Local officials are bringing in partial bans on drinking in public in the centre of Prague. Prague 1, which covers the very centre of the city, is to forbid the drinking of alcohol at several spots, such as Národní třída, Old Town Square and Kampa, with that edict coming into effect at the start of July. Meanwhile, Prague 2 has put forward a proposal to ban drinking at places such as Karlovo náměstí and Tylovo náměstí. The Czech Constitutional Court has previously overturned such edicts, but now the proposals seem likely to stick, as the Interior Ministry has given them its backing. They will not cover outdoor seating at pubs.
Forget the Blue Danube, it’s the greeny-brown Vltava which is the watery muse of artists and musicians in this part of the world. The Vltava is the Czech Republic’s longest river, stretching more than 400 km. It is also the main waterway through the Czech capital Prague, and has been most famous in recent years for bursting its banks in 2002. The floods caused billions of crowns’ worth of damage to the capital alone, and put the city’s metro out of action for several months.
Billed as the largest gastronomic event in the Czech Republic, a new 10-day Czech Beer Festival is up and running at the Holesovice fairgrounds in Prague right now. Since Saturday, visitors to the festival have been enjoying not only the large selection of Czech beers on offer in the numerous shady tents, but also food, live music and a carnival-esque atmosphere.
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” The opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s story Metamorphosis is one of the most famous in world literature. But the writer himself will always be something of an enigma. Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and spent nearly all his life in the city, dying at just 41 in a sanatorium near Vienna. A Kafka symposium was recently held in the Czech capital and one of the most interesting talks was given by the US-born Canadian academic, Anthony
Prague’s seventh annual Fringe Festival, a marathon of theatre, dance, comedy, music and film from around the world, gets underway in the Czech capital on Sunday. Running for eight days, it will offer 227 English, Czech or non-verbal shows performed by 39 companies. Steven Gove, the man behind the Prague Fringe Festival, told me what is on offer this year:
Almost 900,000 tourists visited Prague in the first three months of this year, said the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. Visitor numbers are up eight percent on those recorded in the same period last year. The number of overnight stays in the capital grew by 6.8 percent in the first quarter. The average duration of visitors’ stays was 2.7 days. The highest number of tourists came from Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia.
You wouldn’t think they’d need to from the hordes of tourists, but Prague city council is constantly on the lookout for new ways to get people to visit the Czech capital. One of the most effective, of course, is TV advertising. The latest tourist commercial commissioned by the city council, however, is causing a bit of a stir, with many critics dismissing it as being full of tired old clichés.
Hundreds of fans of horror and so-called zombie flicks took part in Prague’s first-ever “Zombiewalk” on Saturday. Those taking part put on make-up and costumes for a short parade from the Old Town to Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The event drew on similar parades in other parts of Europe as well as North America. The largest such event took place last year at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, where director George A. Romero shot one of the most famous zombie pictures, Dawn of the Dead.
The Turner Diaries, a novel considered to be a major source of inspiration to the U.S. neo-Nazi movement, has been published in Prague, making the Czech Republic the only other country, besides the United States, where the book was published legally. The 1978 novel, written by a former U.S. white supremacy activist, describes a violent overthrow of the American government. The Czech police have not taken any steps against the publisher of the Czech translation of the Turner Diaries.
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