Prague firefighters on Thursday removed a swarm of bees from Prague’s famous astronomical clock, the Orloj. The swarm had started nesting on the clock’s angel statue. Firefighters removed the insects with a special vacuuming device; bystanders and tourists took great interest in watching the procedure, which only lasted about ten minutes.
It’s one of the most Romantic places in the Czech capital. With its charming row of tiny houses built in the Mannerist style Prague’s Golden Lane attracts visitors from near and far. Painters strive to capture its old-world charm and tour-guides elaborate about the colourful personalities that once inhabited them – alchemists who tried to turn stone into gold or make youth elixirs, Franz Kafka who reportedly resided there for a time, or fortune-teller and astrologer Magdalena Prusova also known as Madame de Thebes who was killed by the Gestapo
Thousands of people on Saturday took the opportunity to inspect the historic premises of Prague Castle which are usually off-limits to the public. Thousands queued up since the early morning hours to see the castle’s interior, including the Spanish Hall, the Throne Room and the Mirror Hall. Visitors can see where the presidential elections take place, which rooms former presidents favoured and the dining room used to host banquets for visiting royals and heads of state. The Office of the President opens these premises to the public only on special occasions. The next opportunity to view them will be on October 28, a public holiday marking the birth of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.
In the jumble of alleyways that is Prague’s Old Town, if you look carefully, you’ll make out the form of the ancient fortress of Ungelt, built over with baroque and renaissance facades, but still standing after 1000 years. This is the customs house of Ungelt, where foreign merchants came to store their wares, and a reminder that Prague has always been a cosmopolitan, multinational city ever since its earliest days.
In today’s Spotlight Radio Prague visits an early Baroque palace known as Michnův palác in the historic quarter of Malá strana. Built in the 16th century, it first belonged to the Micha family before it became munitions factory in the mid-1700s. In the early 20th century, after the founding of Czechoslovakia, it was sold to the patriotic Sokol sport and gymnastics organisation, which renovated it and named it Tyršův dům (or Tyrs’ House) after its main founder.
Before the computer age, Prague city planners used a large 3D model of the capital to see what new buildings, roads and other features would look like in the given environment. But 10 years ago, the model was replaced by digital technologies; now it has been put to a new use. With new interactive features, the model has gone on display in one of the city’s shopping malls.
Deep beneath the city of Prague is another city altogether, one that most people are completely unaware of, and that they’ll hopefully never see. It is a system of hundreds upon hundreds of concrete bunkers with their own electricity, water and ventilation systems awaiting the day that you might hear the air-raid sirens wailing.
Prague’s Hlavní nádraží or Main Station was once a dank and depressing place, not somewhere you’d wish to linger a moment longer than necessary. Over the past few years, however, it’s undergone a 50-million-euro makeover at the hands of the Italian firm Grandi Stazioni. On Thursday the presidents of Italy and the Czech Republic snipped the ceremonial tape on the station’s new concourse.
Representatives of Prague 3 are holding a special meeting to discuss the fate of the large rail cargo station in the borough of Žižkov. The meeting is taking place at the behest of the opposition, which is opposed to the destruction of the station and is asking the district town hall to change its stance. The district government and Czech Railways are interested in refurbishing the area, building flats for thousands of people as well as office space and commercial centres. The plan to tear down the functionalist-style station has drawn the ire of several experts and civic associations who consider it a valuable work of architecture. The Ministry of Culture is to decide on whether the building will be protected.
Prague’s main Easter market opened on Saturday on Old Town Square with over 90 stalls selling traditional Easter decorations, local specialties and souvenirs. Over the next fortnight locals and tourists will be able to enjoy outdoor theatre performances, live music and workshops at which people can try their hand at various arts and crafts.
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