Tomas Vachuda was four years old when his family went to America in 1968 on what was to have been a vacation. In August Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia and the family stayed. They didn't see their homeland again for over twenty years. Now Tomas is in his late thirties and is back in his hometown. He runs the Prague office of an international consultancy firm, coming and going between the United States and the Czech Republic. Here he recalls his return in 1990 and how his early childhood memories were confronted with the reality of post-Velvet
Rising like a futuristic space ship above the old working class quarter of Zizkov, is one of Prague's most interesting, if controversial, buildings - Zizkov TV tower. The TV tower is, at 216 metres, the tallest building in the city, and they say on a clear day it can be seen from a full 100 kilometres away. Often regarded as a relic of the communist era, Zizkov TV tower wasn't actually completed until ten years ago, in 1992.
One of Prague's most dominant historic buildings, the Jindrich Tower, on the edge of Senovazne Square in the city centre, will soon be reopened to the public. Most unusually, after extensive, and careful reconstruction, the historic structure, which dates back to the late 1500s, will house exclusive new shops, a restaurant and cafe, which will almost certainly be welcomed by both locals and tourists. The reopened tower will also make one of the best views of the old city available again. Jan Velinger
Almost two months ago the Prague district of Karlin was seen on TV screens around the world, when the worst floods to hit the Czech Republic in hundreds of years put the district two or three metres under water. No other district of Prague suffered as much during the floods, and local people are still having to get by without shops, restaurants or public transport. Two houses in Karlin collapsed and others had to be demolished due to the structural damage caused by the floods. Some unfortunate residents are still awaiting a decision on the fate
The European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement, Gunter Verheugen, gave the Czech government reasons to be satisfied on Thursday, when he said that to all intents and purposes the EU already considered the Czech Republic an EU member. The main reason for his brief visit to the country on Thursday was to look at the damage caused by the recent catastrophic floods, and to offer EU support. Radio Prague's David Vaughan joined Mr Verheugen as he visited one of the most devastated parts of old Prague.
Earlier this week, Prague Town Hall approved new conditions for filming in the capital, particularly in the old centre of the city. While until now, Prague seemed to be a cheap paradise for foreign film crews, in the near future it might become as expensive as Western European cities. Alena Skodova reports:
And now, moving on to something lighter, but still connected - albeit tenuously - to the elections. As you've just heard, Czechs went to the polls a week ago, in an election which saw the Communist Party clinch their biggest share of the vote since 1989. Just four hours after the polling stations closed, however, a bell in Prague's St Vitus cathedral fell silent - which the more superstitious people of this country saw as an omen of impending doom. Dita Asiedu has more:
Mala Strana's Kampa Island is one of the most popular places in Prague and is visited by millions of people every year. However, few of them can know as much about Kampa as our guide in this week's Spotlight, preservationist Martin Krise. Mr Krise shows us the ruins of the precursor to the Charles Bridge, the Judith Bridge, tells us where we can find a decently-priced beer, and discusses some of the issues which make Prague preservationists see red. And you may be surprised to learn who created Kampa park. That's all in Spotlight with Ian Willoughby.
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