It’s hard to imagine a Wenceslas Square without sausage stands, selling hot dogs, greasy Czech klobasas, and beer. It had seemed such fast-food stalls would be removed, as part of a major project to regenerate Prague’s best known thoroughfare. But in the face of public opposition, the city’s authorities have now backed down.
A monument to the US President Woodrow Wilson will be re-erected in Prague, a City Hall official said on Thursday after a meeting with a representative of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. Five sites have been chosen where the memorial might be positioned. The original monument was built in 1928 in front of Prague’s main train station which also bore Mr Wilson’s name, but was destroyed by the Nazis after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938. Woodrow Wilson, who was the US president during the First World War, defended Central European nations’ right to self-determination which was instrumental in the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
Contrary to previous reports, some stands selling sausages and other food are to remain on Prague’s Wenceslas Square, a representative of the Prague 1 authority said on Wednesday. However, there will be a reduction in the number of fast food stands on the square and the selling of alcohol will be banned. It is not necessary to have two fernets and three vodkas with your klobasa, councillor Rudolf Blažek told reporters. Suggestions last year that all the food stands on Wenceslas Square would be removed met with a negative reaction.
For years, people living in the close vicinity of the “magistrála”, the main artery cutting through the Prague city centre, have been fighting with City Hall to reduce excessive rates of noise and air pollution. This month, a Prague Court issued a breakthrough ruling, ordering the city council to reduce the levels within a year. Alžbeta Rejchertová is the chairwoman of the civic association which filed the complaint. I met her right in front of her house to find out what it is like to live right next to the artery.
Hrabal’s book "I served the King of England" makes working in a restaurant sound very dramatic, and very glamorous. But the novel also suggests that such drama and glamour belong to a time now long gone. To find out whether this was true, I visited two of Prague’s most famous restaurants, to talk to their owners about their work from day-to-day.
Prague City Hall is to establish a new police unit to tackle the problem of homelessness in the capital. On Tuesday, deputy mayor Jiří Janeček made the announcement, adding that the police unit’s goal would be to make Prague’s homeless either leave the capital or ‘reintegrate into society’. He said that Prague City Hall would find employment for each homeless person ‘displaying an interest in work’. But the plan has been criticised by some social workers, who say that it fails to tackle the problem, which, they say, has deeper roots than unemployment. According to last year’s census, there are around 2000 homeless people in Prague. Around half of them sleep rough, while another half are accommodated in shelters run by charities.
The government has signed the legal documents required for Prague’s 2016 Olympic bid, it was announced on Wednesday. The signed documents state that the government respects the Olympic charter, and that it would grant free entry and movement to the games’ accredited participants. They will be enclosed in the application which will be taken to the Olympic Committee’s Headquarters in Lausanne on Sunday. Czechs are divided over whether Prague should attempt to host an Olympic games or not. Many think that an Olympics would attract money to the Czech capital at the expense of the regions. They fear that in signing such legally-binding documents, the government has also bound itself financially to the scheme.
In Sports News: confusion surrounds “victory” for Lukáš Bauer in two Tour de Ski races, with the Czech cross country skier ordered to return prize money after it emerges that while he may have crossed the line first he was not the winner; Germany’s coach brands a skiing sprint event at Prague Castle a “joke”; the downhill World Cup is coming to Špindlerův Mlýn but a bizarre accident could rule Šárka Záhrobská out; ski-jumper Roman Koudelka comes fourth in Four Hills event in Germany; and young Czech football star Martin Fenin joins Eintracht
Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Prague to celebrate New Year’s Eve. An estimated 10,000 attended a four-hour concert on Prague’s Wenceslas Square, broadcast live on TV Nova; others watched a musical show on nearby Old Town Square. The authorities reported on Tuesday morning that most of the streets in the city centre had been cleaned following the night’s celebrations.
Every year, thousands of tourists come to Prague in order to visit the city’s Christmas markets. The numerous markets offer visitors a chance to shop for traditional Czech crafts, while sipping on a cup or two of mulled wine or mead. But do they live up to their promise? Earlier today, I interrupted a couple of British tourists on Old Town Square to ask them precisely that. Here they are introducing themselves:
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