Glen Emery has been in Prague since the early 1990s and today owns the lively and cosmopolitan bar Bukowski’s in Žižkov. But the Canadian, a seasoned raconteur, started out in the city with Jo’s Bar, just off the main square in Malá Strana, or the Lesser Quarter. In this edition of My Prague, Emery takes us on a short tour of the historic area, which lies below Prague Castle on the left bank of the River Vltava.
The mayor of the town Hostivice near Prague has filed criminal charges against an unknown perpetrator at the Prague regional court who disclosed personal details of the defendants in the case against the former Central Bohemia governor David Rath. The mayor of the town where Mr Rath has permanent residency claims that the regional court violated the privacy law by releasing to the public information about all of the 11 people accused in the ongoing case.
Prague’s fairgrounds are hosting a festival of healthy living called Festival Evolution from Friday to Sunday. This is an umbrella event for four related exhibits focused on organic food, sustainable energy use, personal development and alternative lifestyles. The event is open to the public and offers hundreds of stands, workshops and lectures.
The police closed down part of the busy Národní street in the center of Prague on Friday morning, because of a suspicious black suitcase, which was discovered during a regular patrol of the area. While explosives experts were retrieving the object, a part of the street was cordoned off and police were re-routing traffic. The police bomb disposal unit transported the suitcase to a safe location for investigation, after which the street was reopened.
A Prague municipal court ruled for the plaintiff on Thursday in the first of thousands of ongoing court cases against banks and lending institutions. Michal Novák will receive 4,200 crowns from Hypoteční banka as compensation for being charged a maintenance fee for his loan account. Around 130 thousand clients have filed similar charges against major financial institutions from which they had taken out loans or mortgages and this decision may serve as a precedent for upcoming trials.
The 23rd annual Prague Writers’ Festival began in the Czech capital on Wednesday. The event kicked off with a reading by Czech author Vladimír Körner. The biggest name at this year’s festival is the Noble Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk; other guests include Mary Heimann, writer of the divisive Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed, Egypt’s Sonallah Ibrahim, Miguel Sousa Tavares of Portugal, and other authors. The Prague authorities have significantly reduced their financial support for the festival which will only last for three days instead of the usual week.
Czech Culture Minister Alena Hanáková on Wednesday dismissed the director of the National Gallery, Vladimír Rösel. In a statement, the minister said Mr Rösel had failed to understand the gallery’s role and to guarantee its development. Vladimír Rösel, who became the gallery’s director in 2011, said he did not agree with the decision but that he respected it. The new director will be chosen by a group of experts; in the meantime, the gallery will be run by the head of its Old Masters collection, Vít Vlnas.
The police have arrested three men over last month’s attempted robbery of a cash transport van in Prague. The men, aged 32, 48 and 62, attempted to rob the vehicle in front of an IKEA store on the outskirts of the city on March 25. The robbers failed to get inside the van and take the cash and fired a sub-machine gun at the van as it drove off. One of the suspects is reportedly a repeat offender and faces up to 20 years in jail; the other two could land 12-year-sentences.
The rumbling railroad track that used to pass through Žižkov in Prague was completely natural to the gritty-but-chic image of the 19th century proletariat quarter. The main western entrance to Žižkov was arched by three foreboding railway bridges, and the noisy, spray-painted cars passed alongside Vítkov hill to the cargo station. Four years ago the trains were still rattling the plaster off that lower end of the neighbourhood, just as they had been since the late Industrial Revolution, and then the route was cancelled for a higher-capacity
The Prague 1 town hall has announced that it is ready to start the re-vitalisation of the Kampa island park, which will begin with the renovation of the so-called gas house from the 17th century. The renovation should last approximately three months, after which the town hall plans to make the house available for public use. Afterwards it plans to work on the baroque wall surrounding the building of the Sova mills, which now houses a museum of modern art.
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