A number of hugely important historical moments have been remembered in the Czech Republic this year: the communist takeover of 1948, the Soviet-led invasion of 1968, and the signing of the Munich agreement in 1938. But there is also one anniversary that Czechs can mark with pleasure – the foundation of Czechoslovakia 90 years ago, on October 28th 1918. Among the institutions marking that day is Prague Castle, which has organised several events.
If you stumble across a little brass plaque on a walk in Prague’s Old Town next week, then the chances are it is going to be a ‘kámen zmizelého’ (‘stone of the vanished’). The project, organized by the Czech Union of Jewish Students, will eventually see stones commemorating victims of the Holocaust embedded in pavements all over the capital. The idea comes from Germany, as does the man making the memorials, Gunter Demnig. But the project coordinator at the Czech end is Petr Mandl. I met him on Wednesday morning to ask first about the name of the
Could trams be reintroduced to Prague’s Wenceslas Square? The capital’s public transport authority would like to bring them back, after an absence of nearly 30 years. They say the extension would take the strain off other parts of the city’s transport network. But not everyone is for the idea. Prague City Hall stands adamantly opposed, saying trams are at odds with its plans to redesign the space as a pedestrian zone.
The Malostranská Beseda or “Meeting Place” a former local town hall had the last of its former copper domes reinstated on Sunday. The domes were removed in 1828, and heated discussions have taken place in recent times as to whether the building should be restored to its original 17th century form. Protracted reconstruction of the building has been underway since 2007, with the cost of returning the domes estimated at 26 million crowns. The project is set to be completed in the middle of next year. After that time, local authorities have plans to make the building into the cultural centre of the Malostranská area in the centre of Prague.
In a tent at the bottom of Wenceslas Square, a month-long project is has just got underway looking at the square both past and future. Prague’s main thoroughfare is set to be developed and changed in the coming years, with planners hoping to do away with the rather shabby image it has developed. The exhibition opened with a display of photographs by the renowned Czech photojournalist Vilém Kropp.
It might come as a surprise that there are any natural springs in Prague at all, but in fact there were over a hundred of them at last count. But those figures may soon be consigned to history as in Prague, as well as the rest of the country, these once important sources of drinking water disappear through neglect. The prospect depresses environmentalists, some of whom have set up a new internet project to save the springs. On a cold September morning, I visited one of Prague’s greenest outcrops to see some of the springs in danger and find out
“I’m standing outside “Tančicí Dům” or “Dancing House” which is on the waterfront of the Vltava river pretty much in the centre of Prague. This is quite an unusual building for the centre of Prague because it is a modern building – it was designed by the Californian architect Frank O. Gehry. The spot on which it is built was bombed during WWII by Allied troops by mistake – they thought they were bombing Dresden. The location then remained an empty spot until after the Velvet Revolution. The building is actually located right next to the former flat
Images of the Czech Radio building on Vinohradská Street have been on display all over Prague in recent weeks, in memory of the key role that the building played during the Soviet-led invasion in 1968. But for nearly the last year, the historic site itself has been covered in scaffolding, as the building undergoes a complete refit inside and out. It will take nearly another year to restore the building to its former glory, but to check out how the work is getting on, I donned a hard hat and took a tour:
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