It has been years in the making and the subject of protracted discussions, but this week one of the ministry of culture’s main flagship legislative proposals hit the buffers with a blunt rejection in the lower house of parliament. The ministry was aghast but some conservation groups welcomed the demise of the proposed new law aimed at protecting historic buildings.
As well as the historic monuments, visitors to Prague might be struck by the busy three and four lane highway in both directions that dissects the city centre and complicates access to many landmarks and cultural sites. The city has called in the studio of a world famous Danish architect to suggest how the so-called Magistrale can be tamed and transformed.
Developers Central Group plan to start building between 2,100 and 2,600 new apartments by the Žižkov freight railway station in Prague in 2019. The CZK 9 billion project will also include a large park and kindergarten, the company said at a presentation on Tuesday. The entire grounds will cover an area roughly three times the size of Wenceslas Square.
More than 1,500 houses of worship will open their doors to the public across the Czech Republic on Friday night for the annual Night of Open Churches. Visitors will be able to view church interiors that are normally off-limits and attend concerts, exhibitions and other programmes. This year, one of the highlights will be a candlelight pilgrimage across Prague’s Charles Bridge from the Church of St. Thomas in Malá strana to St. Salvador Church across the Vltava River.
It is arguably the most frequently photographed sight in the Czech capital: Prague Castle overlooking the city complete with St. Vitus’ Cathedral. In the mid-18 century, the castle complex had a markedly different look. Its present-day appearance is based on designs by the Viennese court architect Nicolo Pacassi. He was commissioned by Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa after parts of the castle were heavily damaged.
The city of Jerusalem is to get a new watchtower by the famous Czech architect Martin Rajniš, who has built several such towers around the Czech Republic. The watchtower, typically a light construction of wooden beams and timber, will be built as part of Jerusalem Design Week. It is set to be erected in the Western part of the city in early July.
The general director of the Czech National Museum has just signed an agreement committing the institution to helping Syria save, preserve and conserve much of its cultural and historical heritage damaged by six years of war. At the Prague signing, Michal Lukeš and his Syrian counterpart were on hand to describe the task they face.
The restoration of Kuks, one of the most beautiful baroque complexes in the Czech Republic, has won the European Grand Prix for heritage conservation. The prestigious award was presented by the Europa Nostra association in Finland’s Turku on Monday. The jury praised the interdisciplinary approach of the restoration work, saying it should serve as a strong example for conservation projects across Europe.
The renovation of a Baroque complex and gardens in Kuks, Eastern Bohemia has earned the main prize in the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. The director of the Czech National Heritage Institute, Naděžda Goryczková, picked up the prize in Turku, Finland. She said it represented an historic success for the Czech Republic as it was the first time a Czech project had received the honour.
The Ministry of Culture has decided not to declare Karlovy Vary’s Thermal Hotel as a cultural monument. The decision was announced by the spa city’s mayor, Petr Kulhanek. The decision means that the hotel, the focus for the annual film festival in the West Bohemian city, will not have to abide by stricter conditions during reconstruction due to take place later this year. The ministry’s move has been contested by the family of the architect Věra Machinová who was behind the so-called brutalist style construction in the 1970s. An appeal can be launched against the ministry decision.
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