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.
The Ministry of Culture has pronounced the former prison Cejl in Brno a cultural heritage monument, the city’s deputy mayor Matěj Hollan told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. The city, which owns the building together with a private owner, can appeal the verdict within the next 15 days. The city council plans to turn the run-down and long abandoned building, which dates from the 18th century, into a creative centre worth hundreds of millions crowns. The decision of the ministry would increase the costs of the reconstruction by millions of crowns.
The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Charles the Great in Prague is set to get new bells on Saturday. The bells have been dispatched to Prague on a boat from Roudnice nad Labem. They are set to arrive in the capital at around 4 p.m. The church has been without bells since World War II, when they were confiscated by the authorities. The bells, called Virgin Mary, Charles the Great and Albert the Great, were manufactured in Poland. Their production was financed by church collection and private donations.
A new exhibition in Prague is set to display previously unseen pictures of St. Vitus Cathedral by the great Czech photographer Josef Sudek. While Sudek’s photos of the cathedral taken in the 1920s during construction are well-known, the works on show date from the Nazi occupation of the city. The exhibition In the Shadows of the Cathedral runs from Wednesday until August 30.
The Capuchin order has received a setback in its claims to reclaim a monastery at Opočno, The Supreme Court has instructed the local court to deal again with the case about the building in Eastern Bohemia. The court also quashed an earlier ruling transferring ownership from the region to the state. That move opened the way for the religious order to claim back the property under the restitution agreement between churches and the state. The Hradec Králové region has described the latest decision as a breakthrough saying that it could pave the way for the region to remain the owner.
The national stud farm in Kladruby, Central Bohemia is a step closer to being included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Czech News Agency reported. The minister of agriculture, Marian Jurečka, and the minister of culture, Daniel Herman, on Thursday signed an agreement to set up a committee to coordinate the bid. The farm should file an application with UNESCO next year but winning a place on the list would take several more years. Founded in 1579, the Kladruby stud is known for its Kladruber horses, one of the oldest breeds in the world.
Work on repairing and transforming the famous First Republic Barrandov Terrace, a site on the outskirts of Prague to be seen among the cream of society in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, is due to start in June, the ČTK agency reported citing the Dotyk news server. The main Functionalist building dating from 1928 will be converted into a luxury hotel. The complex, formerly owned by the Havel family including former president Václav Havel, has been owned by Liberec construction company Dzikos since 2001. The main buildings and famous swimming pool has been falling into ruin since the 1950s.
One of Prague’s most popular tourist attractions, the Palace gardens on the southern slope of Prague castle, have to undergo a major renovation due to an alarming state of disrepair. The National Heritage Institute plans to launch the reconstruction of the Baroque gardens, which should amount to 45 million crowns, in 2017. It is expected to last for five years but the gardens should remain open to visitors throughout the reconstruction.
Most people who have visited Prague at least once will almost certainly be familiar with Charles Bridge, commissioned by the Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. As a structure, the bridge served a vital role connecting the city joining the historic quarters of Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter) and Prague’s Old and New Towns across the Vltava. Today, it remains one of city’s most important and most visited landmarks.
The New Jewish Cemetery in Prague’s district of Žižkov, best known as the burial site of the world-famous writer Franz Kafka, has just finished the renovation of nearly 500 of its tombstones and three valuable family vaults. The restoration works were funded from large part by the Norway Grants and amounted to over six million crowns.
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