The Czech Republic is celebrating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, whom Czechs perceive as the “father of the Czech nation” and the greatest Czech that ever lived. The anniversary is being marked by a wide range of events including exhibitions, conferences, themed tours and street parties which will peak on the anniversary proper, Saturday May 14. I asked Kateřina Pavlitova of Prague City Tourism about the highlights of the celebration.
The City of Prague is having trouble reaching agreements with property owners in buying up land needed for a planned 10.6 kilometres stretch needed for the construction of a new metro line, line “D”, according to Lidové noviny. The daily reported that of some 800 plots needed, the city had so far had reached deals to buy in only around 15 cases. The deputy mayor overseeing transport has suggested that if agreements can be reached, the properties could be expropriated.
Work on repairing and transforming the famous First Republic Barrandov Terrace, a site on the outskirts of Prague to be seen among the cream of society in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, is due to start in June, the ČTK agency reported citing the Dotyk news server. The main Functionalist building dating from 1928 will be converted into a luxury hotel. The complex, formerly owned by the Havel family including former president Václav Havel, has been owned by Liberec construction company Dzikos since 2001. The main buildings and famous swimming pool has been falling into ruin since the 1950s.
One of Prague’s most popular tourist attractions, the Palace gardens on the southern slope of Prague castle, have to undergo a major renovation due to an alarming state of disrepair. The National Heritage Institute plans to launch the reconstruction of the Baroque gardens, which should amount to 45 million crowns, in 2017. It is expected to last for five years but the gardens should remain open to visitors throughout the reconstruction.
The 10th annual Literature Night is being marked in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The event, which is organised by the Czech Centres network, will see readings from European literature by well-known film and stage actors at 21 places in Prague’s Karlín district and at 49 other locations around the country, starting at 18:00. A host of other European cities, including London, Madrid and Budapest, are also taking part.
Charles University is to drop the words “in Prague” from its name in Czech from September, Lidovky.cz reported on Wednesday. The move reflects the fact that the oldest university in the region now has faculties outside the capital, the news website said. Some historians have questioned the change, which comes in the year when the 700th anniversary of the birth of founder Charles IV is being celebrated.
Prague City Hall is planning to ban Segways in certain parts of Prague, councillor for transport Petr Dolínek told the CTK news agency on Wednesday. The two-wheeled vehicles should be banned on pavements, cycle paths and residential areas in the city centre and selected districts. Details of the plan are still being finalized. The councillor said the move had been prompted by a growing number of collisions between Segway drivers and pedestrians.
The National Heritage Institute has announced a planned reconstruction of the Palace Gardens on the southern slopes of Prague castle. The reconstruction of the gardens complex should be launched in 2017 and is expected to last for five years. It should cost 45 million crowns. The Palace Gardens are a popular tourist attraction and will remain open to visitors throughout the phased-out reconstruction.
Fifty-eight people, ten in memoriam, were awarded the highest honors bestowed by the Ministry of Defence at a special ceremony on Monday at the National Memorial at Vítkov Hill in the Czech capital. The event marked the end of WW II 71 years ago. During the ceremony, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický also promoted a number of war veterans to higher military rank and awarded commemorative medals to participants of the Prague Uprising in May 1945.
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