Compact archive February 2007

Unique Renaissance art exhibition at Prague Castle

A new exhibition held under the auspices of President Vaclav Klaus starts today in the Imperial Stables in the area of Prague Castle. The exhibition focuses on the life of Bohuslav Hasistejnsky z Lobkovic, a nobleman, poet and humanist from the turn of the 16th century. The exhibitions displays the gems of Renaissance Bohemia.

Visitors can see, according to the curator of the exhibition Ivana Kyzourova, the most beautiful examples of Czech goldsmith during the reign of Jagiellon dynasty – three golden busts of St Wenceslav, St Adalbert of Prague and St Vitus that were made by Ladislaus Jagiellon for St Vitus Cathedral. Also the fragments of Bohuslav Hasistejnsky’s library are very unique, as the library was at his time one of the largest and most valuable libraries in Europe.

Many of the items will be displayed only for a short period of time and then replaced by replicas, as the light could destroy them. The exhibition is held until 1st July. The Prague Castle Administration consider this exhibition as one of the most significant event at Prague Castle.

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Another golden medal for Katerina Neumannova

Katerina Neumannova (34), the best cross-country skier of the Czech Republic, won a golden medal at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship 2007 in Sappor, Japan. She finished the 10 km freestyle race even 26 seconds before Olga Savialova from Russia and 30 seconds before Adrianna Follis from Italy.

Neumannova admits that the track suited her well. It was her last big race before the end of her sport carrier. After the World Cup, she’s going to quit and devote her time to her family, her pension at Sumava mountains and to the preparation of a new TV series.

Katerina Neumannova has won 11 medals, 3 of which are gold. Last year she was evaluated the best sportsperson of the Czech Republic.

Foreigners earn money from renting flats in Prague

According to some estate agencies, foreign people are interested in buying flats in Prague, especially in the centre and other attractive localities in Prague which have good accessibility to public transport. They are willing to pay up to 5 million Czech crowns. They are interested mainly in small- and medium-sized flats.

The people see it mostly as a good investment, as they rent the flats for market prices from 15,000 to 45,000 CZK. Russian people pay mostly in cash, other foreign people prefer mortgages. In many cases, the rent from the flats pay the instalments.

There is a lack of municipal flats with rent control, which increases the market prices of other flats in Prague. The market prices of flats in Prague are several times higher than municipal houses with rent control.

Prague lacks police officers

Police officers demonstrated at the exhibition ground in Prague yesterday against a new law that demoted many police officers, which led to lower salaries, as well as cancelled premium for their work at weekends, holidays and night shifts. On the other hand police officers have longer paid holiday, shorter working hours and entitlements to physiotherapy now.

About 2000 police officers met in front of the Krizik fountain where they signed Manifest 361 which will be sent to politicians within one month.

The law affects police officers, fire fighters, warders and customs officers, all together 72,000 people. 47,000 of them are police officers. The new law has already resulted in mass leaving. 1040 police officers have already handed in their notices.

Prague lacks now about 400 police officers. Another 100 is going to leave soon. The reason for that is not only the new law, but also the fact, that 60 % of Prague police officers are not originally from Prague. After some time, these police officers want to move back to their home districts. In two years there are supposed to be 1000 new street police officers in Prague thanks to the new recruitment campaign.

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Municipal House will be more open to the public

Prague's Municipal House Art Nouveau Municipal House in Prague, one of the dominant of namesti Republiky, situated next to the Powder Tower, should be more open for people. That’s the opinion of the new director of the Municipal House Tomas Vacek.

Besides exhibitions and concerts, Prague Municipal House could be popular for wedding ceremonies and auctions as well. The house now contains a well-equipped billiard room and a confectionery, but they are open to the public only occasionally.

Nowadays, people can get inside the Municipal House either when they received a invitation to a ball and other special events, or when they want to have a meal in the restaurant inside.

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Beware of forged Czech banknotes

According to the latest information, there were about 7834 pieces of forged Czech banknotes in money circulation. The most common forged notes in the Czech Republic are banknotes of the denomination of 5000 CZK as well as foreign currencies.

The material of Czech banknotes is more resilient from ordinary paper, resists tear and contains many security features. Check here the protective elements on the sites of Czech National Bank. Never try to pay in a shop with forged banknotes as you can be sentenced up to two years imprisonment according to the Czech law.

There are Czech banknotes of the denomination of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 CZK, and Czech coins of the denomination of 50h, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 CZK. The Czech banknotes represent great Czech people. The Czech Republic will probably adopt euro in 2012.

Two new outlet centres in the Czech Republic soon

The only large outlet centre in the Czech Republic now is Freeport in Hate near Znojmo. This outlet near Czech – Austrian border attracts many visitors on the way to Austrian Alps. Some Czech people don’t hesitate to travel hundreds of kilometers to safe some money on discounted brand clothes.

Two more outlet centres in Czech Republic will appear soon. We already informed about Outlet Airport Prague that will be open this November near Prague International Airport Ruzyne. The other outlet centre will be build on 66th kilometer of D1 highway near Loket.

This outlet centre will resemble European metropolises in appearance. People will shop in “London, Paris, Rome or Prague”. The centre will offer 110 shops. 70% of the space will be reserved for fashion shops, other 30% for restaurants, buffets and other services.

Czech people are not extremely happy

Eurobarometer published the results of the opinion poll about the happiness of people living in the European Union. About 27.000 Europeans took part in the pool, 87% of them admitted that they feel happy. The happiest people are in Denmark, the most unsatisfied are people in Bulgaria.

Czech people are not so satisfied at their work as people from old member state. On the other hand, Czech people don’t complain about too much stress at work. Only one quarter of Czech people are interested in politics and three quarters don’t trust any institutions. Only 40% of Czech workers feel any pressure from their employers to educate themselves at work.

Generally, people in Europe fear unemployment, the increase of the cost of living and uncertain pensions. They consider health, family and friends the most important things in their lives. Nine people out of ten appreciate their free time and 84% of European people appreciate good work.

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More request bus stops in Prague

Prague's bus Prague Public Transit Co. announced that the number of request bus stops will increase from 4th March. There will be 143 new request bus stops, 8 of them will be on request over nights and weekends only.

More request bus stops should speed up the bus transport, lower the exhausts fumes and the noise near the stops. Every request bus stops is marked “Na znameni”.

Request bus stops will be in almost all Prague districts. When waiting for a bus at a request bus stop, travellers have to flag down the driver. When riding on the bus, passengers have to push the stop button.

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Higher speed on Czech highways?

The Minister of Transport Ales Rebicek wants to increase the maximum speed on Czech highways from 130 km/h to 160 km/h. He wants to put an amendment to the law that would enable higher maximum speed where marked.

Some sections of Czech highways would therefore have either road signs with 160 km/h on them where the highway is in a good quality or the maximum speed on highways, which are not suitable for higher speed, would be restricted to present 130 km/h.

The Minister wants to talk about this issue with transport experts first. Some opponents claim that not so many cars in the Czech Republic are suited for such a high speed and not so many highways are in a good quality for fast driving. Also the braking distance is 50 meters longer when comparing the speed of a car driving 160 km/h and 130 km/h.

Also the trend in many European countries is quite opposite. Except Germany, other countries in Europe permit the maximum speed of 130 km/h or lower.

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The difference between Czech salaries rises

According to the statistics made by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the difference between the highest and lowest salaries in the Czech Republic has risen, but still the Czech Republic belongs to OECD countries with the smallest wage inequality.

The Gini coefficient, that measures the rate of wage inequality, is for the Czech Republic 26, while the average rate for all OECD countries is 31. The higher the number is, the larger is the difference between the salaries. Lower coefficient is only in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria.

The low coefficient for the Czech Republic is caused by a generous social system and social equality supported by eight years of the governance of Social Democrats. Economists predict that the number will grow due to expected tax reforms.

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Prague's festival full of magic

Magic will occur in Prague thanks to the XVII Interfestival Magie 2007 & XI Magic Cup Prague 2007, held in Salesian Theatre in Prague-Kobylisy from 9th to 11th March.

The festival will offer illusions of talented magicians who will compete and show their art in two competitive days. The festival will culminate at the Gala-show presenting Czech and foreign magicians. The best magician will be awarded. Visitors can inspire themselves at a magic market and on Sunday at a magic bazaar.

The Salesian Theatre is situated only fifty meters from metro station Kobylisy. Information about the entrance fees as well as contact information can be found here.

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Sulphuric acid on Prague streets

For the second time in several days a street in Prague was contaminated by sulphuric acid. More than a thousand liters of this dangerous chemical spilled from transport barrels loaded on a truck.

The accident happened in Kutnohorska street in the east of Prague on Saturday night. The fire fighters had to neutralize the chemical with lime. Similar accident happened in Prague-Hostivar last Thursday. The two accidents were caused by the same company that transports the chemical.

Prague’s fire fighters had to intervene once more yesterday. An unknown substance made a large mark on the Vltava river near Charles Bridge. It was probably oil. The source of the leakage is not known yet.

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Czech Miss 2007 will travel all over the world

Czech Miss Lucie Hadasova with Ivana Trump Prague Top Hotel was crowded on Saturday on the occasion of voting the most beautiful Czech lady of the year 2007. The crown of the Czech Miss 2007 was given to Lucie Hadasova (20) from Straznice who studies applied law at university. Together with the crown, she won a car, a contract for one million Czech crown, and a world tour. Click here to see some pictures.

The crown was handed over by the Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera-Mendoza from Puerto Rico. The members of the jury were, among others, topmodel Tereza Maxova, American entrepreneur of Czech origin Ivana Trump, and athlete Roman Sebrle.

Czech Miss 2007 is one out of two beauty contests in the Czech Republic that choses the most beautiful girl. The winner of Czech Miss 2007, that is known since yesterday, will compete in Miss Universe. The competitive event Miss Czech Republic 2007, which will be held in April, sends the winner to Miss World. Last year Miss of the Czech Republic Tatana Kucharova won the prestigious title.

Fata Morgana is closed this week

The greenhouse Fata Morgana in Botanical Garden in Prague-Troja hosted a very popular exhibition of orchids that finished yesterday. The exhibition was visited by more than 17.000 people. Mata Morgana is now closed to the public.

The greenhouse will be closed till this Friday, 2nd March, due to regular maintenance. The workers of Botanical Garden prepare the greenhouse for the summer season that starts on 1st April.

Nevertheless, visitors of Botanical Garden in Prague can see all outdoor displays for free until 1st April. Soon they can visit exhibitions The Wood of the Deserts, that will be held from 10th to 25th March in Fata Morgana, and an exhibition of exotic butterflies from 7th to 29th April.

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Enjoy Sunday in Prague city centre

The Prague district 1, the city centre, organizes special events this Sunday, which are for permanent inhabitants of this Prague district for free. People can take part in many cultural and sport events this Sunday.We picked up some of them for you.

Exactly 120 years ago famous Czech sportsman went down the hill Petrin on his special skis. Competitors in costumes can try their luck skiing down the hill on the original skis. The competition starts at the top of Petrin hill on Sunday at 10:15.

From 10:00 to 16:00 you can also explore the Petrin underground. The entrance to the underground is from Lobkowitz garden. At 11:30 you can visit Zofin island and support (or join?) Prague people swimming in the Vltava river. From 12:00 to 19:00 you can try to climb the climbing wall on Zofin island.

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Tomi Amos in Prague Congress centre

American singer, pianist and songwriter with red hair Tori Amos will perform in the Czech Republic. She will introduce here songs from her new album American Doll Posse during her tour via many European cities.

Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) comes from Newton in North Carolina, USA. She showed her music talent when she was 3. She started to play piano. At the age of 6 she was accepted at prestigious conservatory in Baltimore. Her first big success was her first solo album Little Earthquakes (1992). She was nominated many times Grammy Awards for the Best Alternative Music Performance and the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

Her Prague concert will be held in Prague Congress centre (5.kvena 65) on 21st June 2007. The tickets will be available from Tuesday via Ticketpro. The price of the tickets will be, according to the organizing agency Interkoncerts, about 800 CZK.

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Weeding boom thanks to lucky sevens

7/7/2007 seems to be a magic date for many couples in the Czech Republic. Czech authorities already point out to a ‘wedding mania’. ‘Lucky sevens’ attract many people as a starting day for their marriage.

Many couples who decide now to get marry in their favourite castle or place on this day, will be disappointed. Many popular places has been booked up since last November. For example, in the Hluboka nad Vltavou chateau the solemnizing councillors will have to work in two shift to meet the demand.

Even though demographers expect a weeding boom on this day, the number of couples getting married in the Czech Republic is not growing. The average age (first marriage) of grooms is 30 and brides 28. Many couples now start a family without being married.

Morgan Freeman in Prague

Besides the actors from Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, a film that follows very successful The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prague Barrandov studio will host another Hollywood star soon. It’s Morgan Freeman known from many films, such as Seven, Bruce Almighty, Million Dollar Baby or Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Morgan Freeman will arrive in Prague in April and will spend there 12 weeks. The director Timur Bekmambetov chose him and James McAvoy, who acted in The Last King of Scotland, for his new film Wanted.

The story for Wanted was adapted from Mark Miller’s comic book series. The story tells about Wesley Gibson (played by James McAvoy) who finds out that his father is an assassin. After his father’s death he joins a secret organisations of assassins. He is trained by lead-assassin (played by Morgan Freeman) to become a killer just like his father.

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Matejska fair starts tomorrow

For 412 times in history, Prague will host a popular fair Matejska that starts tomorrow at Prague Exhibition Ground. This year visitors can look forward to more than 100 attractions, from the most adventure ones to the attractions for the smallest children.

Totally new attractions will be dodgem cars on water, a three-dimensional cinema and a haunted house from Amsterdam. Visitors can also visit a nearby Seaworld. The fair is open from Tuesday to Friday from 14:00 to 21:00 and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00. The fair is closed on Monday for technical maintenance.

Visitors will pay 25 CZK at the weekend and 10 CZK during the weekdays for the entrance fee. Children below 120 centimeters can go for free. Each attraction will cost between 20 CZK and 120 CZK. There will be probably one day a week when families can enjoy the attractions 50% cheaper.

Marilyn Manson will perform in Prague

Marylin Manson and his band are finishing the works on their new album “Eat Me, Drink Me” that is to be issued this spring, 4 years after the last one. At the same time, Marylin Mason will set out on the world’s tour. On 13th June, Manson with his band will perform in Prague.

Marylin Mason borrowed his name from Marylin Monroe and mass murderer Charles Mason. Marylin Mason is known mostly for his decadent and androgynous appearance. He offers a mix of guitars and electronic music, as well as distinct melodies.

The concert of Marylin Mason will take place in Trade Fair Palace (Dukelskych hrdinu 47). Tickets for his Prague’s concert will be available from tomorrow via Ticketpro.cz and Ticketportal.cz.

CHANGE OF VENUE: The concert will take place in T-Mobile Arena in Prague Exhibition Ground.

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Euro in CR most probably in 2012

The Ministry of Finance finds the year 2012 realistic for adopting euros, the common currency of European Union. The national plan for adopting of euros was approved yesterday by the National Coordination Group for Euro Adoption.

The national plan acts as a basis for practical preparation for adoption of euros. The plan will be submitted to the Czech government by the end of March. The Czech Republic wants to adopt euro in the same year as Poland.

The Czech coins and banknotes will be, according to this plan, still valid up to two weeks after the adoption. People could change their Czech crowns for euros even up to six months after the start of euros. Also shopkeepers will be obliged to show prices both in Czech crowns and euros 5 months before and 1 year after adopting euro, so that there would no unreasonable increase in prices.

Prague suffers from too much light

According to the experts who examine the intensity of light in Prague, the Czech capital is one of the most lit city in Europe. Probably only Brussels is more lit because of its illuminated highways. Every 20th Prague citizen cannot sleep because of the light coming through the windows from outside.

The “light smog”, as the expert call it, is caused not only by street lamps, but also by billboards, signboards, and beams of light illuminating historical buildings, especially in the centre of Prague. The light causes problems not only to sleepers, but also to drivers, who are disturbed by too much light stimuli, and to stargazers.

Many cities in Western Europe are lit only with dim light. Prague councilmen are now thinking of dimming the light as well. Some of the billboards and monuments may not be so illuminated in the future. Will it change the image of night Prague?

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New face of namesti Republiky

Namesti Republiky is a square which is known especially for Powder Tower, Art Nouveau building of Municipal House, newly reconstructed theatre house Hybernia, department store Kotva, banks, and other historical buildings. Right now the square looks like a busy crossing. This should change soon.

The building that is situated at the corner of the streets Na Porici, Truhlarska and namesti Republiky used to serve as a barracks. Now it is being transformed into a modern multifunctional shopping and entertainment centre Palladium. It is supposed to be open this autumn.

Hotel Imperial in the street Na Porici will be reconstructed and a new hotel will be built in Truhlarska street. Together with the works on the hotel, pavements and roads will be improved. Also the department store Kotva will be, according to the owner, modernized soon.

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Oscar ceremony live in Prague's cinema

Millions of people all around the world will watch the prestigious Oscar Awards ceremony that will start this Monday at 1 a.m. local time. HBO company decided to broadcast the event on a large screen of the multiplex cinema Palace Cinemas Slovansky dum (Na Prikope 22) in Prague.

All who do not want to miss watching the Oscar awards ceremony live, can go to the cinema for free. Each visitor will also get a popcorn and a drink for free. However, thanks to the high demand, people have to register at HBO websites in advance. The organizers consider opening more halls for the viewers, as more than 1300 people has already singed in.

The evening at the cinema starts at 22:00 by showing some HBO serials. The Oscar ceremony will be interpreted into Czech language by film critics Frantisek Fuka and Tomas Baldynsky.

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Six concerts of Prague Spring 2007 are sold out

Prague Spring, a traditional music festival offering the world’s famous musicians, will remember the 100th anniversary of the birth of two Czech composers Dalibor Vackar and Zdenek Liska.

The festival will start with a concert of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zdenek Macal on 12th May and finished the Prague Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky on 3rd June.

The 62th Prague Spring will host, among others, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra from the USA, Academy of St. Martin in the Field from England, soloists Murray Perahia, Jordi Savall, Steven Isserlis, or Thomas Hampson. And for the first time also Czech violist Pavel Sporcl.

About one quarters of the tickets for almost 50 concerts and 9 theatre performance are sold. Six concerts are already sold out.

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Prague is more and more popular among Czech tourists

When you visit Prague Castle or Charles Bridge, you may here various languages from all over the world. The number of tourists in Prague is growing every year but the number of foreign tourists started to stagnate last year.

“Everybody who wanted to see Prague, has already been here,” explained Tomio Okamura from the Association of travel bureaus and agencies. Especially British tourists now travel to more eastern and cheaper countries.

On the other hand, more and more people from the Czech Republic plan to spend their holiday in Prague. About 60 thousand more people with the Czech nationality visited Prague in 2006 compared with the year 2005. The start of tourist season is expected at Easter.

Anti-award for Santa Claus decorations

The shopping centre Letnany in Prague was given an anti-award Zarach 2006 for the biggest misunderstanding of Czech Christmas traditions. The “prize” was given by the members of Creative Copywriters Club for the Christmas decorations in the shopping centre in 2006.

The members criticized that the shopping centre used the figure of Santa Claus which does not belong to the Czech traditions. The prize was sent by post because the member decline to enter the shopping centre for symbolic 100 days.

The “award” is a part of a campaign against the domestication of Santa Claus in Czech Christmas tradition. The club created web pages Anti-santa.cz to support their campaign that will be repeated regularly.

Kinga Dobay's premiere in State Opera Prague

Prague State Opera will stage tomorrow the opera by Francis Poulenc: La Voix humaine & Les Mammeles de Tirésias directed by famous Pier Luigi Pizzi who directed also the Europa riconosciuta by Salieri in newly open La Scala in Milan.

The role of a woman who tries for the last time to contact her ex-lover by a mobile phone will be performed by world’s famous opera singer Kinga Dobay who will perform in Prague for the first time.

Les Mammeles de Tirésias is a parody to the text of Guillaume Apollinaire about a feminist who is tired of being just a housewife and morph into a male. Les Mammeles de Tirésias is a Czech premiere.

The performance is conducted by G. Tourniairne and performed in French with Czech captions.

Scuba divers found more fragments from the statues

Police scuba divers submerged to the bottom of Vltava river to find more ornaments that used to parts of the statues on Charles Bridge. The first search was made two weeks ago in an attempt to find fragments of the precious inscription on the Crucifix and Calvary.

Scuba divers were successful in finding two more object yesterday. One of them is a ceremonial sword, probably more than 200 years old, and a brass object that looks like a small spire. According to Petra Hoftichova from the city gallery, it might be a part of the eternal light from the statue of Saint Salvator with Cosmas and Damian.

The object was found between the fifth and sixth pillars of the Charles Bridge from the Old Town side. The scuba divers are still looking for an 40-kilogram angel that is missing from the statue of the Madonna attending to St. Bernard.

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Traditional goods at Prague Easter markets

Visitors of Prague can enjoy the traditional Easter markets that will be held this year from 24th March to 15th April . The organizers promise many spacious stands with various goods and assortment.

There will be 16 stands in Old Town Square. The organizers will use the same popular stands that were in the Old Town Square last Christmas. Wenceslas Square will offer about 60 stands.

The markets will be devoted to the Czech Easter traditions and habits. People can taste traditional Czech food, such as a cake called Easter Beranek or Easter stuffing. The birch tree, which is connected with Easter, will be put in the middle of both Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.

We’ll certainly inform you about other events during the Easter in Prague.

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New air carrier flying from Barcelona to Prague

Travellers flying from Barcelona to Prague or vice versa can now use another low-budget air carrier flying from the Prague International Airport Ruzyne. It’s Spanish clickair flying between Prague and Barcelona once a day.

The planes from Barcelona land in Prague at 19:00, then they continue back to Barcelona at 20:00. According to the summer schedule, the planes will land at 13:10 and take off at 13:45.

The number of passengers flying between Czech capital and Spanish destinations increased by 17% last year. Now is Spain, according to the spokesperson of Prague Airport, the 6th most popular destination for travellers flying from Prague.

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Small changes in public transport on 22nd-24th February

The Prague Public Transport Company announced that due to the track maintenance there will be two short-term changes in public transport.

Trams no. 4, 7, 9, 10, 58 and 59 won’t go to the centre via stop Andel in Plzenska street, but via Na Knizeci (Za Zenskymi domovy street) and Andel stop in Nadrazni street. This limitation is valid only for the night from 22nd to 23rd February from 22:00 to 4:00 and only on the way to the centre.

On Saturday 24th February from 9:00 to 14:00 there will run no trams between Ohrada and Palmovka in the northeast of Prague. Line no. 1 will go from Palmovka via Bulovka, Ke Stirce, Ladvi to Sidliste Dablice. Line no. 8 will go from Nadrazi Vysocany via Kolbenova and Hloubetin to Lehovec. Line no. 10 will go from Biskupcova to Vapenka and tram no. 19 will go via Vapenka to the stop Spojovaci. There will be an additional bus X-1 between stops Biskupcova and Palmovka.

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Prague among the richest regions in the EU

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, released a data informing about the degree of economic development of all regions in 27 countries of the European Union.

The survey measured the regional GDP per inhabitant in the 27 countries of European Union in 2004. The best results belongs to the Inner London with 303% of the average of the European Union GDP. London is followed by Luxembourg and Brussels. The lowest positions belong to the North-East of Romania with 24%.

Prague is in the 12th place of all the regions. It scored 157% of the average 27EU GDP per person. Other Czech regions did not reach up 70% of the average GDP of the European Union. The region in the Czech Republic with the lowest GDP per person is the central Moravia. Read here the whole report.

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The Czech Republic may be a target for Russian missiles

The Czech Republic and Poland will risk being targeted by Russian missile if they agree to build U.S. anti-missile defence bases in their countries. These are words of the top Russian general Nikolai Solovtsov as a reaction to the meeting of Czech and Polish Prime Ministers in Warsaw yesterday.

The Prime Ministers agreed that their countries will probably say yes to the U.S. proposal. “I think it is in our joint interest to negotiate this initiative and to build in our area the missile defense,” said the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolanek.

According to Russia, the anti-missile defence bases could start a new arms race. Analysts say that Russia may withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1987.

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Prague's exhibition of Ferlinghetti's paintings

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is an American poet and translator. The City of Prague Gallery wants to present him also in the way which is maybe not so typical for him – through his paintings and drawings.

“Some of Ferlinghetti’s works of art are displayed for the first time here, it’s their world’s premiere,” said the director of the gallery, Karel Srp. Ferlinghetti started to create his paintings as well his poems about 50 years ago. His paintings focuses mainly on the themes of love and sex, woman’s body, war, ecology, and political and social themes.

The exhibition is held in the House at the Golden Ring (Dum U Zlateho prstenu) in Tynska street in Prague. It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 until 13th May.

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Genesis with Phil Collins will perform in Prague

Tony Banks, Phil Collins a Mike Rutherford from former music band Genesis will perform in Prague during their tour via twelve European countries. They will perform in Strahov stadium in Prague on 20th June 2007.

The Genesis started in 1967. It’s been 15 years since their last concert together. Their present tour Turn It On Again starts in Helsinki on 11th June and finishes in Rome on 14th July.

Tickets are on sale from today. You can buy them via Ticketpro from 995 CZK. The concert will take place in the football stadium in Prague-Strahov.

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Higher security measures at the airport were cancelled

Today at 2 o’clock in the morning the police cancelled the higher security measures at Prague’s international airport Ruzyne from last Wednesday. A woman informed them about a possible terrorist attack at the airport. The police reported that the woman called herself a psychic.

The information was regarded as serious because the woman told them her full name and address. Also a plane flying to one of the risk countries was about to take off at that time.

The woman won’t be probably accused of hoax, even though many police officers with automatics were sent after her had called. There are standard security measures at the airport at the moment.

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No entrance fee at St Vitus Cathedral again soon

The Supreme Court adjudged that St Vitus Cathedral, one of the dominance of Prague Castle, will be returned to the state. St Vitus Cathedral was given to the Church on September last year and the Church started to collect the entrance fee of 100 CZK.

The litigation between the state and the Church has already taken for 13 years. The state is suppose to be in control of the cathedral as soon as possible.

The decree is good news for tourists. The Prague Castle Administration announced that as soon as they get the cathedral back, they will abolish the entrance fee to the cathedral. So that everybody can pray and admire the interior of the cathedral for free again.

The only parts that will accessible only after paying the entrance fee, will be the parts attractive for tourists: the main altar and the royal tomb.

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Derailed train blocked the railway transport

One the most frequent tracks in Prague was blocked for nine hours last weekend by a derailed train. The train EuroCity 107 went to Poland and derailed between the Prague’s Main Station and Liben. Nobody was injured.

The accident was caused by a broken switch. The railway inspection now investigates whether the driver did not drive too fast as well. The locomotive of the train and two railway carriages left the track on Saturday before 10:30.

The accident happened on the main track that leads to Ostrava, Brno, Decin, Mlada Boleslav or Hradec Kralove. Other trains on that route were delayed or did not leave the stations.

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Prague's stand in the shape of Charles Bridge

Prague Exhibition Ground welcomes these days thousands of visitors on the fair Holiday World that introduces tourism in many countries of the world. Prague will be represented by a special stand – in the shape of Charles Bridge.

Charles Bridge celebrates 650th anniversary this year and therefore this image wasn’t chosen randomly. At the stand people can see documentary films about Prague monuments and culture.

Prague is represented in many international tourism fairs, such as those in London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona or Sidney. The representatives try to chose various shapes of the stand that measures about 50 square meters.

The first stand presenting the Old Town Square won many awards. The last one that was thematically connected with Mozart anniversary won The Best Stand Award in London last year.

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Chemical Brothers will perform in Prague

Fans of electronic dance music can look forward to the concert of British Chemical Brothers whose concert is planed for this summer in Prague. Tickets for the concert are already on sale from today.

Chemical Brothers, a Grammy Award winners, will perform in the Czech Republic for the second time. Their last album was issued in 2005 but a new album is about to appear this year. The band Chemical Brothers consists of Tom Rowland and Ed Simmons who call themselves The Dust Brothers.

Their concert will take place in the Sport Hall of Prague Exhibition Ground on 10th August 2007. Tickets can be bought via Ticketpro or Ticketportal for 770 CZK.

National Theatre in Prague celebrates 400 years of opera

It’s been 400 years since the first premiere of an opera in the world. Opera Europe organises special celebrations in many countries in Europe. The National Theatre in Prague joins the celebrations as well in a special way.

Today and the next two days Prague Theatre will offer Aida by Verdi, Don Giovanni by Mozart or Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky. This time not on the stage but on a large screen on the fourth floor of the functional building of the National Theatre. The shows are for free.

All those who want to hear famous melodies of their popular composers can enter a big heated tent next to the National Theatre. The music can be heard there from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. The tent is big enough for 60 people and there is a free entrance.

Admires of operas can also visit an exhibition of opera costumes and walk through the historical and the functional buildings of Prague National Theatre.

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Historical weapons at Prague Castle

Prague Castle launched yesterday a new exhibition that focuses on historical weapons from Czech collections. The halls of Theresian Wing of Old Royal Palace are now filled with the best exhibits that the Military History Institute collected during its 80 years of existence.

Visitors can admire the equipment of soldiers in Austria-Hungarian army as well as of soldiers fighting against terrorism these days. The collections include weapons from Turkey, India, Nepal or Wild West. One of the most attractive items will be Winchester rifle from 1873. There are only 51 pieces of this gun left in the world.

A part of the exhibition is devoted to guns of Franz Ferdinand of Austria as well as to pictures, graphics and old prints with military themes. The exhibition is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 until 24th June.

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One ticket to three attractions in Prague's Troja

Troja Chateau in Prague Prague Zoo was visited by more than a million visitors last year. It is situated near Botanical Garden and Troja Chateau. Last year visitors could for the first time buy one ‘common’ ticket which enabled them to enter Prague Zoo, Botanical Garden and Troja Chateau .

This year visitors can buy the tickets for 200 CZK (children 100 CZK, family 500 CZK). The ticket can be bought from 1st April and it will be valid for six months. More than 50 thousand visitors used the “Troja card” last year, the organizers expect even more visitors this year.

Troja is getting more and more popular and it is visible in overcrowded public transport and lack of space for parking. The city wants to build new roads to Troja, new tram tracks to Prague Zoo and new parking lots.

Lufthansa opens a new route Prague - Stuttgart

Lufthansa, German air carrier, launched the sale of flight tickets to their new line from Prague to Stuttgart. The first flight is scheduled on 16th April.

The company will fly on the route Prague – Stuttgart every day except Saturday. Return tickets can be bought from 2490 CZK plus fees and taxes.

Lufthansa flies from Prague also to Munchen, Frankfurt am Main, Dusseldorf and Hamburg. Traveler can fly to Stuttgart also with Czech Airlines twelfth times a week.

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Most tourists come from Germany

The statistics made by the agency STEM/MARK for the Ministry for Regional Development and CzechTourism show some interesting facts about the incoming tourism in the Czech Republic.

In terms of tourists who visit the country only for one day, the majority of them comes from Germany (63%). Then from Poland (13%), Slovakia (11%) and Austria (10%). They mostly cross the border for shopping and their average expenses are 2101 CZK per person per day.

Foreign tourist spend on average 4 days in the Czech Republic. Americans, Japanese and Russians stay here the longest. Most visitors who spend here at least one night, come from Germany (29%), Great Britain (16%), Slovakia (8%), Austria (6%) and Poland (6%). They come here mainly for recreation and entertainment and to visit their relatives and friends. Their average expenses are 2 498 CZK per person per day.

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Two hotels in Prague among the world's most luxurious hotels

TripAdvisor published a report Traveler’s choice 2006 stating the most luxurious hotels in the world that were evaluated by millions of travellers. Two hotels in Prague, Riverside Hotel and Hotel La Palais, has been ranked in the top 10 most luxurious hotels in the world.

The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award winner was assessed by a combination of TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index and traveler ratings in specific categories. Click here to have the complete list of winners sent to your email address.

Prague’s hotel Riverside is situated on the left bank of Vltava river near Jiraskuv bridge. It can be easily recognized by a large green neon sign on the building. Hotel Le Palais can be found in the exclusive residential district of Prague, Vinohrady, a 15-minute walk from Wenceslas Square.

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Exhibition of Indian pictures created with a mobile phone

Lubomir Kotek is a photographer who in known for his reportage from war conflicts and who cooperates with many humanitarian organization. Now he displays a unique exhibition called Indian Dreams. What’s untypical is the way he made the pictures – with his mobile phone.

He admits that taking a pictures with his mobile phone was not so easy. On the other hand his cell phone was still with him whenever he needed and he could easily mingle with the crowds around him. He didn’t evoke the image of a rich tourist, he didn’t provoke. Indian people even from the lowest social caste reacted naturally.

The exhibition displays photographs of nature beauties, historical monuments and the way of living of local people. You can visit it until 1st March in the hall of Auto Jarov (Orsikova 8) in Prague 3.

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Prophet foretold an attack at Prague's airport

Police officers with automatics and bulletproof vests can be seen now at the Prague International Airport Ruzyne. This time they do not react to the anonymous threats but to the information received from a woman who foretold a terrorist attack at the airport.

Although police do not think there is a big danger, they do not want to underestimate the situation. The woman said her full name and address and also warned against shooting at the airport. According to the Minister of the Interior Ivan Langer this case is not related to the recent threat of an attack near Corinthia Towers.

It was not specified when and what time the attack would happen. Police officers patrol both terminals,the runway and the space in front of the building. The action does not affect any passengers.

Prague-Zizkov carnival starts this Saturday

XIV. traditional carnival in Prague-Zizkov starts this Saturday (17th February) at 14:00 in Palac Akropolis (Kubelikova 27) with a show for children in costumes. It continues at 18:30 with an exhibition of paintings by Martin Velisek who immortalized the carnivals of the last years.

The night continues with a carnival party for adults. People who come in costumes will get a beer and a sausage for free. Borrowing of the costumes is included in the entrance fee which is 100 CZK. The best costume will be awarded.

The carnival will end on Tuesday by marching through the city. The start of the parade is in the square ‘nam. Jiriho z Podebrad’ at 17:00. The march will be finished by fireworks.

Organizers promise Prague detectives from a famous Czech serial, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or James Bond, as well as Al Capone, Jack the Ripper, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

UNICEF assessed the well-being of Czech children

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre published yesterday a report about well-being of children in rich countries. 21 economically advanced nations in the world were assessed in six dimensions of child well-being.

The countries are ranked in material well-being, health and safety, educational well-being, family and peer relationships, behaviour and risks, and subjective well-being.

The first three position belong to the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. The Czech Republic ranked 15th before France, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, the United State and Great Britain.

Czech children don’t suffer from material, educational or health deprivation but they feel neglected. They ranked 19th in terms of the quality of their relationships with parents and peers and 17th in terms of subjective assessments. For the whole report, click here.

Models of rackets in front of Czech government

About 200 people demonstrated yesterday in front of the seat of the government of the Czech Republic. They brought models of radars and rackets, they erected tents and slogan banners. They tried to build there a “peace antimissile base”.

The main reason for these protests is the effort to convince Czech politicians to enable a referendum where Czech people could say their opinion on U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic.

Czech political parties have different approaches to the U.S. radar base. Civic democrats and Christian Democrats from the government coalition are in favour of the base, other parties have reservations or they demand the referendum.

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St Valentine's parties in Prague

Some of Prague’s clubs offer today special actions to celebrate St Valentine’s Day. For example, couples who will come to Rock Cafe (Narodni 20) with a red tie and a red top will have a special discount on drink Heart (Srdce). Music bands La Grupa, Multiplayer and Deset oci will play there rock love music.

Club Tropison (nam. Republiky 8) prepared an extra Valentine’s night. Visitors can dance salsa or Argentinean tango. Couples can tried their luck in a competition for the most interesting dancing.

Music club Face to Face (Stvanice island 1125) organises Primerous Fuking Valentine Party with a lot of music and competitions. The best competition will be the one for the sexiest couple in the Dance of St Valentine.

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Prague's taxi drivers file a lawsuit

A small war broke out between some Prague’s taxi drivers and the municipal authorities. The taxi drivers now filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The taxi drivers claim that the situation when the municipal authorities dictate the price the taxi drivers can charge is discriminating. Taxi drivers in Prague are allowed to charge maximum of 28 CZK per kilometer. Otherwise they can lose their licence.

“Present edict forces the taxi drivers either rip off their customers or work 16 hours a day. That’s what we want to change,” said the representative of the labour union. One of the taxi drivers began a hunger strike yesterday.

The Deputy of the Lord Mayer, Marketa Reedova, expressed her shock that some taxi drivers claim that 100 CZK per kilometer is normal. Reedova had a conflict with one of the taxi drivers in December last year.

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I wish you were here

Today we picked for you a very nice article about Prague dedicated to the author’s mother. We hope you will like it, too.

Today I visited the Lennon Wall and thought of you. This wall was created after Lennon was shot and was originally a memorial of graffitti that was not approved by the government and was painted over. The artists continued to come back to the same spot, no matter how many times the police had the wall repainted until it became the only location in Prague where it is legal to graffitti and express oneself artisitcally on the side of a public wall. This wall reminded me of you and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it… (the whole article)

A Great Night of Spanish Music in Prague

Lovers of classical music and Spain should not miss the concert in Prague’s Rudolfinum (Alsovo nabrezi 12). A Great Night of Spanish Music will evoke the atmosphere of temperament Spain.

The music will be performed by Russian State Philharmonic orchestra conducted by Eduard Serov accompanied by famous guitarist Rolando Saad. This concert will be in the Czech Republic for the first time after being very successful in other European countries.

A Great Night of Spanish Music will take place in the Dvorak’s Hall of Rudolfinum on 21st February 2007 from 19:30. Tickets can be bought for 1390 CZK, 1240 CZK and 1120 CZK.

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New threat of bomb attack in Prague

Police officers with automatics are now guarding the surroundings of Corinthia Towers hotel. The hotel is situated near Nuselsky bridge but also near the Congress Centre. The police guard the place because of threats of a bomb attack.

From the analyses of the police it appears that the risk is minimal but the police don’t want to underestimate the situation. The action should not affect any Prague citizens and tourist.

Even though people who threaten with a bomb attack can be sentenced up to 5 years imprisonment, it’s been already the third thread in Prague since the end of the last year.

2007 Index of Economic Freedom

The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal published the 2007 Index of Economic Freedom which ranks 157 countries in 10 categories. The highest economic freedom has Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. The lowest Libya, Cuba and North Korea.

The chart evaluated the business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, freedom from government, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labour freedom of the countries.

The Czech Republic is in the 31st position. The best score of the Czech Republic is in the monetary and financial areas, the worst in the level of corruption and state interference. For more information click here.

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Holiday World 2007

For already 16th times Prague exhibition ground Holesovice will host the fair Holiday World, the biggest show of tourism industry in the Czech Republic. Exhibitors from 47 countries of the world will present their countries to attract more tourists. The partner country of this year is Turkey.

According to the Jan Novotny, the director of the organizing agency Incheba, the fair is a “central European premier tourism industry event”. Besides the foreign exhibitors, visitors of the fair will learn more about attractive places and services in the Czech Republic.

The fair will be open to the public from 16th to 18th February 2007. It is open on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 and on Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00. Besides the trams (5, 12, 14, 15, 17) running regularly from the metro station Holesovice to Vystaviste (exhibition ground), there will be also additional buses no. 751 at the same route.

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Festival against totalitarianism in Prague next week

Prague’s festival against totalitarianism, Mene tekel, will remind the period of communism and its crimes. Many exhibitions, movies and lectures will show the life in the Czechoslovakia in 1948 – 1989.

The festival starts this Monday (19th February) and will take 7 days. It starts with an ecumenical service for dead political prisoners in St Vitus cathedral. Let’s also mention an exhibition that will show large photos of living political prisoners of the totalitarianism and the items they created in prisons. The exhibition starts on Tuesday in Clementinum.

The festival will be finished on Sunday by a “spiritual purification” of the balcony of Kinsky Palace in Old Town Square from which communist leader Klement Gottwald addressed people 59 years ago. This time the chairwoman of Confederation of Political Prisoners of the Czech Republic Nadezda Kavalirova, Prague’s bishop Vaclav Maly and the Lord Mayer will give their speeches from this balcony.

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Being ill in Prague is not economic

Due to flu epidemic that started more than three weeks ago many people have had to stay in bed. Czech Social Security Administration file how many Czech people and how long they stay in bed due to illness every year.

According to their statistics, Prague people stayed in bed in average 31 days last year, while the average for the whole country is 36,5 days. Prague people are not less ill as it may seem. They have usually higher salaries and they better take a holiday (with the full salary) than staying at home with the sickness benefit.

The sickness benefit in the Czech Republic amounts about one quarter of the salary in the first three days and other days 69% of the salary. The richer the region is the less people stay at homes with a sick note, as it is not convenient for them. What is the situation in your country?

Czech Architectural Cubism in Prague

Unique Czech artistic phenomenon is the main theme of the exhibition called Czech Architectural Cubism (1911 – 1914) in Fragner Gallery in the centre of Prague. For the exhibition there is a publication printed in Czech as well as English language.

This exhibitions focuses on the development of modern architecture, especially in the Cubist style in the years 1911 – 1914 when Prague became, after Paris, the second centre of modern Cubist arts. Many Cubist building in Prague can be seen on black-and-white pictures taken by renowned photographer Ester Havlova.

Thanks to the big interest, the exhibition is prolonged until 25th February. It is open in Fragner Gallery (Betlemske nam. 5a) from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00.

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St Valentine's Day in Prague

St Valentine’s Day does not have a long tradition in the Czech Republic. It came here after 1989 and now is celebrated mainly by young people. The most popular presents are flowers and a box of chololates. St Valentine’s cards are mostly sent to beloved partners.

As we already informed, the National Gallery in Prague organizes extra action on St Valentine’s Day. Women accompanied by a man can even see the exhbition for free. The National Gallery is not the only place where to go in Prague.

Already today between 14:00 and 17:00 couples can get a small present in front of the shopping centre Novy Smichov at Andel. On Wednesday most of shops will offer something extra. Couples in love can also visit the shopping park Hostivar to write each other’s name on a big board.

In the shopping centre Eden people can contribute to charity. By buying a small ceramic bell with a heart for 30 CZK, they will support talented children from children’s homes.

Richter Villa will be open to the public for the first time

Richter Villa in Prague is situated near Prague Castle and palace gardens in Lesser Town. Thousands of people pass it every day but the villa was always closed to the public. It will change soon.

The villa is now being reconstructed and will be open to the public this autumn. Visitors can look forward to one of the most beautiful Classicist villas in Prague together with large gardens around it. These garden used to serve as a vineyard. The Prague Castle Administration plans to plant the vineyard again, open a wine house and launch there an exhibition of the history of wine.

Richter Villa was used by the embassy of Cuba, then it was one of the seats of the secret police in Czechoslovakia. High walls that surround the villa used to be guarded by armed patrols at that time.

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Prague's gala premiere of Hannibal Rising

A few days ago American cinemas showed the premiere of a new film about cannibal Hannibal Lecter. The film mapping the youth of Hannibal was mainly filmed in the Czech Republic and many Czech actors and extras play in it.

The gala premiere will take place in Prague’s cinema Village on 20th February 2007. People can expect the director of the film, Peter Webber, who directed also Girl with a Pearl Earring. Then the main character who is interpreted by Gaspard Ulliel known from Very Long Engagement or Brotherhood of the Wolf.

The first film where the character of Hannibal Lecter appeared was Silence of the Lambs, followed by Hannibal and Red Dragon. The films were inspired by Thomas Harris books. This film called Hannibal Rising focuses on the motives why Hannibal Lecter became such a monster.

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New services and exhibitions at Prague Castle

Prague Castle Administration improves their services. This year for the first time tourists visiting Prague Castle will read interesting information in ten languages including Chinese and Japanese From the beginning of April they will be able to pay in Euros and by credit cards.

Two new information bureaus will be open this year. First one will be in newly reconstructed Riding School near the entrance to the Prague Castle (near tram stops), the other will be on the 2nd courtyard next to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery. Right now it is even possible to buy tickets pro Christmas concerts.

Prague Castle will also open new and unique exhibitions showing items that have not been displayed yet. Next week people can visit a new exhibition devoted to guns and rifles. Visitors can see, for example, guns used in the Wild West.

Another exhibition will continue in the series of Prague Castle Photographs, this time from the period 1939 – 1989. It will show pictures that used to be private and from the period of totalitarian regime. After three decades visitors will be able to explore the collection of Mikolas Ales works. Mikolas Ales exhibition will show the best works of this famous painter.

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Exhibition of orchids in Prague's Botanical Garden

Prague’s Botanical Garden in Troja will give an exhibition of beautiful orchids the way they grow in their natural environment. The exhibition follows the last year’s exhibition of orchids that become very successful.

Visitors can admire many kinds of orchids and learn how to take care of them and arrange them. The flowers are also available for sale. People can also visit Fata Morgana greenhouse at night, but only by prior arrangements.

The exhibition starts tomorrow and will last until 25th February. It’s open daily from 9:00 to 16:00. People can also visit Prague Zoo in Troja or Troja chateau.

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The inscription was damaged deliberately

The Hebrew inscription on the Crucifix and Calvary on Charles Bridge has not been damaged by a vandal but by a person who damaged the inscription deliberately and who had prepared necessary equipment before the act.

The restorers announced that the inscription was cut with a pair of pliers or scissors. The municipal authorities filed a lawsuit yesterday against an unknown defendant. The valuable inscription will be most probably displaced by its replica.

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Restrictions on the way to the Prague's Exhibition Ground

Due to the renovation of a house in the street Dukelskych hrdinu in Prague 7, the route between Strossmayerovo namesti (Strossmayer Square) and Prague’s Exhibition Ground (Vystaviste) in Holesovice will be closed to the public transport.

Trams no. 12 and 15 will therefore go via stops Vltavska and Prazska trznice. Trams no. 14 and 17 will go via Vltavska, Prazska trznice and Ortenovo namesti. Line no. 5 will follow its regular route to the Exhibition Ground.

These restrictions will only last for 9 hours, on 11th February 2007 from 5:00 to 14:00.

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Outlet Airport Praha will have 174 shops

New outlet centre called Outlet Airport Praha is now being built near the Prague’s international airport Ruzyne. It will be the only large outlet centre in Prague in near future. The Czech Republic has now only one such an outlet centre, in Hate near Znojmo, while there are over 120 large outlets in the whole Europe. Most of them are in Italy.

The operator of the Outlet centre in Prague, B. Cosulting, has already contracts with 60 brands and is dealing with another 110. The outlet will sell clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, perfumes, toys, and many more. People will relax in bars and restaurants. Outlet Airport Praha will offer the space of 50 000 m2 and parking places for 2500 cars. The whole project will cost 1,5 billion Czech crowns.

Outlet centres come from the United States. Companies use the outlet centres for selling the their older collections for lower prices. “The minimum discount in outlet malls is 30%,” said Roberto Pedrotti from B. Consulting.

Valentine's Day in the National Gallery in Prague

National Gallery in Prague organizes a special action on 14th February, St Valentine’s Day. On that day, the entrance fee will be for a special price. What’s more, a woman who is accompanied by a man will enter the exhibitions for free.

An exhibition called For the Honour of St Valentine alias Secular Delights in the Works of Medieval Artists. For those who master Czech language there will be a lecture starting at 16:00.

Erotic themes in the works of Manes, Svabinsky and Preisler can be seen at the exhibition in Trade Fair Palace. A special commented tour starts at 16:30.

All permanent exhibitions of the National Gallery in Prague will be open on 14th February from 10:00 to 18:00.

Prague Castle in more languages this year

Prague Castle, the most popular and visited monument in Prague, attracts thousands of tourists every day. Last year more than 2 million visitors paid to see many of the attractions of Prague Castle. The number of tourists just wandering in the Prague Castle complex is probably double.

As Prague Castle is visited by people coming from various countries of the world, Prague Castle Administration will place tags with interesting facts on significant objects of Prague Castle in 10 languages including Chinese and Japanese.

Prague Castle has also launched new websites on www.praha-hrad.cz with a virtual tour of Prague Castle complex. As the sites are visited by more than 1500 a day, the Prague Caste Administration has decided to create an English version soon.

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Recruitment campaign for Prague police officers

At the end of this year there should be about 1000 city police officers in Prague. To get this number of employees, the administration of city police decided to launch a big recruitment campaign to attract more people. Short films in the style of action movies will show up soon on TV or in the cinemas.

The director David Ondricek wants to show in the films the image of police work in Prague. Two police officers jump from one roof to another, ride a motorcycle or exercise in the gym. The film is supposed to be a kind of hyperbole. Apart from the film, there will be posters and advertisements as well.

A city police officer is Prague is responsible for a certain Prague district that he/she knows the best. New city police officers will mainly patrol in public transport and the city centre.

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Entrance to Muller Villa is 50% cheaper

The Museum of the City of Prague announced that visitors of Muller Villa in Prague, one of the monuments applying to be in the precious UNESCO list, pay 50 % less on the entrance fee from 1st February to 11th March 2007.

Muller Villa in Prague is a good example of Functionalist style designed by Adolf Loos and Karel Lhota in 1928 – 1930. The rooms inside are not designed traditionally but according to their functions. Entrance is possible by prior arrangement only.

The villa will be closed for technical reasons from 12th March to 23rd March.

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Online check-in with EasyJet

EasyJet launched a new service for its customers at the beginning of February. EasyJet is the only low-cost carrier that enables travellers to check-in online. This services is available for those customers who will only travel with hand luggage.

Travellers can book and buy an electrical ticket on internet. At that moment the reservation is in the system of the company. The travellers can check-in online and print their boarding ticket at home. At the airport they go straight to the security checking and do not have to wait in a queue in front of the check-in desk. Passengers are still required to come at least 25 minutes before departure.

Passengers of EasyJet can choose their seats on the plane and therefore they do not have to search for the number of their seats. The means the who comes first can also choose the best place to sit.

Online check-in is possible also with Air France, British Airways, KLM, SN Brussels and SWISS.

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Flu epidemic came to the Czech Republic

About 800 000 children and adults in the Czech Republic are down with the flu. The number will probably rise to 1 million. Flu epidemic that started in Moravia three weeks ago has already spread to the whole country.

There is an average of 2322 ill people per 100 000 inhabitants in the Czech Republic. Epidemic starts when there is more than 2000 ill people per 100 000 inhabitants.

The worst situation is in the regions of Karlovy Vary, Liberec and Pardubice. In Prague there is 1759 ill people per 100 000 inhabitants. The situation might get worse because of the high concentration of people in the public transport.

Landscape photographs in Old Town Hall

For all those who like photographs of beautiful countryside, the Old Town Hall holds an exhibition of large-format photographs by Vaclav Spillar called Africa, America, Australia.

The photographs show natural landscapes from three continents. Vaclav Spillar travellers with his family all over the world and tries to find unknown but interesting places and immortalize them by his camera. Many Spillar’s photographs can be also see in many of his books.

The exhibition in Old Town Hall in Old Town Square is open daily from 9:00 to 18:00 until 28th February. The full entrance fee is 70 CZK (for students and seniors 40 CZK). For an example of what you can see there, click here.

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Langweil model of Prague will be digitized

Langweil model of Prague is a unique work documenting the historical appearance of the Prague city centre before it was radically changed. The author, Antonin Langweil, an university librarian, worked on the model from 1826 to his death in 1837. There are about 2000 objects, half of which does not exist in real any more. The model is made from cardboard and wood.

Digitizing started at the end of the last year. More then half a million of pictures will be taken, which is the capacity of about 3000 DVD discs. Digitizing will cost about 12,5 million CZK. The model should be on internet within 2 years.

The real model is now the most famous exhibit of the Museum of the City of Prague. When the photographing of the model is over (mid March) it will move to a new showcase with better lighting and a camera which will show the central part of the model.

The Museum of the City of Prague (Na Porici 52) is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00. Full entrance fee is 80 CZK. Every first Thursday of the month it is open until 20:00 and the entrance fee is only 1 CZK.

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The president's car heads to the museum

The National Technical Museum in Prague got a special accession – a luxurious car Skoda Superb that used to belong to the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus. He got from Skoda Auto company a new car. These cars are specially adjusted for the head of the state.

The National Technical museum owns a collection of cars owned by the Presidents of the Czech Republic (or Czechoslovakia). All of them are a bit different according to the needs of the president. T.G. Masaryk, the first President of the Czechoslovakia, used to ride in a car that had special lights inside so that Masaryk was able to work in his car at night.

All presidents’ cars were displayed in the Riding School of Prague Castle a few years ago. The National Technical Museum contains also a valuable collection of other cars made in the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) and also abroad. The museum is due to reconstruction closed until 2008.

Precious inscription on Charles Bridge has been removed

Yesterday restorers removed the damaged inscription on the statue of The Crucifix and Calvary on Charles Bridge. A few pieces of the inscription were found at the bottom of the Vltava river last week.

As it has not been the first time that the inscription was damaged, the original will be kept in the Gallery of the City of Prague. The statue on Charles Bridge will get a replica of the bronze inscription. Meanwhile a small note next to the statue will inform about the history of the statue together with a drawing of the historical appearance of the statue.

Not only the statue will be renovated but also the whole Charles Bridge. The start of the Charles Bridge reconstruction is planned for this spring. The bridge will not be closed totally, only part by part, so that tourist can admire one of the most famous monument in Prague.

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Last respect to Czech composer Karel Svoboda

Thousands of people came yesterday to Strasnice crematorium in Prague to pay the last respect to Karel Svoboda, one of the most famous song writer in the Czech Republic. Svoboda is known all around the world thanks to his song for children serial Vcelka Maja (Maya the Bee, in German Die Biene Maja) sung in many language versions by Karel Gott.

Svoboda made many hits. His song Lady Carneval was very successful in Rio de Janeiro carnival and was adopted by interprets from Brazil, France, Hungary, Germany and Sweden. He was an author of many popular songs. He wrote or cooperated on a large number of songs for local or foreign serials. His last work was the music play Golem.

Karel Svoboda shot himself dead in the garden of his house on 28th January 2007 at the age of 68. There are many speculations about his reasons for committing a suicide. Many celebrities came to his funeral to say their last good bye.

Touch the North through every sense

An extraordinary exhibition that partly focuses on the oldest European nation living behind the the Arctic Circle in the area of Finnmark can be seen until this Sunday at the “krizova chodba” of the Carolinum Gallery (Ovocny trh 3) in Prague.

The exhibition called Touch of the North touches every sense by photographs, music, texts and designs. The author has immortalized the variety of the north and the values of the people living there. Many pictures were taken in Norway and Iceland. The author also launched a book with the same title at the same time.

The exhibition is held under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Prague. It is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00.

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Prague Vitkov Memorial will turn into a modern museum

Prague National monument Vitkov is to be closed soon to be reconstructed. The National Museum has already submit a tender for the reconstruction.

The reconstruction will start at the end of April or beginning of May. It will take approximately two years, estimated costs are 230 million CZK. After the reconstruction the monument will turn into a modern history museum housing an exhibition called The Crossroads of Czech Statehood. Besides the museum a cafe with a panoramic view will be open in the memorial.

The monument was founded in the 30’s of the 20th century to commemorate the foundation of the Czechoslovakia and the bravery of Czech legionaries. At the communist period, it was used as a mausoleum of political leaders. Bronze statue of Jan Zizka, 9 meters high, will be renovated too.

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Ozzy Osbourne plans a concert in Prague

The British hard-rock star Ozzy Osbourne will most probably perform in Prague this June. As the concert is not confirmed yet, the speaker of Sazka Arena, Zdenek Zikmund, could not say the details.

However, he warns that some foreign websites already sell fake tickets to the concert from 120 to 150 EUR. “Tickets are not on sale yet,” said Zikmund. Only booking the tickets in advance and special tickets via fun clubs are possible.

Thousands of people went to the concert of Ozzy Osbourne in Sparta stadium in Prague in 2005. Ozzy Osbourne also plans to release a new album this year.

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Exhibition of anti-racist posters in National Library

The National Library in Prague (Klementinum 190) holds an exhibition of anti-racist posters with the title Tolerant – Intolerant. The exhibition is held within the framework of the international film festival about human rights One World 2007.

The main themes of the exhibition are neo-nationalism, racism and racially motivated extremism. The exhibition displays works of students of the Faculty of Art and Design of J. E. Purkyne University in Usti nad Labem, and posters from the Goethe-Institute Prag collection.

The exhibition is held until 15th March in the ground floor exhibition corridor. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 19:00. The entrance fee is 5 CZK.

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Footballer of the Year 2006 is Tomas Rosicky

The best player of one of the most popular team sport in the Czech Republic, football, was awarded Footballer of the Year 2006 in Prague’s hotel Hilton yesterday evening. The prize was given to Tomas Rosicky for the third time in his football carrier.

Tomas Rosicky (26) changed football club Dortmund for Arsenal last year and became also the captain of the Czech national team. Tomas Rosicky got a few more points than Petr Cech, goalkeeper of Chelsea, who suffered a serious injury last October. Pavel Nedved, Juventus midfielder, was the third.

The award Footballer of the Year have been given since 1965. 104 experts decided this year about the best player. Tomas Rosicky won this prize in 2001 and 2002, last year the prize was given to Petr Cech.

One World 2007 soon in Prague

One World 2007 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will take place in Prague for the nine times. This year it will be held from 28th February to 8th March 2007. Like every year, it is held under the auspices of Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic.

One World was awarded the UNESCO Honourable Mention this January. The festival will show more than 120 documentaries from almost 40 countries of the world. The opening ceremony starts on 28th February in Lucerna Cinema (Vodickova 36), which is also the centre of the festival, and Svetozor (Vodickova 41).

One World focuses on the issue of human rights and through films it tries to demonstrate the values necessary for a free and democratic society. More information is available here.

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Sensation White will come to Prague

Prague’s Sazka Arena will host the World’s Leading Dance Event – Sensation White. For the first time in the Czech Republic, Prague will be one of the cities to experience the Sensation White World Tour.

All participants are required to wear white clothes, both the top and the bottom. Only shoes can have different colours. Small prints and logos are allowed. Minimum age is 18 years, which will be strictly checked.

The 40,000 tickets for Sensation White 2006 edition were sold out in six hours. Tickets for the Prague event will be on sale from 6th February (on internet from 7th February 8:00 until 31st May). Tickets cost 790 CZK until 28th February 2007, 1090 CZK until 30th April 2007 and 1290 from 1st May 2007.

For orders from abroad you can write to info@sazkaticket.cz. Payment is possible by banking transfer, the tickets will be sent by post. For more information about the event click here.

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The Walk of Fame in Prague?

Probably everybody knows Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is very likely that Walk of Fame will appear in Prague as well. Prague may be the first city in post-communist countries to have the Walk of Fame.

The author of the idea is director and cameraman Oliver Malina. The main problem now is to get enough money for the project and choose the right place. What will be the main difference between the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Prague’s one? The handprints will be made in glass as Czech crystal is very famous.

The supporters of the project have already the handprints of Claudie Cardinale, Oscar director Claude Lelouch, cameraman Miroslav Ondricek and recently also of the stars and authors of the film Goya’s Ghost (e.g. the director Milos Forman).

Prague city centre has more hotels than streets

Although the city centre of Prague is not so large and is mostly created by narrow streets, the number of hotels there is instantly growing. There are even more hotels (320) than streets (286) in the centre of Prague.

Prague has even more hotels than Vienna. Prague centre was designed for 1,3 million people, however, it is visited by more than 4 million tourists a year. About 8 thousand tourists stay in hotels in the centre of Prague every day. That makes 1/4 of Prague’s citizens in the centre.

According to the expert in tourism, Tomio Okamura, tourists mainly stay in five star hotels. Prague is the 6th most popular place in Europe. Tourism in Prague not only brings money to the state budget but also employ every 12th Prague citizen. The start of the tourist season is expected at Eastern this year.

Half of Prague citizens have a car

Those who have ever travelled to Prague by car and were stuck in a traffic jam will not be surprised that the number of cars in Prague comparing to the number of inhabitants is the highest in the whole country.

According to the statistics made by the Automotive Industry Association, there is one car for 1,94 people, which means that almost every other Prague inhabitant has a car. For example in the northern Moravia one car is “shared” by three people. The average in the Czech Republic is 2,5 people per one car.

Also cars in Prague are the newest. The average age of the cars is 12,95 years, while the average age of all cars registered in the Czech Republic is 13,87. Two fifth of all the cars are less then 5 years old.

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New tram in Prague for disabled and mothers with children

Travelling by trams in Prague with a pram or in a wheelchair is not so easy. It will partly change soon. A new tram, modernized from an older version, suitable for mothers with small children and disabled people will appear in Prague from the next week.

The modified tram will have a bit lower floor than other trams, it will be one meter longer and will be less noisy. Travellers can recognize it by the symbols for disabled people and prams clearly placed next to the door. The modernization of the tram cost 8 million Czech crowns.

Although there is only one tram of this kind in Prague right now, there should be another tram ready at the end of February and 8 new ones at the end of the year. Besides this new tram, there are 18 low-floor trams in Prague. All together there are about 900 trams transporting passengers in Prague.

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Concert of Faithless soon in Prague

British band Faithless known especially for their dance songs will come to Prague during The Tour 2007. The concert will take place in Prague’s Trade Fair Palace (Dukelskych hrdinu 47) on 10th April 2007.

Their music is characterized between hip-hop and dance music. The band consist of Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo, although for every album they employ another ‘guest’ musician. Their latest album is called To All New Arrivals and was issued in November last year.

Tickets are already on sale for 770 CZK. Also E-tickets are available. The concert starts at 20:00.

Update: The concert will be held in T-Mobile Arena (Za Elektrarnou 419, in the area of Prague Exhibition Ground).

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Dadaism at Prague Writer's Festival

17th Prague Writer’s Festival 2007 will be devoted to Dadaism. The motto of the festival is the sentence by Paul Celan “I dig, you dig, and the worm digs too.” The festival will be held in Prague from 3rd to 6th June 2007.

Among invited guests are be Gary Snyder, an American poet, essayist and environmental activist. He is the author of Mountains and Rivers Without End (1996), A Place in Space (1995) or The Practise of the Wild (1990).

Among other authors will be Dutch writer Arnon Grunberg known for his books Blue Mondays (1994) and Phantom Pain (2000), Swedish expert in Dadaism Tom Sandqvist, fiction writer Aleksandar Hemon, British journalist and writer James Meek and others.

For more details about the festival, visit here the official websites.

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Some Czech phone boxes accept euros now

Tourists coming to Prague do not have to change euro coins to Czech crowns any more to make a phone call from a phone box. There are about 6 000 chosen phone boxes in the Czech Republic which except euro coins as well.

These phone boxes owned by Telefonica O2 are mainly in places attractive for tourists. They accept coins with the denomination from 10 euro cents to 2 euros. After inserting the coins, the display will show the credit in Czech currency.

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Valuable inscription lay under the Charles Bridge

About 4 million people visit Charles Bridge in Prague every year. The statues on Charles Bridge, many of which are still original, are often damaged by vandals. The last case happened last week when an unknown vandal destroyed the inscription on the statue The Crucifix and Calvary.

Yesterday from 9 a.m. groups of scuba divers were searching for the remains of the inscription. They were lucky to find 3 parts of it. They will continue today to find the rest. Since the inscription lay on the bottom of the Vltava river, it is likely, that the inscription was not damaged because of religious reasons.

There is not a single statue on Charles Bridge that has not been damaged yet. Many times tourists take a part of the statue as a souvenir or for gold it contains. Mostly stolen or damaged objects are toes of the statues and heads of angels. There will be probably more patrols and better camera system to fight the vandalism soon.

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More expensive postage to Europe

From today everybody who wants to send a postcard, a letter or a parcel to European countries from the Czech Republic has to pay more. Ceska posta (Czech Post) announced that the prices will rise in the range of 1 CZK to 60 CZK.

Everybody who wants to send a postcard or a letter (until 20 grams) to Europe has to pay 11 CZK instead of 10 CZK. Also sending a parcel will be more expensive. For example for a parcel whose weight is between 1 and 2 kg you have to pay 60 CZK more. On the other hand, letters and parcels sent to non-European countries will be cheaper.

Why did the post change its tariff? According to international European contracts, the post pays 80 % of the domestic tariff to the country of the addressee. The speaker of Ceska posta said that Ceska posta just wants to give fair money to their partners in other countries.

Prague has the most centenarians

Prague is on top of the list that counts people at the age of 100 or even more. There are 673 people in the Czech Republic that are 100 years old or older. 105 of them are men.

In Prague’s region there are 107 centenarians. Prague is also the only region in the country where the number of seniors is higher than the number of children. There are 185 000 seniors which is 15.6 % of all Prague’s inhabitants, while 12,3% are children under 15 years old.

Why are Prague people living so long? First of all it is the good quality and easy accessibility of the medical care. Seniors in Prague can chose from a wild range of activities in their free time. Universities, private agencies and libraries also offer a lot of courses for further education. Students more than 80 years old are not exceptions there.

Devil's Bible will come to Prague

One of the most precious books of the world and also the largest manuscript in the Medieval times, Codex gigas, will come to Prague. The book is often called the Devil’s Bible because of a large drawing of a devil on the inside.

The book was written at the turn of the 12th and 13th century in Benedictine monastery of Podlazice near Chrudim. It is 1 meter long and 50 centimeters wide and it weights 75 kilograms. The Swedish took it as war booty, now it is kept in Swedish Royal Library.

The National Library in Prague will borrow the book in autumn for about 3 months. The Devil’s Bible has been only lent to Metropolitan Museum in New York City and Berlin’s library so far. The National Library of the Czech Republic will digitize the manuscript so that everybody can study it.

According to a legend, which gave the book its nickname, a monk, after having committed a serious sin, was supposed to be walled up alive. He promised to write the largest book ever in one day to avoid the punishment. He asked a devil for help and the book was written. To show his gratitude he draw the devil on page 290 on the manuscript.

Homeless people board from today

Homeless people in Prague have finally more places to sleep at night. Yesterday they could see for the first time the interior of their new cheap hostel – a ship on the Vltava river. It is anchored near the Stefanikuv bridge on the left bank of the river. Today this 74 meters long ship called Herman, finished just a few days ago, accommodates the first tenants.

Homeless people who want to sleep on the ship have to show their willingness to find a job, work, educate themselves and be regularly checked up by doctors. The ship is divided into three section. Section A is something like a “first class” accommodation meant for people who want to fully cooperate and become a part of the society again. Section B is only for people who seek for a cheap place to sleep. Section C is meant for women.

Homeless people have to pay 20 CZK per night. They can board at 7.30 p.m. and they have to leave the ship at 6.30 a.m. In the meantime the ship will be cleaned and repaired. No pets, alcohol and smoking is allowed.

Prague's gala premiere of Forman's Goya

As a big cultural event can be called the premiere of Milos Forman’s new film Goya’s Ghosts in Slovansky Dum in the centre of Prague yesterday. Milos Forman, born in the former Czechoslovakia, introduced his new film 7 years after the last one. Milos Forman is known worldwide by films Amadeus, Valmont, or The people vs. Larry Flynt.

People outside the cinema and inside in three full halls were waiting for the stars of the film. Together with the director Milos Forman they could see the actors Natalie Portman and Javier Bardem, screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrier and one of the composers of the film music Varhan Bauer.

The guests invited for the premiere were Czech celebrities, such as Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, actor Zdenek Sverak (Kolja), singer Karel Gott or writer Michal Viewegh. Film is shown today in 25 cinemas in the Czech Republic.

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