Prague’s Old Town Square is a location so full of historical sights that one almost doesn’t know where to look first. But at the moment, one of the landmarks, a monumental sculptural group on the north side of the square, is hidden from sight. The bronze memorial to the Czech church reformer Jan Hus is under scaffolding and covered by a tarpaulin because it is undergoing much needed renovation. The sculpture, unveiled in 1915, is the best-known work by the Czech sculptor Ladislav Saloun.
The Bush administration’s plans to build a radar base in the Czech Republic as part of the U.S. missile defence shield have stirred passions both at home and abroad. One of those who feel strongly about the idea is the Californian artist Kevin Kihn, who contacted Radio Prague with a rather unusual proposal. Instead of a radar facility, he suggested, why not build a Peace Dome in its place? We spoke to Kevin at his home in the town of Alameda, in the San Francisco Bay.
Prague’s National Theatre is one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. Located by the River Vltava at the end of Narodni trida, the 19th century Neo-Renaissance building, with its distinctive gilded cupola, is also one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. But today it is landmark in need of a facelift. Some work has already begun on the roof, while the main reconstruction work on its facades will get underway in around a year and a half’s time.
Letna Plain is one of the last open spaces in central Prague. Overlooking the Vltava River and located only some 1500 metres from Prague Castle, it was a strategic location in mediaeval times for troops laying siege to the seat of Bohemian monarchs. Historians assume that this was the reason why Letna remained an open space; it was only connected with Mala Strana and the Castle in 1831, and first buildings were erected at the end of the 19th century. Letna has always been a venue for protests, demonstrations, and popular gatherings. The Communists
The ongoing controversy over a planned new National Library building in Prague has come to something of a head; the conflicting sides have agreed that an expert team should determine whether the futuristic building should be built on the location that was originally chosen, and if so, whether the design should be modified to fit the historic environment. Within some two or three months, the 'Team National Library' consisting of architects, preservationists and lawyers, is expected to come up with a final proposal for the location of 'the
Citizens of Prague, and probably of the entire Czech Republic as well, are enjoying a rare moment of what pioneers of civil society came to call the public debate. In spite of the fact that in its recent history the country has had to consider some crucial decisions - joining NATO, becoming part of the EU, sending troops to Iraq, and more recently the possible positioning of American anti-missile radar base and Czech candidacy to host the Olympic Games - none of these truly serious topics seemed to have captured the public imagination as much as
A group of architects, artists and academics have launched a petition expressing support for a design for a new National Library building by the Czech-born London-based architect Jan Kaplicky. Mr Kaplicky's ultra-modern green and violet design, nicknamed the Blob, has divided opinion. It was due to be built at Prague's Letna Plain, but that plan appears to set to be scuppered by Prague city councillors, who can block the sale of the Letna site.
What started as a revolutionary architectural design has now become a full-blown political dispute...or should that be farce? Jan Kaplicky's design for a new National Library building a few hundred metres from Prague Castle was controversial from the beginning, but the issue no longer has people divided so much as at each other's throats.
One of the most controversial construction projects in the modern history of the Czech Republic has evidently come undone. The National Library had planned to build a large green-and-violet building, nicknamed the Blob, on Letna Plain, not far from Prague Castle. But city politicians are reportedly ready to scupper that idea, and it now seems that plans will have to be toned down - or the project moved out of the centre of the city completely.
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