. For many Czechs that place name has a metaphorical meaning of "madhouse". That is because between 1906 and 1911 when Bohnice was still a tiny village north of Prague, a large mental hospital was built there, with small houses scattered around a large English-style park, centred around an Art Nouveau church - all up to the standard of the time.
Those of you who have visited the Czech capital will have noticed that many of the beautiful facades of Prague's historic buildings are marred by ugly graffiti. This problem is faced by many cities around the world and has been approached in different ways. A few years ago one of Prague's districts decided to do away with graffiti and its scheme has brought visible results.
Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the period in which Christians prepare for Easter. Here in the Czech Republic many people are observing "masopust", which literally translates as "meat fast". But it isn't only about abstinence - it's also a chance to celebrate. To get a feel for the spirit of masopust, Rosie Johnston has been out and about in the Prague district of Zizkov.
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