Average prices demanded for new flats in the capital Prague have risen by 21.2 percent in February compared with the situation a year earlier, according to a survey by the consultancy Deloitte. The average price per square meter has climbed to 88,500 crowns amid a severe shortage of new built flats. The offer of new flats has fallen by 40 percent over the last two years. Prices for new flats are estimated to have climbed by around a third since 2014.
Demolition work started on a historic building on the corner of Wenceslas Square and Opletalová street at the weekend despite protests from conservationists and members of the public. UK property developer Flow East plans to replace it with a modern glass building. The demolition order was preceded by years of controversy over the building’s fate. Conservationists argued that the structurally sound building completed in 1880 and revamped in the 1920s had valuable architectural elements and should be preserved. Flow East countered that the changes made in 1920 had robbed it of its historic value. Although the building does not have historic site status the Culture Ministry and Prague City Hall made several attempts to prevent its demolition.
Prague’s famous 15th century astronomical clock, known as Orloj, is one of the oldest and most elaborate clocks ever built and one of the city’s best-known landmarks. Its main attraction is the procession of twelve wood-carved saints – St. Paul and eleven apostles - who come out on the hour. This spectacle is watched and recorded by approximately 700,000 tourists every year. However a major reconstruction of the tower and clock, which is just getting underway, will mean that tourists will have to forego this particular attraction for more than half
The District Court for Prague 1 has ruled that the famous Slav Epic cycle of paintings by Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha belongs to the City of Prague, rejecting a claim by the painter’s grandson John Mucha. His legal representation had argued that the City of Prague had broken the terms of a 1928 agreement under which the artist donated the paintings. The terms had called for the city to find a permanent site for their exhibition. The city argued the cycle of paintings had no longer been owned by the painter but by American businessman Charles Crane. Friday’s ruling can be appealed.
Reconstruction of the historical Old Town Hall in the centre of Prague gets underway on Thursday. The Old Town Clock Tower, which attracts over 700,000 visitors a year, will be closed to the public as of the start of May. The reconstruction of the historical Astronomical Clock, one of Prague’s major tourist attractions, will follow in 2018. The clock will be out of order for several months. In the meantime, a projection of the clock will be offered on the covered scaffolding. The renovation works are expected to cost some 46 million crowns.
A court case has been renewed over the actions of the Ztohoven stunt art group which hoisted a large pair of red underpants over Prague Castle in place of the presidential standard in late 2015. The prosecutor called on Wednesday for a conditional sentence for members of the group. She also outlined a claim for 88,000 crowns in damages for the standard, which was later ripped into pieces, and for damage to the castle roof as well as non-material damages of 300,000 crowns. That compensation demand has been disputed by the defence. The artists, who gained access to the roof disguised as chimney cleaners, say the whole action was an expression of free speech underlining their disagreement with the stance of President Miloš Zeman. The court eventually delivered conditional sentences on the three members of the group and demanded they pay 8400 crowns for the standard and 55,000 for damage to the castle roof.
Prague’s Parkhotel is to be considered for protected status after a group of experts from the Czech Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture filed a petition with the Ministry of Culture. The 1960s structure, one of the city’s leading hotels when it opened, is located in the Holešovice district near the Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The ministry can take several months to decide whether to make a site a cultural historical landmark.
Zdeněk Lukeš is one of the country’s best known architects. During the 1990s he was part of Václav Havel’s team revitalising Prague Castle and he still works in its monuments department, while as an author and journalist he has done a great deal to popularise architecture in the Czech Republic. Our tour of “Zdeněk Lukeš’s Prague” is in fact a tour of his Letná, the leafy area he has always called home. We begin with a coffee at Café Alchymista, specifically in the lovely garden in the back.
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