Parts of Prague city centre suffered a power cut on Wednesday afternoon due to a substation failure. For about 45 minutes beginning at 5:15 PM, electricity supply to the area of Wenceslas Square and parts of Vinohrady was cut, bringing trams to a half-hour standstill. A spokesman for the city’s energy supplier, Pražská energetika, said the problem might have been caused by hot weather.
Prague’s leafy central suburb of Karlín may best be known outside of the Czech Republic for the devastating floods that laid ruin to it in 2002, but much of the world has been using the machines and products born of Karlín factories for more than a hundred years and aside from that it is also Prague’s oldest suburb – a point recalled by an exhibition being held this year at the City Museum in Prague that was created by historian Dr. Zdeněk Míka:
Politicians and union leaders are still arguing about the significance and the impact of Thursday’s transportation strike. But in Prague, where nearly all municipal transport came to a standstill, the strike had one unexpected effect – many more people than usual got on their bikes and rode to work. Pro-cycling activists now hope that this could be a defining moment, with Thursday’s necessity eventually becoming the city’s everyday virtue.
The Czech Republic’s oldest continually existing association, the Vltavan Club, has marked its 140th anniversary. Founded by timber rafters fishermen and other people who worked on the river in the Prague district of Podskalí, its original purpose was to assist its members in times of need. Since then, much water has gone under the bridge but on Saturday, the club once again took over the Vltava in the capital to mark its anniversary with a day-long celebration.
For decades, most Prague residents would automatically associate the tall Nusle Bridge, which connects a motorway with the city center, with the suicides that occurred there. Some 300 people are said to have jumped to their death from it. Now, a leading Czech artist has installed an unusual work right under the bridge, which towers over a park in the city’s Nusle neighborhood. The sculpture is meant as a reminder of those who lost their life there.
The planned demolition of an Art Nouveau building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square is drawing increasing opposition in the form of an on-line petition, while seeing hundreds take part in a protest meeting on Tuesday on the square itself. The building in question, 1601 Opletalova, is not itself a heritage site but is located within a protected area. The owners and developers want to tear the structure down (as well as gut the interiors of two adjacent buildings) to make room for a new commercial centre. Other than the petition, few obstacles stand in
The Club for Old Prague, an NGO for the preservation of the city’s historic monuments, has called a demonstration in protest of the planned demolition of a protected building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Opponents of the plan are to meet outside the building at 5pm on Tuesday. The decision to tear down the building on Wenceslas Square has met with a great deal of opposition, not least because the building is protected both by the City of Prague and UNESCO. Proponents of the demolition say that continuous remodelling of the building have left nothing of the original 19th century structure and that the building is not a cultural monument. The demolition is planned for this November and a nine-storey office and commercial building is to be constructed in its place.
Former president Václav Havel has written an open letter to Culture Minister Jiří Besser protesting the demolition of a protected building on Prague’s Wenceslaus Square. Mr Havel wrote that even greater than his regret at the destruction of the building is his fear of the monster that is to be built there. The decision to tear down the building at Václavské náměstí 47 has met with a great deal of opposition, not least because the building is protected both by the City of Prague and UNESCO. Proponents of the demolition say that continuous remodelling of the building have left nothing of the original 19th century structure and that the building is not a cultural monument. The demolition is planned for this November and a nine-storey office and commercial building is to be constructed in its place.
President Václav Klaus and first lady Livia have reopened the newly reconstructed Golden Lane, one of Prague’s top tourist attractions. The Prague Castle alley, with its picturesque row of Mannerist-style houses dating back to the late 15th century, has just undergone the most extensive reconstruction in its history. The lane had to be repaired mainly because of its outdated sewer system, which threatened the houses' foundations. The repair works were launched last May at a cost of 34 million crowns. Some of the houses will now serve as museum exhibits with their interiors reflecting their legendary uses as goldsmiths’ workshops or alchemists’ laboratories. The houses were in fact mostly inhabited by castle guards and servants.
In a lovely corner of Prague just south of the busy square Karlovo Náměstí is one of the city centre’s special secrets. The Charles University Botanical Gardens are not the biggest in the city but they have the distinction of a perfect location: crammed into a normal city block between the old town and the hill of Vyšehrad are the enormous greenhouses that with the surrounding eight acres host some 5,000 types of plants from all over the world and provide a peaceful oasis for Prague denizens.
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