Prague has obviously changed enormously over the last 30 years. But what have been the city’s most, and least, impressive construction projects since the Velvet Revolution? After the Dancing House, why did interest in audacious projects seem to cool? And how has Wenceslas Square fared? Who better to answer those questions than architect Jan Kasl, who is president of the Czech Chamber of Architects and served as mayor of Prague from 1998 to 2002. We chatted recently on Na příkopě St., in the very heart of the city centre.
As the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution draws near, we take you to places that are closely associated with the events that led to the collapse of the Communist regime 30 years ago. In the third episode of our mini-series, we visit Wenceslas Square and Letná plain, the scene of spontaneous demonstrations, which followed the brutal police crackdown on an unarmed student demonstration on November 17, 1989.
A controversial promoter who in recent years has staged short-term
exhibitions of “real naked women” in the Slovak and Czech capitals has
announced plans for a long-term instalment on Prague’s Wenceslas Square.
Mário Petreje told state news agency ČTK that his Voayer Gallery would open on 5 April at the House of Fashion and feature both sexes on a rotational basis.
He said the adults-only exhibition is a celebration of freedom and the beauty of the human body and also intended to introduce the wider public to less common sexual practices, including sadomasochism.
After an absence of nearly 40 years, trams are set to again run up and down Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The city council have just approved a plan for a tram connection between existing tracks on Vinohradská Street and those crossing the lower half of the city’s main boulevard. If everything goes according to plan, trams could return to Wenceslas Square as soon as 2022.
The Prague authorities have taken the first step to reintroducing tram
lines running down Wenceslas Square. At a meeting on Tuesday, the recently
elected council instructed the transport authority to begin preparations
for a connection between existing tracks on Vinohradská St. and those
crossing the lower half of the city’s main thoroughfare.
Deputy mayor for transport Adam Scheinherr says the lines could be in place within four years. Trams went from the National Museum down Wenceslas Square until the 1980s.
Another line running from Vinohradská St. past Prague’s Main Train Station is also planned for a later date, officials say.
A modern building ends the last row of houses at the bottom of Wenceslas Square. This is the ‘Euro Palace’ which neighbours two important functionalist buildings – the Astra Palace and the Bata department store. Originally a historical three story corner house stood on the spot, but it was demolished in the 1970s during the construction of the Prague metro.
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 City of Prague Museum has published the results of two unique archaeological digs carried out in the centre of the city. Among the discoveries are everyday objects from Wenceslas Square dating to back to Medieval Times which shed light on everyday life. They also include a rare statuette of a Madonna.
The City of Prague has received the necessary construction permit for the long planned renovation of Wenceslas Square to begin. At least half. The spokesman for City Hall, Vít Hofman, confirmed that work on the lower part of Prague’s most famous square, will start next week and should be completed by the end of 2018.