A four-star hotel opened at Prague’s landmark Dancing House building on Tuesday. Most guests at the city’s best-known building of the post-1989 era can enjoy views of Prague Castle from the two-storey part of the structure that has been converted into the hotel. One of the investors in the project, former soccer star Vladimír Šmicer, said the hotel might be expanded in a couple of years if the venture proves a success. The Dancing House was designed by Frank Gehry and local architect Vlado Milunic and was opened in 1996.
From next year car drivers in the Czech Republic will not need motorway vignettes to use certain sections of motorway, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, announced on Tuesday. The 11 sections of motorway set to become free to use are mainly on the outskirts of cities such as Prague, Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem. Mr. Ťok said his ministry was unlikely to see much of a falloff in revenues thanks to the change, which he said was intended to help local drivers who at present do not use the sections of motorway concerned.
As one half of the award-winning duo Republic of Two and with his solo project Piano, Mikoláš Růžička is a well-known figure on the Prague music scene. A native of Bechyně in South Bohemia, the musician also has a day job teaching at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts. Our tour of “Mikoláš Růžička’s Prague” begins on Jiřího z Poděbrad square in front of Jože Plečnik’s modernist Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord.
Palác Akropolis, one of Prague’s most important arts venues, will celebrate a double anniversary this upcoming season: It is 90 years since its establishment and 20 years since it was reopened. A special series of events in different genres, including concerts and theatre performances, are scheduled to take place between September and June to mark the special occasion.
More than 30 million motor vehicles made use of Prague’s Blanka Tunnel complex in the first year since it opened, Prague’s Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek said at a press conference on Friday. According to the deputy mayor, drivers “saved” a total of 290 years off their commute; the official said that Prague had not seen an increase in overall traffic and that daily the tunnel cut aboveground traffic in the area by some 13,000 vehicles. In all, the tunnel complex was used by more than 78,000 vehicles per day. Over the course of the year there were 64 traffic accidents in the tunnel; in only four cases were people injured. Not all municipalities are happy with developments, in particular Prague 6, which has seen much higher traffic leading to and from the tunnel.
Prague Municipal Court on Friday announced the bankruptcy of engineering company ČKD Praha Diz, a significant player on domestic and international markets. Nobody in court opposed the proposal from creditors. Insolvency proceedings related to ČKD Praha Diz started already in August. The company has been involved in a long running legal battle with Prague City Hall over completion of the Blanka road tunnel in the capital. An arbitration court at the end of August ruled that Prague City Council did not have to pay 1.7 billion crowns sought by the engineering company in connection with the work.
Two former mayors of Prague were handed suspended prison sentences and fines by the Prague Municipal Court on Thursday for their part in managing the city’s controversial multipurpose transport pass Opencard. The ruling, which will now be subject to appeals, is the latest chapter in a highly-publicized case going back a decade.
The planned renovation of the lower part of Wenceslas Square is due to begin next year, according to Prague City Hall representatives. The winning project of the architectural competition held in 2005 envisages fewer cars, more greenery, fountains, broader sidewalks and more street cafés. The cost of the phased-out renovation is estimated at 150 million crowns.
The Supreme Administrative Court has issued a ruling that could close the busy south-western section of the Prague ring road and affect other roads that have not yet received final building approval, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. The court upheld a complaint from locals who protested against the length of the trial operation on the south-western section of the Prague ring road, with appropriate noise barriers still not in place, ruling that a trial operation longer than three years was excessive. The south-western section of the Prague ring road went into operation in 2010 and still lacks final building approval due to a number of serious technical defects. The Road Management Authority is currently reviewing the impact of the ruling on this and other roads.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev is expected to arrive in Prague on Monday for a two-day official visit. His talks with President Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka are expected to focus on European security, the migrant crisis and bilateral cooperation. The migrant crisis is a particularly sensitive issue in Bulgaria since the country borders on Turkey and would be strongly impacted in the event of an uncoordinated migrant exodus to Western Europe. President Plevneliev will also meet with the speakers of the upper and lower houses of Parliament and be given a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral. The last visit by a Bulgarian head of state to the Czech Republic was in 2009 by then president Georgi Parvanov.
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