Compact archive December 12, 2006

Changes in taxi services in Prague

Taking a taxi in Prague will be probably more expensive from January next year. One kilometer will cost 28 CZK instead of present 25 CZK. One minute of waiting will cost 6 CZK instead of 5 CZK.

The present rates have been valid since July 2004. The city council decided to increase the prices but at the same time increase the quality of services. Taxi drivers will have to wear pleasant clothes, not to smoke or bother other people with loud music. They will have to use only cars with air conditioning and not more than 8 years old. There will be only one colour – yellow – for all taxi cabs in Prague.

Also the reputation of Prague’s taxi drivers should get better. There are about 15 percent of taxi drivers in Prague who charge more than they should (in contrast to 65 percent in 2002). The Lord Mayer promises further improvements. Overcharge or not giving the receipt will be considered as the breach of the law and can lead to very high penalties or losing the licence.

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Newly renovated parks in Prague

Prague has invested more than 40 million CZK to the reconstruction of Prague’s parks. These parks should become places for relaxation and children’s games.

The reconstructions of Bezrucovy sady should be finished at the end of this year. Visitors can expect more green areas, more trees, nicer paths and benches around a large fountain in the northern part of the park.

Other parks that will be renovated soon are parks Formanka and Ztracenka. The city plans children’s playgrounds, more fountains and in park Ztracenka also an outside amphitheatre. It will be used for theatre performances or concerts in summer.

Villa Tugendhat will probably change the owners

The only Czech modern building written on the list of UNESCO World Heritage is villa Tugendhat in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. It belongs to the city of Brno and it is managed by The Museum of the City of Brno. Now the original owners of the villa want it back. They want to do the necessary reconstructions and make a museum of it.

The owners, for whom the vila was built by famous architect Mies van der Rohe, lived in that house for 8 years. It cost them 5 million CZK. For this amount of money they could have built 10 houses. Then they had to escape to Switzerlands after the Natzi occupation. Since the Communist times the villa has decayed.

Villa Tugedhat was also a place where two prime ministers of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, talked face to face. Four months later the country split up into two independent countries. In 2001the villa was added to UNESCO World Heritage List.

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Working and living in Prague in numbers

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is the centre of government, economics and culture. It attracts people who want to build a career. About one sixth of all Czech people work in Prague. This number is growing every year. The unemployment in Prague is falling every year- from 3,9 percent last year to 3,5 percent this year.

However, there are less people living in Prague than in 1989. It is caused by rich Prague citizens moving into large houses in the villages around Prague who just commute to Prague every day.

The Czech Republic also notices the higher number of foreigners living here. This year there are 310 049 foreigners in the Czech Republic, which is about 30 000 people more than last year. 89 997 foreigners live in Prague. They are mainly from Ukraine, Slovak, other EU countries and Vietnam.

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Film studio Barrandov: the biggest in Europe

Prague has the biggest film studio in Europe now. The new complex of soundproof studios Barrandov is situated in the southwest of Prague. It cost about 200 million CZK, which is the biggest investment in last 60 years.

The new complex consists of 3 halls having together 4 000 square meters. They can be connected together. The highest hall is 14 meter high. The biggest film studio used to be British studio 007 in Pinewood. It burned down while finishing the new James Bond movie.

Film studio Barrandov has contracts with foreign productions for a year, but it seems now that the studio will be busy the next three years. New films Babylon A.D. and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian will be shot there soon.

Among films shot in film studio Barrandov are, among others, Casino Royal (2006), The Omen (2005), Hostel (2005), The Illusionist (2005), The Brothers Grimm (2003), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2002), The Bourne Identity (2001), Hart’s War (2001), A Knight’s Tale (2000) or Jeanne d’Arc (1999).

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