The fountain in the lower part of Wenceslas Square at Můstek began its season today.

The fountain’s awakening followed winter preparations and maintenance work, including electrical inspections, and cleaning of both the surface and underground parts. It will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“Just like last year, the illuminated water jets will enliven Wenceslas Square day and night. This summer, the fountain will offer cooling and relaxation in the heart of the city for both residents and visitors. It will remain in operation until mid-October, depending on weather conditions. Starting next spring, we plan to resume operations in May,” said Michal Hroza, head of the City of Prague’s Infrastructure Council.

The fountain, with water jets reaching heights of 2 to 5 meters, was created as a recreational and calming feature during the lower square’s reconstruction, designed by architect Petr Kučera.

It was first launched in May 2022.

The square feature covers 16 square meters and consists of 16 jets set in LED reflectors embedded in walkable granite slabs. The facility includes an engine room with a 2,000-liter storage tank located in an underground shaft.

Controlled by a computer system, the fountain operates in recirculation mode, promoting ecological and energy-efficient operation.

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Over 200 works, including prints, drawings, paintings, and even jewelry, will be showcased in a new exhibition at the National Gallery Prague (NGP).

The collaboration with the Louvre Museum in Paris delves into the fascinating world of Mannerist printmaking.

The exhibition will explore the evolution of this artistic style, known for its imaginative flourishes and symbolic content. It will feature works from 16th-century art centers across Europe, including Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic itself, and France.

Mannerism emerged in Italy from the visual language of the High Renaissance and quickly gained international prominence. It is characterized by a refined elegance, rich imagination, and affinity for symbols and hidden meanings.

Printmaking played a pivotal role in its rapid dissemination, while also establishing itself as an independent artistic discipline during this period, and attaining both technical and artistic excellence. Most of the public knew the key works of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Giulio Romano, and the magnificent decoration of the French royal residence at Fontainebleau only through the medium of prints.

This exhibition traces the evolution of Mannerist graphic art, exploring its experiments, originality, and connections with other art forms, while testifying to its role in the artistic exchange between Italy and other European countries.

The exhibition benefits from an exceptionally generous loan from the graphic collection of the Musée du Louvre, particularly the rare collection donated to the museum by the renowned art collector Edmond de Rothschild. Some of these artworks have never been exhibited publicly before.

A genuinely exceptional addition to the Prague exhibition is a drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The display will feature an array of works by master engravers and etchers, including Parmigianino, Schiavone, Cornelis Cort, Hendrick Goltzius, Aegidius Sadeler, Jacques Bellange, Jacques Callot, and many others.

More info:

From May 17 until August 11, 2024
Where: Waldstein Riding School
Opening time: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00–18:00


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Celebrated Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland has begun production on her latest project, a biographical look at Franz Kafka.

This news comes after months of pre-development, with cameras officially rolling in April 2024.

Titled “Franz,” the movie will delve into the life of the iconic writer, weaving a narrative tapestry from his birth in late 19th century Prague to his passing in Berlin decades later.

Filming is primarily taking place in the heart of Prague, with locations chosen in Malá Strana and Old Town, areas close to Kafka’s birthplace in 1883.

The screenplay, co-written by Holland and Czech collaborator Marek Epstein, aims to provide a fresh perspective on Kafka.

Rather than a straightforward biography, the film promises a “kaleidoscopic mosaic” that incorporates not only factual elements but also interpretations and even glimpses into Kafka’s dreams and inner world, gleaned from his letters.

German-Jewish actor Idan Weiss takes on the task of portraying Kafka in his feature film debut, as confirmed by casting information reported in Variety. Filming in Prague is expected to continue until May, with additional scenes planned for locations in Germany.

“Kafka was a man of great sensitivity and ill-suited to his time,” says Holland. “We have a much better chance of understanding him today than his peers had a century ago. He was the soul of the third millennium: a man living mentally largely outside the reality of his body, living in the world of letters as intensely as today’s man is living his life on social networks.

“To understand Kafka, we want to carefully piece together fragments from Kafka’s past and creation to create a mosaic beyond not only his life toward the present, but also to create a comprehensive view of the dramatic world of Kafka’s imagination.”

Kafka, a German-speaking Jewish Bohemian famous for surrealist and nightmarish visions, was behind such enduring works as “The Metamorphosis,” “The Trial” and “The Castle.”

This production comes just ahead of the 100th anniversary of Kafka’s death on June 3, 1924. Throughout 2024, Prague will be hosting various events to commemorate this literary giant.

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This weekend, on March 23rd and 24th, marks the launch of the new tourist train season in Prague and the Central Bohemian Region.

If you’re interested in exploring the beauty of Central Bohemia, you can look forward to both classic rides to popular tourist destinations and some new routes.

In addition to the popular nostalgic trips to Posázaví, steam trains will also be heading to Dobříš and Rožmitál pod Třemšínem this year.

Families with children and cyclists can once again plan weekend getaways to the Slánsko region on the Cyklohráček train. Additionally, this summer, the Cyklohráček will offer special weekday excursions to new destinations beyond Central Bohemia.

Petr Tomčík, ROPID Director: “This year, for the eleventh time, our special joint train for small and big trippers – the Cyklohráček – will set off from Prague to Slany.”

Popular train routes to Český Ráj (Bohemian Paradise) and the Brda region are still available, along with a variety of events organized by Czech Railways (ČD) in cooperation with the City of Prague, the Central Bohemian Region, Prague Integrated Transport (PID), and other partners.

The tourist train season runs until October 28th.

The Central Bohemian Region is also attracting visitors with its ever-expanding network of cycling paths accessible from railway stations. This allows visitors to combine a scenic train ride with a refreshing bike adventure.

Jakub Goliáš, ČD Regional Director: “Steam train fans can look forward to a number of nostalgic rides throughout the season. Some carriages of the historic train set, which provides most of the nostalgic trains, have undergone reconstruction before this season.”

More info here (in Czech)


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The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra invites you to an unforgettable open-air concert on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, at 8:15 PM, at the Prague Castle.

Under the baton of conductor Petr Altrichter, the orchestra will feature works by Czech composers like Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Zdeněk Fibich, and Vítězslav Novák.

The concert, lasting approximately 70 minutes, will start at 8:15 PM on Hradčanské náměstí.

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, founded 128 years ago in Prague, stands as the nation’s most revered symphony orchestra.

In 2008, it was ranked among the top 20 orchestras in the world by Gramophone magazine.

Here’s the full program: 

Antonín Dvořák:
Slavnostní pochod, op. 54a (6′)
Slovanský tanec č. 7 c moll, op. 46 (3′)
Rondo pro violoncello a orchestr g moll, op. 94 (8′)
Pekelný tanec z 2. dějství opera Čert a Káča (4′)
“Od dětství ku oltáři”, árie Svaté Ludmily z oratoria Svatá Ludmila (4′)
“Když mne stará matka”, píseň z cyklu Cigánské melodie, op. 55 (2′)

Zdeněk Fibich:
Poem ze selanky V podvečer, op. 39 (5′)

Bedřich Smetana:
“A ty mé robě”, ukolébavka z 1. dějství opery Hubička (4′)
“Já ale zůstanu”, árie Přemysla z 2. dějství opery Libuše (3′)
Furiant z 2. dějství opera Prodaná nevěsta (2′)

Vítězslav Novák:
U muziky, 4. část ze Slovácké suity pro malý orchestr, op. 32 (4′)

Antonín Dvořák:
“Jářku, jářku, klouče milé…”, duet Hajného a Kuchtíka z 2. dějství opera Rusalka (4′)


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Prague hoteliers are celebrating record guest numbers during the traditionally slow winter months. Occupancy rates reaching 90% paint a clear picture: Prague is shedding its seasonal skin, attracting tourists year-round.

This positive development is echoed in a press release by Czech Inn Hotels, citing data from consulting firm STR for January. The report reveals a surge in winter tourism, effectively erasing the city’s usual seasonality.

January sales soared by nearly 24% year-on-year, placing the Czech Republic fourth in Europe behind Turkey, Malta, and Russia (Germany ranked fifth).

“Thankfully, the trend in occupancy and costs is optimistic,” says Jaroslav Svoboda, owner of Czech Inn Hotels. “However, let’s not get carried away; we’re still far from 2019 pre-pandemic levels.”

This “happy surprise,” as Svoboda calls it, has disrupted the traditional off-season. January typically sees a significant drop in occupancy, but this year, the decrease compared to other months was much smaller. In fact, Prague hotels saw a 10% year-on-year increase in occupancy.

“We were expecting extensive renovations during the off-season,” Svoboda admits, “but instead, we’re seeing 90% occupancy at some hotels. It creates logistical challenges, but ultimately, it’s a welcome surprise.”

The Czech Statistical Office (CSO) also confirms the trend. In the fourth quarter of 2023, 4.7 million guests visited the Czech Republic, an 8.5% year-on-year increase. Over 22 million guests stayed in Czech hotels last year.

“While the summer season was positive,” says Roman Mikula, head of the Tourism and Environment Statistics Department at CSO, “the fourth quarter didn’t quite surpass 2019 levels. The total number of arrivals and overnight stays fell short. However, there’s a bright side: domestic tourism flourished, with residents making up almost half of all guests, compared to less than a third pre-pandemic.”

The composition of guests has also shifted. Germans, Slovaks, and Poles are now the most frequent foreign visitors. “Austrians are a rare sight,” explains Svoboda, “due to the lack of a direct motorway connection, making the journey time-consuming by train.”

“We miss guests from further afield, particularly Asians and Americans. Hopefully, this will change in the coming years.”

Menzies Aviation has installed almost 900 solar panels on its 14,000m2 cargo facility and a neighboring administrative building at Prague Airport – which will reportedly save almost 140 tons of CO2 each year.

The panels are set to produce more than 350MWh annually and reduce emissions across Menzies’ Prague operations by 25%.

Electricity being generated by the solar panels is being used to power operations at the warehouse and charge Menzies’ fleet of electric ground support equipment.

Katy Reid, head of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Menzies Aviation, said: “Building a fair and sustainable future is a key priority for Menzies, which is why we’re working hard to achieve the ambitious targets set out in our All In sustainability plan. The installation of nearly 900 solar panels at Prague Airport is just one example of how we’re matching our ambition with action by taking practical steps to slash emissions and meet our net zero targets.”

Soňa Hykyšová, sustainability, environment and ESG director at Prague Airport, added, “We are glad that Menzies Aviation is also trying to reduce emissions and, like Prague Airport, is committed to net carbon neutrality. Last year, we achieved a 59.5% reduction in emissions compared with 2009. We expect to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 and net carbon neutrality by 2050.”

“However, we know that the road ahead is not easy. Roughly 85% of emissions are generated by third parties – i.e. our suppliers and airlines. Therefore, we also motivate them to reduce emissions, for example, by offering green electricity. We are also active in this direction and plan to expand the use of photovoltaic panels on more suitable buildings at the airport.”

On February 14, 1945, the American Air Force carried out an air raid over Prague which ranks as the most futile attack on Czech territory of the Second World War.

Seventy-eight years later it is still not clear whether the attack was an accident caused by bad weather conditions and the fact Prague and Dresden looked similar from the air, or whether it was a deliberate attack.

Due to low visibility, and some apparent similarity in the layout between the two cities from the air, the American forces dropped over 150 tons of bombs over the Czech capital, resulting in what was easily the worst destruction Prague saw during WWII – and perhaps, in its history.

While much of the historical center was spared, the bombs hit nearby districts in New Town, Vinohrady, Vyšehrad, Vršovice, Nusle, and elsewhere.

701 people died during the attack, which wounded a further 1,184. While air raid sirens went off during the bombing, it has been theorized that many citizens ignored them, having become accustomed to the familiar sounds that ring out each month.

Buildings such as the 14th-century Emmaus Monastery in Vyšehrad and the 17th-century Faust House by Karlovo náměstí were mostly destroyed and later rebuilt.

But the Vinohrady Synagogue, the largest Jewish Synagogue in Prague and one of the largest in the world at the time, was not so lucky. It was also hit by the bombs, and while it could have been preserved, Nazi occupiers in control of the city allowed it to burn to the ground. Today, it’s all but forgotten.

All the casualties were civilians, and not one of the city’s factories which could have been of use to the Wermacht was damaged.

One of the bombed houses belonged to a butcher called Maceška. In the course of clear-up, rescuers uncovered one cellar which was empty. However, in 1970, when the building was excavated, workers discovered another cellar with 23 human skeletons inside.

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, Nazi forces used the attack to stir anti-American sentiment and justify their presence. Years later, communist forces would do the same.

The American pilots have voiced their regret many times, and some of them apologized to the relatives of the victims personally. But they have always maintained it was a mistake, and that the city which they were meant to destroy was Dresden, not Prague.

Residents of Prague 5 have raised concerns about the presence of drug users in certain areas. In response, the district plans to deploy trained outreach workers starting in April to address potential issues and offer support.

Prague 5 Mayor Radka Šimková (Praha Sobě) announced the initiative, highlighting the need for “professionals with the necessary training to communicate with drug users, de-escalate tense situations, and assess the need for further intervention, such as medical attention or social services.”

The district will issue a tender seeking organizations with relevant experience to provide at least two workers, with the possibility for more depending on proposals.

The program will initially focus on Na Skalce Park in Smíchov and Husovy Sady in Košíře, areas identified as experiencing an increased presence of drug users. However, the initiative remains flexible, with Šimková stating,

“We have conditions that allow us to change locations as needed to address emerging concerns.” Residents of Barrandov have also recently voiced concerns, and the program may expand to include their community.

Beyond engaging with drug users and offering support, the outreach workers will also monitor public order and address cleanliness concerns. Depending on their training, they may alert authorities to discarded needles and syringes or dispose of them safely themselves.

The initiative comes amid ongoing discussions about Prague’s broader approach to drug use.

Last year, Prague 5 closed a contact center for drug users on Mahenova Street, leaving only the Sananim center on Na Skalce Street and the controversial substitution treatment clinic on Bieblova Street operational in the district.

Experts have long emphasized the importance of accessible and evenly distributed contact centers offering harm reduction services, including injection equipment exchange and medical or psychological help. Since 2009, several such centers in Prague have closed, leaving only two operational.

However, there is hope for change. The current city hall coalition has appointed former mayor and addiction specialist Pavel Bem (ODS) to lead the commission on tackling drug-related challenges, and he is actively seeking new locations to expand the network and improve accessibility across the city.

Have you heard about the Vietnamese district in Prague called SAPA or Prague’s “Little Hanoi”?

It is a genuinely different world with authentic Vietnamese food, Buddhist temple, and street vendors. Let’s explore more what this place can offer to one-day visitors.

What is SAPA in Prague

You might already notice that we don’t have any cultural districts in Prague, referring to inhabitants from different countries. The only exception is the Vietnamese district on the outskirts of Prague.

Vietnamese are the third-largest minority of foreigners in Prague, just after Ukrainians and Slovakians. Vietnamese came to former communist Czechoslovakia for work and studies. With the fall of communism in 1989, the majority of them decided to stay and made the Czech Republic their permanent home.

SAPA became a cultural and trading district of the Vietnamese community in Prague around 2000 when the former poultry farm closed and the whole compound became available.

It is not particularly nice, but it is an interesting place to visit. SAPA is called by media as “city inside the city,” where you can find many authentic Vietnamese restaurants, food stands, specialized grocery stores, but also schools, places for various social events and weddings, and of course, the Buddhist temple.

Explore Little Vietnam

SAPA is an excellent place for food lovers. It does not matter if you would prefer to eat authentic Vietnamese food in a restaurant, order something quickly in a street stand, or shop a grocery for your culinary experiments back home.

What you should not miss is the traditional Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk at the bottom. Do you know that Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee just after Brazil?

Vietnamese coffee beans are mostly Robusta beans with cocoa or chocolate flavors, so definitely worthwhile to try. You can buy it easily from street vendors for about 30 CZK (about 1 EUR). You can have it with a wide choice of traditional Vietnamese snacks that you won’t find anywhere else in Prague.

If you would prefer to shop for unusual Asian ingredients for your cooking at home, SAPA is the right place where to find it. You can find here various rice noodles, cilantro, fish sauce, sweet potatoes, dried mushrooms, durian, and many others.

The majority of products are transported right from Asia since the SAPA market serves as the main transit area for the whole of Eastern Europe. Besides the Vietnamese specialties, you can find here also the Korean market with traditional kimchi, Korean pears, sesame oil, gochujang, or various Korean snacks.

Besides the food, SAPA is also a central place for shopping for products made in Asia. You can find here various clothing, accessories such as sunglasses, kitchenware, but also Vietnamese books, hair salons, and manicures. Just don’t forget to bargain while shopping here!

How to get to SAPA

You can find SAPA on the outskirts of Prague. From the city center, you can take a metro red line to metro stop Kačerov, and then bus 113 to Sídliště Písnice. The entrance to SAPA is just in front of the bus stop.

It takes about 30 minutes to get there. Another option is from Smíchovské nádraží (yellow metro line) and take bus 197 directly to Sídliště Písnice. Once you enter the SAPA, you will be in a different world…

In an interview with Czech Radio on Monday, President Petr Pavel underscored the advantages of the Czech Republic adopting the euro, emphasizing its advantages for the country’s export economy and the opportunity to actively shape the future of the eurozone.

Pavel initiated discussions on euro adoption in the country during his New Year’s speech, calling for strategic steps to facilitate the transition.

While Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura (ODS) currently dismisses the need for immediate consideration, Pavel argues that the Czech Republic’s strong export orientation aligns it closely with eurozone countries.

He suggests that actively participating in eurozone decisions, rather than passively accepting them, would be more beneficial for the nation.

President Pavel also highlighted the Czech Republic’s efforts to meet the Maastricht criteria this year, a prerequisite for joining the eurozone.

He proposed the establishment of a euro adoption officer within the government to demystify the euro debate, emphasizing the need for informed decision-making and long-term public education.

Pavel urged a careful examination of other countries’ experiences with euro adoption, dismissing fears of potential drawbacks and encouraging a more objective understanding of the fundamental political decision ahead.

Who’s in favour, who’s against

The Mayors and Independents and the Pirate Party, said they intend to push for the country to join the ERM exchange rate system next year and for that purpose they would like to see the government appoint a commissioner for euro adoption.

In the ERM system, the crown would be partially pegged to the euro and it is something that all applicants must undergo for a period of two years before the introduction of the common European currency. However, the Civic Democrats, the strongest party in government, have made it clear this will not happen during this government’s term in office.

The Civic Democrats argue that there is no point in entering the ERM system before reaching an agreement on a euro adoption date and this is not the time to discuss the issue. They moreover point out that businesses in Czechia are free to use the euro in their business transactions.

The other two other ruling parties, TOP 09 and the Christian Democrats, say they are committed to adopting the euro, but not in this government’s term in office.

The opposition parties are also against euro adoption and are increasingly vocal on the subject as the European elections draw close. Alena Schillerová, former finance minister and deputy chair of the ANO party, said ANO would definitely go into the elections saying that they do not want the euro.

In 2023, the Czech Republic witnessed a record-breaking 277,000 self-employed individuals terminating their businesses, marking the highest number since 1993, according to data from Imper.

The trend is attributed to economic uncertainties, escalating costs and increased administrative requirements such as mandatory data boxes.

Despite 68,000 entrepreneurs registering anew, mirroring the figures from 2022, the overall termination of businesses reflects a challenging economic environment.

Last year, 14,000 limited liability companies and 4,703 foreign individuals ceased to exist. Associations that ceased to exist were 3,424, and individuals engaged in agriculture also significantly felt the impact with 2,836 entities ending their activities, a notable increase from 812 in 2022

The termination of businesses in 2023 almost matched the previous record set in 1993 when over 278,000 self-employed individuals ended their businesses.

Factors contributing to this record include the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the legislative prohibition of the “black system,” effective from that year onwards. Throughout the years, the number of terminated businesses varied in the tens of thousands, with exceptions like 2013 when nearly 150,000 self-employed individuals ceased their activities and the post-COVID year 2022.

Tomáš Berger, the director of Imper, pointed out that the peak termination of activities occurred during February and March, coinciding with the introduction of the new obligation of the data box by the state.

This requirement likely served as a significant factor prompting many self-employed individuals to definitively terminate their activities.

Challenges were particularly notable in the restaurant sector with almost 22,000 closures, a significant surge from the previous year’s 6,209 closures. Masonry and locksmithing/toolmaking also experienced notable closures.

While January, was the preferred month to establish new companies, with 115,000 founded in total, entrepreneurs initiated businesses relatively evenly throughout the year.

Prague saw the highest number of new companies, followed by Brno and Ostrava, while Pardubice, Hradec Králové and Ústí nad Labem recorded fewer new businesses.

The breakdown of newly established companies showed that nearly 60 percent were self-employed individuals, followed by 24 percent limited liability companies, similar to the figures from 2022. Associations, communities of unit owners, joint-stock companies and endowment funds were also among the newly formed entities.

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