The Prague Vitruvius is an extremely useful website for anybody interested in perhaps the Czech capital’s greatest asset: its unparalleled wealth of architecture. The blog is the work of Englishman Alex Went, who has created close to 300 entries taking in both tourist sights and largely unknown gems in the suburbs. When we spoke at the Vinohrady Pavilion – designed by one of his favourite Prague architects – I asked Went what had brought him to the city in the first place.
This Wednesday saw the launch of the new Prague USE.IT map, the fourth edition of a map which takes visitors off the beaten path. USE.IT, with a history dating back to the late 1960s, represents “no nonsense” tourism for young people interested in getting closer to the heart of the city and real life.
Around 4.89 million people are set to visit the Czech capital this year which makes it the ninth most attractive city in Europe, according to the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities for 2014. London, with an estimated 18.7 million visitors, tops the global index, followed by Bangkok, Paris and Singapore. Prague, which last year ranked 10th among Europe’s most popular destinations, is supposed to attract 400,000 more visitors than in 2013, and 1.1 million more than in the previous year. MasterCard CEO for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Miroslav Lukeš said that in total, tourists are expected to spend around 3.8 million dollars on each day of their stay in Prague.
The district of Prague 1 is not happy with a network of Tesco-owned Žabka convenience stores located in buildings owned by the municipality,, the district’s mayor, Oldřich Lomecký, told a news conference on Wednesday. Mr Lomecký said the local town hall was dissatisfied with the stores’ standards, the choice of available products and their quality; as a result, the authorities will cancel a rental contract with one of the stores, and would like to discuss the issue with Tesco management. If the situation does not improve by the end of the year, the municipality will consider renting the facilities to other firms, according to the mayor. Tesco acquired the nation-wide network of 135 Žabka convenience stores in 2011.
Prague will be the ninth most visited city in Europe this year and the 22nd in the world according to a survey released by the credit card company MasterCard. Prague is expected to host 4.9 million visitors, placing it behind London, Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome and Vienna but ahead of Berlin, Madrid, and Warsaw. The survey estimated that visitors will spend in Prague every day a total of around 3.8 million dollars. Five years ago, in 2009, Prague had 3.8 million visitors and in 2013 4.5 million, the credit card company said. London topped the list of most visited world and European cities.
President Miloš Zeman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš have stood up for Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová who is under fire for declaring her official residence to be the tax haven of Monaco. Finance Minister Babiš said in an interview for idnes.cz that since the Czech tennis star generally plays abroad her tournament wins would not be taxed in the Czech Republic anyway. President Zeman noted that Kvitová’s decision was a common practice among world class tennis stars and that the Czech Republic should be proud to have such an ambassador. He said he would be happy to receive her at Prague Castle. Left-wing politicians have slammed Kvitová for the decision and suggested she should no longer play for the Czech Republic.
Apolinář hospital in Prague has opened a special ward for minors suffering from alcohol, drug or gambling addictions. A survey among doctors revealed a growing need for such a facility with 5,000 potential underage patients in Prague and central Bohemia alone. Children sample their first alcoholic beverages at around 11 years and come into contact with drugs at around 13 years of age on average. 60 percent of Czech teenagers reportedly drink alcohol on a regular basis.
The Czech police have arrested three men suspected of cooperating with terrorists who are wanted by the US authorities. The two African and one Ukrainian national are in custody in Prague. The three reportedly attempted to sell drugs and weapons to the tune of 160 million crowns to two undercover US agents posing as Colombian terrorists. The suspects face charges of drug-trafficking, money laundering and illegal arms trafficking.
Prague’s much envied public tram, metro, and bus network is marking a special day this Tuesday with the 100th anniversary of the debut of punitive fines being imposed by ticket controllers. And for the special day, the force of around 150 controllers will be showing a different face to the travelling public with the hand out of small presents rather than the customary fairly stiff fines.
Among the small number of Czech directors in competition at the Karlovy Vary festival, which gets underway next weekend, will be documentarian Martin Dušek, with his latest work Into the Clouds We Gaze. The witty filmmaker, who comes from the North Bohemian town of Česká Lípa, suggests as the starting point for our tour of “his Prague” the place where he works. One of the city’s most distinctive Functionalist structures, it’s a large building by Vltavská metro station owned by developer Orco and currently home to rather rough and ready office
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives