Steve Gove is the founder and director of the Prague Fringe festival, which has just got underway in the Czech capital for the 15th time. The Scot has been living in the city since 1997 and is an infectiously enthusiastic guide to “his Prague”. Our tour begins at Malostranská Beseda, an historic venue on the main square in the Lesser Quarter that has been the hub of Prague Fringe since the building’s extensive renovation in the 2000s.
Today it is easy to forget that Prague’s Letná Park overlooking the city once served as a pedestal to the largest statue in the world of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Derisively referred to as ‘fronta na maso’ (queue for meat), the massive granite work featured the marshal followed by a line of anonymous ‘heroes of the proletariat’. Prague was freed of the sculptural monstrosity in 1962; now, thanks to a film crew shooting the story of sculptor Otakar Švec, Stalin will temporarily return.
Prague state attorney Dagmar Machová will as of now not lead criminal cases following searches last week of her office and others. The police swoops were related to the alleged leak of information about high profile cases: three people, including a former police detective from the anti-corruption unit, were charged with abuse of office and taking bribes. In the past, state attorney Machová was involved in cases such as the Opencard, in which two former Prague mayors are charged. The decision to sideline her from major cases was taken by the Municipal State Attorneys’ Office, spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenklová confirmed.
The Czech crown jewels have gone on display at Prague Castle as part of events marking the 700th anniversary of the birth of Czech king and Holy Roman emperor Charles IV. The crown jewels are being shown at Vladislav Hall and admission is free of charge. The collection, which is only displayed on exceptional occasions such as the election of the president, will be exhibited until the end of May. Prague Castle has organized seven exhibitions to mark the anniversary.
What kind of challenges does migration present for cities around the world? How could cities benefit from the influx of migrants? And is Prague ready to accept new residents? These are just some of the topics at the core of this year's annual reSITE conference and festival which gets under way in Prague in just a few weeks’ time. I discussed some of the issues with Martin Barry, the founder of ReSITE, and I first asked him to explain the choice of the festival’s main theme, Cities in Migration.
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.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czech pop music legend Karel Gott dies at the age of 80
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott