The fourth edition of the Open House festival gets underway in Prague on
Saturday, allowing people to visit buildings and spaces which are otherwise
inaccessible to the public.
A record 65 buildings, from historical sights to state-of-the art office buildings, will be open to the public over the weekend, including the former restaurant of the Brussels exhibition EXPO 58 or the original Zátka’s soda plant.
On the occasion of this year’s 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, the festival will also offer twenty buildings built between the World Wars, Tyrš House, the home of the Sokol movement.
Fifteen buildings were just recently added to the list of Czech Cultural Monuments, including an early 20th century power station in Poděbrady and Prague’s famous Lucerna Palace. The list also includes buildings from earlier periods, such as the Invalidovna complex, which featured prominently in Miloš Forman’s Amadeus.
Another 15 sites have been added to the list of Czech Cultural Monuments, including Prague’s famous Lucerna Palace and the massive baroque Invalidovna complex in the city’s Karlín district. The sites on the list are approved by the government as “monuments constituting the most important part of the cultural wealth of the nation” and are thereby under special protection.
An auction of Prague’s historic Invalidovna complex with a starting price of more 637 million crowns has attracted no bidders. The site was built from 1731 to 1737 to care for war veterans. The tender on the sale was announced in June and drew protest from university academics who warned that the sale and redevelopment of the site could damage its historic value. Invalidovna was used in a number of key scenes in Miloš Forman’s 1984 masterpiece Amadeus.
One of Prague’s most impressive architectural secrets, the massive baroque Invalidovna complex in the city’s Karlín district, is up for sale. Used as a backdrop to many films, the former home for war veterans constructed in the 18th century had found no takers from various state institutions and is now set to go under the hammer in spite of protests from well known architects and the local council.
Academics from universities in Prague, Olomouc, and Brno have signed an open letter to prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka calling for him to intervene and cancel the planned auction of the historic Invalidovna complex in the capital. The auction of the Baroque building is set to take place on August 8 with a state property body setting a minimum price of 637.7 million crowns. The academics warn that previous experience in Prague of protected historic buildings being sold and redeveloped has not been encouraging. The building was constructed from 1731 to 1737 to care for war veterans.
This weekend, people in Prague will have a unique chance to visit some thirty buildings across the city, from historical sights to state-of-the art office buildings, which are otherwise inaccessible to the public. The event, called Open House, was originally founded in 1992 in London and over the years, more than thirty cities across the world have joined in. I talked with Open House’s Bohdana Rambousková and I first asked her about the history of the festival:
In Business News this week: The Czech economy is in recession for the fifth quarter in a row; every other Czech household has no system for organising its monthly budget; government bond sales exceed expectations; a new transformer facility should help protect the Czech power grid against Germany’s green electricity; the organizers of the Davis Cup final say they will make 10 million on the event; and the Czech football association plans to buy the world’s largest stadium.
The City of Prague has wasted no time reacting to a proposal made public this week that the famous Strahov Stadium, overlooking the city, could be demolished to pave the way for new development. The idea was floated by the Czech Sports Association, which owns ten percent of the stadium and underlying buildings and grounds. But the city, which owns the rest and was not consulted, says flat out it is not going to happen.