This Saturday, the National Museum in Prague will open its newest building to the public, the former Prague bourse, former building of the Federal Parliament, and until only recently, the headquarters for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Located across from the neo-Renaissance National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square, the neighboring glass-and-steel building will house new exhibits starting this autumn.
After months of criticism, Prague City Hall has admitted mistakes were made in the reconstruction of Charles Bridge, one of the capital’s most significant landmarks. City Hall has fined itself some 54,000 crowns (just under 3,000 USD) for the shortcomings – a fine which has been branded by some as ‘meaningless’ and ‘ridiculous’.
Matthew Stillman is the boss of the Czech Republic’s biggest production company for foreign films, Stillking Films. It has produced some of the blockbusters that have tapped into Czech skills and locations over the last 15 years. At his main office in the heart of Prague’s Barrandov Studios, I asked Mr Stillman how he came to the Czech capital in the first place.
A 15th century statue of Jesus Christ, considered to be the most valuable woodcutting in the Czech Republic, has been found after 20 years, during which time it was thought to be definitively lost. The statue was found in an organ loft, upside down between some chairs, in the Old Royal Palace. After getting its first restoration in almost 40 years and being remounted to its cross, the statue will be returned to its original home in the Basilica of St George, above the tomb of Prince Boleslav II.
Anything can get misplaced, even masterpieces of art, and caretakers at Prague Castle were well relieved this week when they rediscovered the 15th century wooden Statue of the Crucified Christ, 20 years after losing track of where it was stored. As it turns out, the statue they feared was lost forever was just a short way down the road from its proper home in the Basilica of Saint George. Earlier I spoke with Magda Machková, the curator of permanent collections at Prague Castle, who told me the story.
Archaeologists will monitor preparations for the construction of a new commercial building near Prague’s Národní třída metro station as of Monday. As of August 3rd or 10th, they will begin conducting research in the area for the next five months. The last time archaeologists were able to investigate the site was in the 1970s, when the metro station was originally built. That study was limited; it is unclear what they may find this time. Specialists say they could uncover buried gothic cellars and possibly more.
Prague is home to some of the most exquisite medieval architecture – and not to mention some of the finest beer – in Europe. But the number of foreign visitors was down some 20% in the first three months of this year, bad news for a city so dependent on tourism. The Prague Tourist Board has now taken the unprecedented step of “outsourcing” the running of seven of the city’s most famous towers to a private company, a move that not everyone is happy with.
Prague City Hall’s legal battle against taxi drivers spilled over into the streets of the capital on Thursday, as taxi drivers clashed with police over a lucrative taxi-stand on Old Town Square. Two taxi drivers were arrested on the spot, two were taken to hospital and several of them may be charged with attacking a civil servant.
It had been home to Prague’s last remaining squat; now it’s lying empty, its future uncertain. The fate of the Milada villa – and of the small anarchist collective who’d been living in it - has dominated headlines in the Czech media over the last few days since the last squatters were removed from the building. But an improvised plan to relocate the squatters has also ruffled feathers.
Prague slipped down the rankings of most expensive town for expatriates this year by more than 40 places. In a study conducted by consultancy firm Mercer in 2008, Prague was judged the 29th most expensive town for expats to live in on the planet. This year, Prague ranked 70th on the list. For the study, the cost of accommodation and over 200 different items were noted in 143 cities around the globe. Top of this year’s poll was Tokyo, while the second most expensive place to settle was Osaka. Moscow and Geneva came third and fourth respectively.
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