Lovers of Czech applied arts and design will find a veritable treasure trove of interesting items, ranging from glass wares to clocks and metal works, in Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts. Located right across the street from the well-known Rudolfinum palace, the museum is housed in a stunning Neo-Renaissance building. It was one of the last in Prague to be designed in that style. The architect was Josef Schulz, who also was behind the Czech National Museum.
When Václav Havel came to Prague Castle, it meant a complete upheaval not only of the old system of governance, but also of the way things were run at the historical seat of the president itself. One of those who has been at Prague Castle since the very outset of that period is architect and art historian Zdeněk Lukeš, who worked closely with Václav Havel on revamping the castle and shared in the exuberance of the early administration. Speaking here with Christian Falvey, he recalled working with Mr Havel in the Civic Forum, the first post-Communist
Czech architect Karel Hubáček who is best known for designing the Jested TV and radio transmitter on Jested Mountain, has died at the age of 87. The transmitter’s innovative design -modelled in the shape of a rotating hyperboloid – won Hubáček the Perret Prize in August of 1969. The funeral is to take place in Liberec on December 2nd.
In today’s Spotlight we travel to the city of Ostrava, the capital of the Moravian-Silesian region and more precisely to the city’s industrial centre Vítkovice. Its unusual skyline does not feature skyscrapers and church towers but rather the tall and imposing structures of extinct blast furnaces. Instead of demolishing them, Ostrava has decided to preserve its unique industrial heritage and the whole complex is now being revitalized and turned into a multipurpose cultural facility.
Pre-fabricated apartment blocs known in the Czech Republic as paneláky (panel buildings) were once the Soviet ideal and countless thousands were built in Czechoslovakia from the 1950s until 1989. Now, for the first time, one such bloc of homes will be demolished strictly for aesthetic reasons. The Southeast Bohemian town of Havlíčkův Brod has confirmed that a low-rise smack in the town centre – considered an eyesore for years – will soon be a thing of the past.
In today’s Spotlight we don’t have to travel too far. Just a forty-five-minute tram ride uphill from the centre of Prague takes us to one of the largest parks in the city. Not long ago, its greenery was untended and the historic building in the middle of it was inhabited by a commune of squatters. But after a recent facelift, Ladronka, as the park is called, now offers something for everybody.
Proposed legislation to be debated in the lower house, could give the Czech government in the future the right to nationalise abandoned buildings – currently left to rot or boarded up. Changes in the current law would mean that abandoned castles but also squats could either be rebuilt or at least be better secured to prevent potential accidents. The law would reportedly apply to buildings abandoned by owners for 10 years or more, and owners would be allowed a final chance to assume responsibility before losing the property for good. idnes reports that sites that have been left to decay are numerous throughout the country, including former hotels or chateaux, sometimes in prominent areas. The threat of losing the property, it is thought, could push some owners to at last take steps to improve the situation.
I had never really been inside or had a proper look around, but I was sure the small church of St Martin in the Wall would have an interesting story, if for no other reason than its ancient appearance and peculiar name. Just off the central Národní třída is a classic Prague alleyway that’s tucked away from the shopping boulevard, neatly dividing the centuries from one another, and there you’ll find it. One of the oldest churches in the city, St Martin in the Wall is one of those relatively few landmarks whose story can transport you all the way
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’