The historic National Museum building at the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square will close its doors on Thursday for five years of major renovations – the first in the site’s 120-year-long history. When it reopens in June 2016, the museum should offer visitors a whole new experience. On Thursday, hundreds of people used the valuable opportunity to visit the museum for one last time.
The National Museum will be closing its doors on July 7 due to a renovation, which will double the exhibition space and connect the building at the top of Wenceslas Square to the former seat of the Federal Parliament across the street via a subterranean tunnel. The renovation is expected to last four years and cost around 4.5 billion Czech crowns. This is the first time that the museum, which was founded by Kaspar Maria von Sternberg in 1818, will be completely renovated.
The 3rd annual Oslavy Prahy, or “Celebrations of Prague”, festival is underway in the Czech capital. The programme offers music and theatrical performances at various locations in Prague city centre, as well as events showcasing history, art and science. This year’s festival also marks the 800th anniversary of the Birth of St Agnes of Bohemia. Old Town Square and Petřín Hill are hosting large rock concerts. Guided tours of works of art in the National Gallery are available for free and manby of the city’s churches and famous landmarks are also open to the public free of charge or for reduced rates.
Parts of Prague city centre suffered a power cut on Wednesday afternoon due to a substation failure. For about 45 minutes beginning at 5:15 PM, electricity supply to the area of Wenceslas Square and parts of Vinohrady was cut, bringing trams to a half-hour standstill. A spokesman for the city’s energy supplier, Pražská energetika, said the problem might have been caused by hot weather.
Prague’s leafy central suburb of Karlín may best be known outside of the Czech Republic for the devastating floods that laid ruin to it in 2002, but much of the world has been using the machines and products born of Karlín factories for more than a hundred years and aside from that it is also Prague’s oldest suburb – a point recalled by an exhibition being held this year at the City Museum in Prague that was created by historian Dr. Zdeněk Míka:
Politicians and union leaders are still arguing about the significance and the impact of Thursday’s transportation strike. But in Prague, where nearly all municipal transport came to a standstill, the strike had one unexpected effect – many more people than usual got on their bikes and rode to work. Pro-cycling activists now hope that this could be a defining moment, with Thursday’s necessity eventually becoming the city’s everyday virtue.
The Czech Republic’s oldest continually existing association, the Vltavan Club, has marked its 140th anniversary. Founded by timber rafters fishermen and other people who worked on the river in the Prague district of Podskalí, its original purpose was to assist its members in times of need. Since then, much water has gone under the bridge but on Saturday, the club once again took over the Vltava in the capital to mark its anniversary with a day-long celebration.
For decades, most Prague residents would automatically associate the tall Nusle Bridge, which connects a motorway with the city center, with the suicides that occurred there. Some 300 people are said to have jumped to their death from it. Now, a leading Czech artist has installed an unusual work right under the bridge, which towers over a park in the city’s Nusle neighborhood. The sculpture is meant as a reminder of those who lost their life there.
The planned demolition of an Art Nouveau building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square is drawing increasing opposition in the form of an on-line petition, while seeing hundreds take part in a protest meeting on Tuesday on the square itself. The building in question, 1601 Opletalova, is not itself a heritage site but is located within a protected area. The owners and developers want to tear the structure down (as well as gut the interiors of two adjacent buildings) to make room for a new commercial centre. Other than the petition, few obstacles stand in
The Club for Old Prague, an NGO for the preservation of the city’s historic monuments, has called a demonstration in protest of the planned demolition of a protected building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Opponents of the plan are to meet outside the building at 5pm on Tuesday. The decision to tear down the building on Wenceslas Square has met with a great deal of opposition, not least because the building is protected both by the City of Prague and UNESCO. Proponents of the demolition say that continuous remodelling of the building have left nothing of the original 19th century structure and that the building is not a cultural monument. The demolition is planned for this November and a nine-storey office and commercial building is to be constructed in its place.
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