The Hussite flag was hoisted at Prague Castle on Friday June, 5th to mark the 600th anniversary of the burning at stake of the Czech reformer priest Jan Hus. The event was attended by President Miloš Zeman and the patriarch of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church Tomáš Butta. The flag will remain in place until July 6th, a public holiday commemorating the martyrdom of the reformer priest. Numerous other events are taking place around the country including exhibitions, music events, debates and lectures.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland is in Prague for talks with Czech top officials. During talks with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek Mr. Jagland praised the Czech Republic as a staunch defender of human rights in Europe, stressing that the protection of human rights and rule of law were essential for security in Europe. Mr. Jagland, who is also due to meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, is expected to bring up the question of equal access to education for the Romany minority, something the Council of Europe has repeatedly criticized Prague for.
Blanket vaccination of children in the Prague 6 district against hepatitis A has been recommended by health officials following a serious incident of water contamination. Children between 12 months old and 15 years will qualify for free vaccinations from Friday. Around 32,000 people, including around 4,000 children, are believed to be at risk after drinking contaminated tap water in the area at the end of May. The contamination occurred when sewage water is believed to have seeped into a pipe carrying water for public consumption. The Prague Waterworks Company is now facing thousands of demands for compensation.
The Prague Waterworks have received over 2,000 demands for compensation from people who were taken sick after drinking water contaminated by coliform bacteria in Prague 6, the company’s spokesman Tomáš Mrázek told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. The compensation will be paid out on the basis of a doctor’s certificate. The tap water in Prague’s district of Dejvice was contaminated by the sewage water from a nearby construction site, where a sewage pipe has been damaged by construction workers. Close to 500 people were treated for diarrhoea, vomiting and fevers after drinking it. People had to do without drinkable tap water since May 22 until May 28.
Prague will remain the ninth most visited city in Europe and the 19th on a world scale, according to a survey released by the credit card company MasterCard. The list of most visited world cities was topped by London, followed by Bangkok, and Paris. Prague is expected to host nearly 5.5 million visitors this year, compared to 5.2 million in 2014. The study estimates the foreign visitors will spend altogether some 82 billion crowns in Prague in 2015.
The statue of Jan Hus on Prague’s Old Town Square has been presented to city representatives and citizens following a renovation job carried out in connection with the 600th anniversary of the death of the religious reformer and the 100th anniversary of the creation of the monument. Speaking at Tuesday‘s event, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Hus had been a central figure in Czech history. Mr. Sobotka also signed a memorial document which was placed in a box by the statue’s cornerstone along with Tuesday’s newspapers and other items. A number of events are being held in the Czech Republic in connection with the anniversary of Hus’s burning at the stake in July 1415.
With the tourist season in full swing, Prague is swarming with visitors admiring its historical sights and monuments. But the city has more to offer than just its culture and history. The Academia publishing house recently released a rather unusual guidebook of the capital. Entitled Divoká příroda Prahy or the Wild Nature of Prague, it offers a completely different perspective on the city, as seen through the eyes of two passionate naturalists.
Born in Prague and living in the downtown area, photographer Eugen Kukla is highly knowledgeable about the history of his native city. Taking time out from preparing for an exhibition of his work that starts at Velryba café next week, he suggests we begin our tour of “his Prague” at the spot on Old Town Square where a Baroque Marian column stood for over 250 years. A member of an association pushing to have it rebuilt, Kukla explains how the monument was toppled in November 1918, shortly after the foundation of Czechoslovakia.
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