The Signal Festival, now in its 6th year, kicks off in Prague on Thursday night. The three day light festival offers visitors over two dozen artistic light installations and video-mappings on three routes in Prague, at indoor and outdoor locations. I asked Jose Pinto, head of Signal’s operations and marketing, to tell me about this year’s highlights.
Prague’s leaders have selected the winner of an architectural competition
for a new bridge across the Vltava. The structure is set to connect Dvorce
on the east bank of the river in Prague 4 and Lihovar, which is south of
Smíchov train station on the west bank. The winning design was submitted
by the Tubes and Atelier 6 studios.
The future Dvorecký Bridge will cost around CZK 1 billon, officials say. However, no date has been set for the launch of construction. The architects say they were inspired by Cubism and that the structure should blend in with the banks of the Vltava.
An audio-visual exhibition documenting the years of totalitarian rule in
Czechoslovakia has opened on Prague’s Letná, at the site of the one-time
monument to the Soviet dictator Stalin.
The exhibition titled Memory of the Nation, offers eye-witness accounts of the Nazi and Communist periods and video-mappings that will take people back to selected crisis periods in the country’s history, creating the impression that they are on a train heading for a concentration camp or in the cockpit of a Spitfire plane in the Battle of Britain.
The exhibition grounds are surrounded by a five-metre tall wall, symbolizing the communist oppression and the division of Europe.
The Prague astronomical clock, commonly known as the ‘Orloj’, will reopen in the last week of September after 9 months of reconstruction. The repairs were the first complete dismantling of the clock since the end of the Second World War and the process even revealed some hidden secrets now visible to the public.
Along with the birth of independent Czechoslovakia, there was a movement to create a distinct national style of architecture. The Legiobanka building on Prague’s Na Poříčí high street, designed by Josef Gočár, became the prototype and determined the direction of so-called Rondocubism. It literally took the edge off of Cubism, softening and rounding its cubes and pyramids in the spirit of the Slavic tradition.
Starting in October, the area around Prague‘s metronome will house a large exhibition detailing the key moments in Czech totalitarian history. The project, which was instigated by a joint effort of the Prague City Hall and a grouping of historical institutes, seeks to finally unlock the previously closed network of spaces underneath what used to be Stalin’s giant statue. Yet questions remain about how the spaces are to be used in the long term.
Prague is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. However, though visitor numbers are rising, the occupancy rate of the city’s hotels in July fell by over four percent. According to the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, shared accommodation platforms, such as Airbnb, are mainly to blame.
The biggest public event marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia was a concert that filled Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening. The culmination of the free show came with Marta Kubišová’s rendition of A Prayer for Marta, a song that came to symbolise the 1968 invasion.
The National Museum on Prague’s Wenceslas Square has for years been a symbol of the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia, with its façade riddled with bullet holes from invading soldiers attacking the building. But there have been suggestions a recent renovation of the façade, set to be unveiled next week, has made the marks barely visible.
The most popular tourist destination in Prague last year was traditionally
Prague Castle with 2.3 million visitors, a 13 percent increase
The Petrín funicular with 2 million visitors came second and Prague Zoo was the third most popular tourist destination, according to data made available by Czech Tourism.
The city hall on Old Town Square saw a drop in the number of visitors, most likely due to renovation work on Prague’s famous Astronomical Clock.
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