Praha / photo by Michal Vitásek
In a few month’s time Hotel Praha will be history. The construction of the modernist building situated in Hanspaulka started in 1975 and came to an end in 1981. Over 130 spacious hotel rooms, conference rooms, restaurants and a swimming pool took as much as 9800 m2. The building was designed with respect to the natural landform. All of the hotel’s rooms were facing south and had a view on the Prague Castle. Until 1989 Hotel Praha was used primarily by foreign delegations, Czechoslovak authorities and members of the Communist Party. Following the Velvet Revolution, the five-star hotel was taken over and run by the city. It was sold to a private investor in 2002. In spite of protests that took place back in July 2013, the authorities did not decide to protect Hotel Praha by putting the building on the list of cultural heritage sites. A complex of private schools will be erected on its grounds.
/ photos by Michal Šula
It’s Hrabal Day today!
The most prolific 20th century Czech writer was born 100 years ago. One way of celebrating this day is to… have a beer with Hrabal. How? Visit napivoshrabalem.cz and post a picture with a beer (or two) accompanied by a birthday card. Then just enjoy your drink! Optionally, you can visit Hrabal Wall in Prague, watch one of Jiří Menzel’s films based on his works, or simply read one of Hrabal’s books. Special events commemorating Bohumil Hrabal will take place today in Brno, Nymburk, Kersko, Polné na Jihlavsku, Plzeň and Prague.
How will Prague look like in the future? Check out these futuristic, Blade Runnerish graphics by Tomáš Müller.
The head of the lower house of the Czech parliament has banned the sale of alcohol on the premises during plenary sessions, ending an old tradition of selling cheap booze that brightened the mood among politicians and visitors.
Drinking is the norm in the Czech Republic, which has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world and where beer is often cheaper than mineral water in restaurants. A shot of hard alcohol in the lower house sold for as little as 0.6 euro, cheap even by Czech standards. Lengthy debates and backdoor dealings were often oiled by a glass or three.
One deputy missed a key vote on fiscal reforms several years ago because he got too drunk to leave a nearby pub, and deputies frequently accuse each other of being tipsy during sessions. But a new political force, the centrist ANO movement that stormed into parliament last year on promises to improve the political culture, forced a change in the tradition.
"It is true that workers cannot drink during work hours, so we are eliminating this discrepancy between employees and deputies," Social Democrat house Chairman Jan Hamacek said.
The ban on alcohol will not be complete. Deputies will still be able to bring their own supplies. There are also many pubs in around parliament in the historical Prague city center.