Standing in the centre of the Clementinum – if you can locate such a thing in the labyrinth – you are surrounded by around a millennium of history and millions of volumes of books inside one of the most beautifully preserved masterpieces of Baroque art the city of Prague has to offer. This is the seat of the Czech National Library and the whispering and rustling that echoes through its grand halls add perfectly to its natural mysteriousness.
An arbitration court is to open the case of the Blanka tunnel complex on January10, Prague’s deputy mayor Jiri Nouza told the ctk news agency on Friday. The tunnel was to have been finished and opened to traffic this year but in December the construction firm Metrostav halted further work over unpaid fees. Meanwhile Prague City Hall said it could not transfer the money after having found that the contracts signed with Metrostav may be legally invalid. The arbitration court is to rule on the validity of the contracts.
Prague is gearing up for end-of-year celebrations, with thousands of people expected to join the annual mega-party on Wenceslas Square. Also, with 180,000 tourists about to descend on the Czech capital hotels and restaurants are stocking up on champagne and preparing gourmet menus for the big night.
A record number of people – 285 – took part in the 67th Alfréd Nikodém Memorial event, an annual swim in the Vltava River on Thursday. The Polar bear dip, which takes place near the National Theatre building in the centre of Prague, has a long tradition; It was established in 1923 by Prague hardy-man Alfréd Nikodém who propagated winter swimming as part of a healthy lifestyle. The annual event is attended by members of the local Polar Bears club and enthusiasts from neighbouring states. This year the temperature of the water was 4 degrees Celsius which many consider to be mild.
Paramedics in Prague treated around 50 people for life-threatening conditions over the three-day Christmas holiday. Four people, including two children younger than two years of age, had to be treated for throat obstruction due to fish bones. One woman had to undergo surgery for a head injury after falling while ice skating. Overall, emergency services responded to 885 calls during the three days, which approximately the same as the number of visits made during a single weekday.
In a Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman reflected on how he had fulfilled his election promises to voters. In a short address broadcast live by Czech public radio and television, Mr. Zeman highlighted five areas in which he had promised action, including improving relations with the EU and stabilizing the situation at the Constitutional Court. The president pointed out that the EU flag was now flying at Prague Castle and the Constitutional Court, which had come close to paralysis for lack of judges, was now complete and functioning. Mr. Zeman said that the most problematic of his promises was that to unite Czech society rather than dividing it, but argued that in preventing the return of a centre-government to office and opening the way for early general elections he had addressed that matter as well. In parting the president wished Czechs health and happiness in the coming year and thanked the outgoing Rusnok government for its work.
A broken water hydrant caused a five-meter geyser to burst on Jungmannové square in the center of Prague on Monday. According to the water company Veolia, the breech of the hydrant was caused by carp sellers, who were using it to fill the containers with live fish. The water was quickly turned off and no serious damage was caused to the surroundings. In the advent weeks, carp, which is a traditional Christmas food in the Czech Republic, is sold live on the streets of Czech towns and cities from barrels full of water.
The board of works at city hall in Prague 6 announced on Monday it had given the go-ahead for the demolition of the communist-era Hotel Praha, considered a landmark by some historians. The decision can be appealed, otherwise, demolition of the building will begin in January, the hotel’s owners PPF revealed. The demolition of the building is to make way for a park for pupils of an elite school, both elementary and high school levels, run by the company. Hotel Praha was built at the end of the 1970s and was used by members of Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party and members of the government.
Karel Och, who hails from a small town in the Vysočina region, is artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. For most of the year, Och and his colleagues are based in a building on Panská St. in downtown Prague, directly behind the Holy Cross Church on the bustling Na příkopě. Our tour of “his Prague” begins in his cosy office, which at present overlooks a construction site on Panská.
Nine buildings at Prague Castle sought by the Roman Catholic Church under a highly-publicised restitution deal with the Czech state will remain in state hands. According to Czech TV, the property sought within the extensive Castle complex, overlooking the Vltava River, will not be returned for reasons of security.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events