If you’ve recently visited Prague’s Wenceslas Square you may have noticed that the dilapidated benches on the town’s main square have been undergoing a transformation. The driving force behind this change is an association whose goal it is to improve the appearance of the square and make it an oasis for pedestrians in the bustling city centre. I spoke to Jan Adámek, chairman of the Association for Wenceslas Square, about a project that has generated huge public support and in which firms and individuals have been invited to “adopt” a bench on the
Some 140 students of the Czech language from around the world have gathered in Prague for the Summer School of Slavonic Studies. The course, which is being held for the 59th time, is organised by the Institute of Czech Studies at the Arts Faculty of Charles University. Alongside language classes, it includes cultural events and day trips. This year the summer school sees visitors from Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe but not, for example, from Australia, the school’s director Jiří Hasil said. The youngest student this year is 17 years old, the oldest, 82.
TV journalist Nora Fridrichová presents the irreverent political programme 168 hodin (168 Hours), which famously unearthed the video of Václav Klaus pocketing a pen that became an international hit. From Pardubice in East Bohemia, Fridrichová came to the capital to study and today lives in the leafy Troja district. But our tour of “her Prague” begins in Karlín, which like several other districts near the city centre has become increasingly hip in recent years.
Even though I am not blessed with a Czech grandmother who can offer me some of the traditional dishes from Czech cuisine, I discovered the next best thing in the form of a classic Czech cafeteria in the centre of Old Town. Havelská Koruna is one of the most unique dining spaces I have found in Prague, with a counter that includes over 40 different Czech dishes each day, and a long line of customers eagerly waiting for a budget lunch in the centre of Old Town. Nowhere else have I been able to find such an extensive list of traditional Czech
A dispute has broken out in the Czech Catholic Church over the recent property settlement at Prague castle between President Miloš Zeman and Cardinal Dominik Duka. A memorandum concerning the return of two properties to the Catholic Church was signed on Thursday with a final deal due to be sealed by the end of the year. Duka’s predecessor in the top post of the Czech church, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, has slammed the initial agreement as illegal and in breach of democratic principles. In particular, he criticised the conditions attached to the return of the properties which include their repair and use for public purposes within five years. Cardinal Vlk said that the restitution agreement made no provision for such conditions to be laid down.
Czech President Miloš Zeman and Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka on Thursday signed a memorandum on the transfer of two buildings at Prague Castle to the Catholic Church. The Church has received the Saint George’s Convent and the Mocker Houses on condition that it will renovate them within five years and drop its claims to other buildings at Prague Castle. The move has been criticised by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who said the memorandum was anti-constitutional and unlawful and violated democratic principles. Under the 2012 church restitution law, the country’s churches will receive 75 billion crowns in assets confiscated by the communist regime and get 59 billion crowns worth of compensation money for the rest.
Prague city hall has refused permission for a demonstration to be held on Saturday in Wenceslas Square in solidary with immigrants. The demonstration was scheduled to take place at 4 PM in the afternoon in the lower section of the square. Three other demonstrations have already been approved on the square on Saturday afternoon, two by groups opposing immigrants and one in favour. An anti-immigrant demonstration on July 1, which attracted 700 people, created controversy as a result of the mock gallows displayed and inflammatory slogans.
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