Since becoming director of the Czech National Gallery three years ago this month, Jiří Fajt has secured exhibitions by major international artists and helped make its numerous buildings in the capital more accessible to the public. Our tour of “his Prague” begins at the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia on the edge of the Old Town. It houses the National Gallery’s impressive medieval collection and was headed by the Prague-born Fajt himself in the late 1990s.
David Dorůžka is one of the Czech Republic’s best jazz musicians. The guitarist studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and later spent time in New York and Paris. A few months ago he released his latest album, Autumn Tales. Our tour of “David Dorůžka’s Prague” begins at the Branické skály, a rocky outcrop overlooking the Vltava close to where the 37-year-old was raised in a musical household: his grandfather was the jazz expert and writer Lubomír Dorůžka, while his father Petr is a well-known music journalist.
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.
Tomáš Baldýnský is a well-known TV writer and producer whose most recent work was the hit comedy Kosmo. He has also worked over the years as a newspaper columnist and film critic, among various other activities. Our tour of “Tomáš Baldýnský’s Prague” begins in the city’s Letná district at Club 777, a dingy open-all hours bar with slot machines in the back.
For listeners around the world, Rob Cameron has, as the BBC’s correspondent in the city, been the voice of Prague for many years. The London-born journalist, who moved here in 1993, is a former colleague of ours at Radio Prague. He is also my own oldest friend in the Czech Republic. Our tour of “Rob Cameron’s Prague” starts in the city’s Nusle district, just across the street from the Na Fidlovačce theatre by the Botič river.
After over a quarter of a century in the city, curator Richard Drury is a well-known face in Prague’s art world. The Englishman – who studied Czech at Cambridge – works at the Gallery of Central Bohemia and is also the head of the Fine Arts Section of Umělecká beseda, a cultural association with a history stretching back to the days of the Czech National Revival. Our tour of “Richard Drury’s Prague” begins by Bílá Hora in Prague 6 at the Hvězda game reserve, which gets its name from the star-shaped summer palace at its heart.
Ondřej Hrab is the founder and director of Archa Theatre, Prague’s leading contemporary arts venue. Since Hrab took the space over in 1991, Archa (Ark in English) has played host to many of the world’s top names in cutting-edge theatre and dance, as well as musicians of the calibre of Patti Smith, Randy Newman and Philip Glass. And given his deep, quarter-century association with the venue, it’s a natural starting point for our tour of “Ondřej Hrab’s Prague”.
Journalist Jana Ciglerová has held several positions at the top Czech dailies Mladá fronta DNES and Lidové noviny, and now writes for the former’s weekly supplement Magazín DNES. Our tour of “her Prague” soon turns into a very enjoyable trip down memory lane, starting at Velryba (The Whale) on Opatovická St. The café has been one of the best spots of its kind in the city for nearly two and a half decades.
As one half of the award-winning duo Republic of Two and with his solo project Piano, Mikoláš Růžička is a well-known figure on the Prague music scene. A native of Bechyně in South Bohemia, the musician also has a day job teaching at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts. Our tour of “Mikoláš Růžička’s Prague” begins on Jiřího z Poděbrad square in front of Jože Plečnik’s modernist Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord.