Turkey will celebrate the centenary of the Republic in autumn. On this occasion, it would like to erect a statue of the first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in Prague 6.
The town hall is considering the request. Eight years ago, the Turks failed in Karlovy Vary with the same plan because of Armenian protests.
Earlier this year, the district head of Prague 6, Jakub Stárka, and the deputy head of the district, Václav Koženy, met with the Turkish ambassador to the Czech Republic, Egemen Bağış. They discussed the statue as a means of strengthening the ties between Prague and the Republic of Turkey.
The statue is supposed to be placed in the park next to Ankarská and Na Větrník streets. It should be around three meters high and standing on a pedestal that is one and a half meters high.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the founding father of the Republic of Turkey. Originally a field marshal, he served as the first president of the Republic of Turkey since its founding in 1923 until his death in 1938. While celebrated both in Turkey and around the world as one of the most important politicians of the 20th century, he remains a controversial figure.
Atatürk is known for his Turkification policy and is often regarded as a contributor to the ethnic cleansing of Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians in Turkey.
While this is a topic of debate for some historians, many agree that Atatürk was actively involved in the Armenian genocide in the first years of the 1920s. Turkey continues denying the genocide up to this day.
Due to the controversy surrounding Atatürk, many question if a statue in Prague 6 would be appropriate, with some even openly opposing it.
However, if the statue is actually going to be built is not certain yet. Prague Morning contacted Marek Zeman, the media spokesperson of Prague 6.
Mr. Zeman confirmed that Prague 6 is currently consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the future of the statue, as the district understands the difficulties that come with the statue.
Prague Morning also reached out to the Turkish embassy in Prague but was met with no response.
Originally from Croatia, Saša Babić is the owner of the prestigious Croatian restaurant located in Modřany. The name of the restaurant? Deco.
Babić came to Prague in 2004 and first worked as a cook in several restaurants across the city. It was in 2012 that he opened his own restaurant. According to him, the idea was to start small, but the business boomed within the first week.
“At the beginning, it was only me and one waiter. But after the first week, we realized we couldn’t do it on our own because the turn-up was so big,” says Mr. Babić. The restaurant currently employs 14 people. “It only goes to show the quality of our food. And it is that same quality that we try to maintain to this day.”
Indeed, Babić takes great pride in the food he serves. Deco’s menu mainly consists of fish and seafood. Among the many types of seafood, guests can try are seabass, gilt-head bream, shrimps, and octopus. The produce is largely imported from Croatia.
“We always have somebody from the restaurant going to Croatia to bring the produce. For example, my son just came back with a fresh round of cheese and meats,” says Babić.
Meat is also a part of Deco’s menu. Visitors can try Croatian and Balkan delicacies such as pršut (dry-cured ham typical for the Croatian region of Dalmatia) and kulen (a flavored sausage typical for the Croatian region of Slavonija). Deco also serves homemade ćevapi (grilled minced meat typical for the Balkan region).
Also on the menu are other Croatian delicacies, such as paški sir (cheese from the island of Pag) and different kinds of oils, all imported from Croatia.
Their drink menu features traditional Croatian wines, as well as different types of rakija (fruit spirits popular in the Balkans). Indeed, Babić strives to represent the wonders of Croatian cuisine in the most authentic way possible.
“Before coming to Prague, I used to work for a restaurant in Istria, Croatia. So, when I came to Prague and opened my restaurant, it was important to me to do it right, because there are not a lot of Croatian restaurants in the Czech Republic,” he said.
And that authenticity has been paying off. According to Babić, Deco’s Croatian cuisine is a success among the locals and the tourists alike.
“We can see that the hard work we put into this restaurant has been paying off by the rave reviews guests leave. We have a lot of people who come back regularly. The best thing for me is when I see my restaurant packed to the brim.”
The quality of the restaurant has also been recognized by TopLife Czech, a company dedicated to promoting quality lifestyle and gastronomy in the Czech Republic. They listed Deco as one of the top restaurants in the Czech Republic in 2023.
However, some changes are ahead. Deco is currently switching locations. Their current building, located in Komořanská 15, is awaiting demolition and the property is going to be repurposed. Deco is moving some 100 meters away, as they were given a bigger space nearby.
Although the new space is bigger, the decorum will stay the same, reminiscent of a true coastal ambiance. Babić and his team are currently busy relocating and decorating the new building, which should be opened in the middle of September this year.
“We are doing everything to make this transition run smoothly. It’s going to take us a couple of months and a lot of nerves and energy, but I firmly believe we can do this. And the capacity of the new restaurant is going to be bigger. For example, we’ll have a nice outdoor terrace with around 50 chairs,” he adds.
“I’d just like to thank all of our regular guests who have been coming here for the past 12 years. We are going to try to keep the quality of the restaurants the same that it always has been.”
The Prague City Technology Company (THMP) has been installing new tram stop shelters throughout Prague over the past few months.
Since the project’s commencement in 2021, numerous old tram stop shelters have been replaced. However, some of these newly installed shelters are already being… dismantled.
According to THMP, the reason for this is “digitization”.
Czech daily iDnes reported that JCDecaux owned the tram stop shelters until mid-2021. Afterward, the city of Prague obtained them, and THMP initiated their modernization in December 2021 by placing the first redesigned tram stop shelter in Velká Ohrada.
The shelters’ shape was designed by studio Olgoj Chorchoj. They are made of dark aluminum and feature a screen that displays the stop’s name, current time, and departure information. The primary purpose of these shelters is to standardize the appearance of Prague’s tram stops and provide easier navigation for passengers.
The initial design also includes electrical connections for passengers to charge their phones. Additionally, tram stops with high traffic volumes are equipped with digital screens that display additional information, such as potential traffic accidents.
Prague paid 834.8 million CZK, including VAT, for the installation of the new tram stop shelters, with dozens already in place. The goal is to have approximately 700 shelters installed throughout Prague by the end of the year.
Nevertheless, some of these are now being removed to make way for the installation of digital screens, which will serve advertising purposes and provide additional information to passengers.
In the first phase of modernization, 30 shelters, including those at Šumavská and Právnická fakulta tram stops, will be removed, while a total of 185 tram stops are expected to have digital screens installed in the future.
These shelters had to be dismantled and transported back to the production plant. However, it remains unclear why fully digitized tram stop shelters could not be installed directly and why THMP decided to install new ones only to remove them shortly after for an upgrade.
Although the project is funded by the city of Prague, it is uncertain how much additional money the city will have to allocate for the removal and reinstallation of the tram stop shelters.
After recent renovations, Mr. Falafel came back stronger than ever! Under the new name Palestinian Restaurant, Mr. Ziyad’s flavor oasis, located in Spálená street, now stands as the only Prague-based restaurant with Palestine in its name.
Prague Morning spoke to Mr. Ziyad and his daughter, Klara.
Mr. Ziyad bought the place in 2019. At first, it was just a regular Kebab shop, a fast-food corner like many others in Prague. In 2021, he started to give the place a more unique flare.
Mr. Ziyad comes from Nazareth, Palestine. However, his connection to the Czech Republic goes way back. He first studied in the Czech Republic, then moved back to Palestine, and ultimately returned to Czechia in 2000. His restaurant is his way of bringing his culture to the heart of Europe.
“Palestinian people live all around the world and I want to show the importance of our culture through food,” says Mr. Ziyad. “During history, we’ve lost a lot of our land, but we don’t want to lose our culture.”
Palestinian Restaurant serves a diverse menu consisting of Palestinian and middle-eastern specialties: hummus and falafel, shawarma, Arabic bread, the Palestinian musakhan (a dish composed of roasted chicken, nuts, and other ingredients, served over taboon bread), and more. They also serve sweets, such as baklava and basbousa, and a selection of salads.
Almost everything in the restaurant is homemade and follows the recipes Mr. Ziyad took a long time to perfect.
“I am not a trained cook and it was hard in the beginning because I was doing it all by myself,” he says. “I talked to my family members back in Palestine who own a restaurant and they gave me some tips and useful advice on how to prepare some of the dishes. I would try new techniques and give the food for a taste test to people on the street. The feedback was very positive and I was encouraged to keep trying.”
His efforts paid off. With a large number of regular customers and a constant influx of tourists, Mr. Ziyad’s food is highly respected, while some even referred to his hummus and falafel as “the best they’ve ever tried.” The restaurant currently has seven employees.
And while it started as a small, bistro-sized food corner, Mr. Ziyad recently renovated and opened the doors to a bigger space that truly evokes the Middle East. With custom-made paintings of Palestinian cities hanging on the walls and oriental music played through the speakers, Palestinian Restaurant draws you in with its unique feeling.
Other than just expanding in size, the restaurant also expanded its menu. They got a brand-new grill, and have added grilled meat to their daily offer. They soon plan on adding more meals, such as knafeh, a popular dessert made of pastry, syrup, and cheese, according to Klara, Mr. Ziyad’s daughter.
Quality and trust are of the highest importance to Mr. Ziyad. He placed his falafel machine at the front of his store, visible from the outside, so that people can enjoy seeing not only what he makes, but how he makes it. He wants his food to evoke the feeling of home.
“Some of the things my father makes are foods that are not typical for restaurants, but are something that people serve in their homes, like hummus with eggs and even musakhan” explains Klara. The homemade feeling is one of the restaurant’s aspects Mr. Ziyad is most proud of.
“I started this place from scratch. It is my baby. And I love when people come in thinking that I’ve been doing this for a long time. I haven’t. It’s only been a couple of years! It shows the quality. And I love when people stop by to take pictures of the place” Mr. Ziyad adds.
However, the renovations are not completely over and Mr. Ziyad is still planning on upgrading the front of the restaurant, as well as adding more things to the menu.
As for the future, he is thinking of turning his restaurant into a bigger chain, although that is not his priority right now.
Palestinian Restaurant is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm.
42 Prague is a school offering a unique approach to world-class education in coding and IT. It operates in English and follows a peer-to-peer approach with a curriculum that does not include teachers or student textbooks.
Prague Morning spoke to the team of 42 Prague.
Located in Kolbenova 1021/9 in Prague 9, 42 Prague opened its doors on May 1st, 2022. It belongs to an international coding network called 42, which was founded in Paris in 2013 with the primary purpose of providing high-quality education in IT programming, free of charge.
42 Prague follows a non-traditional educational approach. There are no classrooms, teachers, or textbooks. The school’s curriculum is based on a peer-to-peer evaluation approach, where collaboration between students is not only highly encouraged but necessary.
“Students here are one big ecosystem. A community that’s helping each other in learning. Somebody knows something and the other person knows something else better. So, they help each other and learn from each other,” says Nicolas, Head of IT & Pedago.
The students are given documentation on the projects they need to develop. However, no teachers or textbooks are telling them how to do so. Students need to learn how to code through practice and collaboration with others. Mistakes are encouraged as they are a crucial part of practical learning. Indeed, practical learning is the foundation of the school’s
“At our school, it’s not like you are going for a class to hear about algorithms and what coding is. You do coding. I had an interview with our student from last year. He also goes to a different university where they teach coding. He told me that he worked with more actual codes in the first week at our school than in the three years at his university,” says David,
Marketing Lead at 42 Prague.
However, you do not need to know coding to apply. Around 50% of those who initially apply have no experience in programming, according to Eudald, Pedago Assistant at 42 Prague.
But, while the number of applicants counts in thousands (2050 in 2022; over 6000 in 2023), the school accepts 80-130 with each round of applications, and applicants need to go through several stages of application to be admitted to the curriculum.
First, you need to register. Then, you need to get through the first round: the logic games.
These are the games designed to evaluate which of the applicants thinks in a way suitable for the program. Once these games are passed, the applicant goes through an introductory meeting, followed by the step called “piscine”.
Piscine (French for “pool”) is a 4-week intense immersive camp, where the applicants spend 26 days learning the basics of coding through the programing language C – the basis for allthe other programming languages. Once the Piscine is over, the school chooses the final round of applicants who can enter the Curriculum. Due to the intensity, some students opt out themselves.
Included in the curriculum are the core, the specialization, and two paid internships.
Students can either find the internships themselves or apply to some of the companies the school partners with. Some of these workplaces include Škoda Auto, Trask, ČSOB, SAP, and Digiteq Automotive.
However, the school’s biggest financial provider and founding partner is Škoda Auto. It is Škoda that initially helped kickstart the whole project in the Czech Republic.
“Škoda Auto saw this project as an opportunity,” explains Peter, CEO of the institute. “They saw what the other 42 branches in Europe were doing and they know that the Czech IT market currently has around 30 000 job positions in demand. So, they found this school in Prague, because it will ultimately bring them educated developers and IT workers.”
Because of the financial help from Škoda and companies including Trask, ČSOB, and Microsoft, 42 Prague does not charge any tuition fees and ultimately offers education for free. And due to the level of professionalism these companies require from their future employees, the school makes sure to keep its curriculum up to date with the newest technology.
“For example, AI is a very big thing right now, so we want our students to experience working with that,” says Nicolas. “The main part of our curriculum is specialization. Our specializations include web development, game development, robotics, algorithm design, and much more. However, we do not stop there. We are focusing on the most up-to-date
solutions for the Czech Republic.”
The school is currently finalizing the new round of applicants, while the next round starts in September. Moreover, 42 Prague is going to have an open day on July 25th. If interested in visiting the school and learning more, you can register here.
The one thing the school is most proud of is its diversity and its community, according to Tetiana, Head of Non-profit Development.
“We are open to everyone, no matter their experience, education, or background. We have 19 different nationalities attending the current Piscine as of June 15th, and 36% of our attendees are women. It is really important to us to create a diverse community where everyone can come,” she concludes.
Místní místním is an NGO that connects local businesses into a network that provides small services to people in need, free of charge. Prague Morning spoke to two members of the organization.
The main focus of Místní místním is the creation of a “Solidarity Network” of local businesses that help, support, and empower those in need, such as people without a home or the people with lower income, through providing services including free Wi-Fi, free water, free food, and free entertainment.
Místní místním’s “Solidarity Network” currently consists of 23 places, covering 8 Prague districts. The network includes multiple cafés, restaurants, community centers, two second-hand shops, two libraries, and a theater. Those in need are free to come and are then provided services, as much as each of the places is able or willing to give.
“Once we get in touch with a new local business and include them in our network, we try to make sure that they are fine with the values of our organization, which are respect, communication, and inclusion,” says Ester Pacltová, one of the founders of Místní místním. “We don’t discriminate against anyone.”
Indeed, Místní místním wants to break the barriers of communication between those in need and those who can help, where inclusivity plays a major role. The idea originally came to Ester in 2017, after working with people without homes in the organization Naděje.
“While working for Naděje, I’ve seen that many people without a home have these small needs that we would easily be able to fulfill as a society if we didn’t have the barriers and the stereotypes,” Ester explains.
She soon surveyed 150 people without homes and saw that the majority of them agreed that access to services such as free Wi-Fi, water, food, or just a place to sit and rest could improve their life quality considerably.
Místní místním started by creating a network of 4 cafés willing to offer services to those in need, which has since expanded rapidly and keeps on doing so. Up until today, they have helped numerous people, while those involved in their solidarity network feel enriched by the experience of helping too.
“I think the best thing about the (Místní místním’s) project is that it helps to reduce stereotypes in society towards people without homes. It also teaches us about ourselves, how to set and keep boundaries, how to communicate and help without being taken advantage of,” reads the testimony by prostor39, a cultural space that is a part of Místní místním’s Solidarity Network.
But what are some of those negative stereotypes and misconceptions about those without homes and those in need, according to Místní místním?
“People often assume that people without homes are drunk and on drugs most of the time and that they are not able to function within the general public. For some of the people without homes, this is true, but it’s not for most of them,” says Tereza Malá, a member of Místní místním.
“The definition of homelessness is much broader,” explains Ester. “People without homes are not only those living in the streets, but living in inadequate or sub-standard housing. So, the group of people without homes is actually bigger than what society thinks.”
The exact number of people without homes is not known precisely. The Ministry of Social Affairs conducted a survey in 2022 and found that 270 00 people in the Czech Republic needed adequate housing, while 18 000 were living with no roof over their heads. The survey was only conducted among those with Czech citizenship, meaning that the number could be higher.
However, it is not only those without homes that require help.
“That is also a common misconception about our organization – that we only help people with no home,” explains Tereza. “We also help people who have homes, but can’t afford coffee, people who don’t have jobs, and other people in need.”
A big necessity for those in need is regular access to a cell phone, according to Ester and Tereza. Místní místním’s latest project collects old phone donations. Chargers and SIM cards are also welcome.
“Having a phone is a bare minimum for people to look for a job or stay in contact with their families,” explains Tereza. “One of the common misconceptions is that people in need do not want to get help. And I believe that society just doesn’t give them enough opportunities to even try. People will not give them jobs because they think they are on alcohol or drugs, but also because they don’t have a phone on which they can be reached.”
The phone donations started in May, and Místní místním has since collected over a hundred phones, 51 of which were donated by Nadační Fond Simony Kijonkové and 36 of which were donated by Remobil. The donations are going to be checked for functionality and sent to several NGOs and organizations, such as Naděje or La Strada, that will then distribute them to those in need.
The donations are still open and you can contact Místní místním if you would like to donate. The contact list can be found on their website. Additionally, you can support Místní místním’s cause through monetary donations here.
As for the future, Místní místním hopes to expand their solidarity network even further, possibly including businesses such as pet shops and hairdressers. However, the first step is to stabilize the organization fully. They are currently backed by the Prague City Council but are ultimately looking for more funding.
“We want to achieve our dreams and expand the network as much as possible. We really want to help people in need stand on their own two feet and break the stereotypes that surround them in our society,” concludes Ester.