Compact archive August 10, 2006

New Puppet Play Faust

Starting from 30th August there will altogether be four opportunities to watch puppet show Faust in the courtyard of the New Town Hall. This play is meant for children older than eight years and has a lot to offer for the entire family. The story of doctor Faust, who promised his body and soul to the devil in return for thirty-six years of his service, is well known. Faust desired namely fame, wealth and power more than his freedom and soul.

The name of the play is very long and actually tells precisely what the puppet show will be about. The play is approximately named: Johannes Doctor Faust alias gruesome comedy with a devil and with an even more gruesome disappearance of Faust into the hell at a time of terrifying thunder according to Czech folk puppeteers.

The New Town Hall is a very special place for this play because of the so called Faust’s House nearby. According to one legend it should be the hole in the roof of this very house through which Faust’s soul was taken to hell. Afterwards it took a very, very long time before the opening was repaired because it seemed so difficult…

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Fast food booms in Prague

Fast food chains currently experience unprecedented boom in Prague and plan thus their further expansion. The reason for this development is mainly to be seen in the recent opening of large shopping centres. Prague should thus witness a further expansion of the “classic” chains as well as the coming of new entrants onto the market.

McDonald’s experienced a year of stagnation in 2004 when no new restaurant was open and the number of customers decreased. Nevertheless, revenue rose to 2.3 bn crowns last year. The company plans no expansion this year but additional three restaurants should be added to the current 33 in Prague in the course of the next two years.

McDonald’s main competitor, the company KFC, increased the number of its restaurants from 31 to 44 last year and more than half of them are to be found in the capital city.

Prague will also be targeted by newcomers such as American sandwich maker Subway, German Nordsee which specialises in fish products, or Panda Express. A dramatic entrance onto the Czech market with ten restaurants this year and a total of fifty after three years plans Mondo Pizza. Asian bistros such as Li Wu also cannot complain about a lack of customers.

Some other famous names are not successful, though. For example, Burger King failed to open a restaurant in the new terminal of Prague Airport. Wendy’s or Starbucks also do not hurry to Prague. Paneria will also have to change so that it does not repeat its 15 million loss from the last year.

The boom the fast food industry experiences is not limited to the foreign chains. Czech baguette maker Crocodile claims its current two bistros are certainly not the final total number.

Prague Zoo in the night

Last weekend was the first opportunity to visit Prague Zoological Garden during the night. The visitors could have a look at the animals under the veil of night and gain thus a unique experience. Night visits allow namely the participants of the special tours to have a look at animals that are usually asleep during the day. Not to mention that the whole garden has a completely different atmosphere.

Prague Zoo will open its gates in the evening several more times – more specifically each weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from half past eight, nine o’clock and once more half an hour later. The special tours are led by guides and last approximately two hours. They should be reserved in advance because each group can have a maximum of 25 people. The bookings can be done via mail (pr@zoopraha.cz) or using the telephone (296 112 230). The adult ticket costs 140 crowns and children pay a half of this sum. The price for parking is already included in the entrance fee.

This weekend is bound to be very busy because the night tours will be preceded by a very rich day programme. Saturday is a special day for a young Giraffe girl – she is going to be christened. All children who come with a coupon from ABC magazine will have free entrance. Penguin Humboldt celebrates his tenth birthday on the following day. Both days will certainly be very exciting since they are going to be filled with many competitions.

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Prague centre may be cleared of illegal posters

Both tourists and Prague dwellers frown at the street lighting, bins, benches as well as tram stops covered with illegal posters. The problem may be close to its solution thanks to attempts to find agreement between the association of “stickers” and the Prague city.

For the agreement to be reached there must be a trade off between the two sides. The town demands that all illegal posters disappear from the historical centre of the metropolis. On the other hand, the “stickers” complain that Prague does not provide enough space for firms, which cannot afford the costly billboards of city-lights, to advertise on. They therefore demand more legal space in return for removal of the illegal posters from the centre.

They also proved that they are able to fulfil their promises. All posters from the centre disappeared namely thanks to their action during the so called “week of poster silence” that took place in the beginning of June.

The proposals thus include special areas outside the centre as well as approximately forty rounded columns for advertisements and small-format posters that should be placed in the historical heart of the town. The columns should blend in with the historical surroundings because of their appearance in style Art Noveau.

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Troubles of Skatepark Stvanice

Stvanice Skatepark has a history of thirteen years during which it has managed to win recognition not only in the Czech Republic but also in the whole Europe. This park is namely very modern and hosts prestigious competitions such as the Mystic Sk8 Cup which took place during the last month. Nevertheless, this event may also be one of the last times skateboardists came here.

Night of the 9th July was booked for celebrations and a party. Nevertheless, complaints appeared against the organisers of the event because of the noise and police was called to investigate the violation of silent hours. There were also accusations that the competition took place on a larger area than had been rented and was returned with two-day delay.

Now the skatepark has to pay a large fine and clear the area within three months. This is going to be a disappointment for all skateboardists who come here regularly. The park is visited by approximately two hundred fans of this sport every single day. There are also tiny chances that the European Championships scheduled for September of the October competition of in-lines and BMX bikes will take place.

Czech currency and the Euro

Czech Crown broke its maximum yesterday when it was traded 28.09 CZK for one Euro. The record against the USD was not beaten but the difference was only one hundredth of one Crown.

The strong currency can be explained by various factors. There is certainly the favourable macroeconomic situation including the rapid growth combined with a stable inflation. Another “culprit” is the surplus of the visible trade. Other cited factors include possible speculation as well as the decision of the the US Fed not to raise its interest rates any more due to the unexpectedly slow growth of American GDP.

The experts believe that the value of the Czech currency should stay around the current numbers. The outflow of dividends as well as the relatively low interest rates in the Czech republic as compared with the ECB and also the lack of political stability may all prevent further appreciation.

This recent appreciation makes Czech exporters worried and may thus lead to worsening of the trade balance. On the other hand, Czech tourists and importers have every reason to be pleased. The same holds for users of cars since the strong currency dampens the growth of oil prices.

The adoption of the Euro may be moving away from the planned year 2010. The reason is the lack of political stability, which is needed to prevent soaring government deficit that is expected to be well above the Maastricht criterion needed for the replacement of the Czech crown with the Euro.