Saturday, 22 July 2017

Prague Moments #12 - Home Alone in a Post Apocalyptic Prague?

One of my most magical Prague moments was getting up at the crack of dawn in April 2015 and watching the sunrise over the Charles Bridge. Last month, I almost repeated the experience by accident when I'd woken up at five a.m.,  unable to sleep. I only had a few more days in town, so I decided to get up and have a walk around town. My particular mission was to take photographs of each of the statues on the Charles Bridge, and this was only realistically possible early in the morning before the crowds made the task nigh on impossible.

I missed the sunrise this time by about thirty minutes, but the bridge was still relatively empty bar a few photographers, some hardy tourists and the ubiquitous Japanese wedding photo party! (I wonder if it was the same ones as last time?)

I managed to complete my task - I'll maybe publish another post in the future on that topic - and headed into town to see what else I could find in the early morning light. What I found blew me away!

Coming back off Karlovy Most, I headed down Karlova, a street I normally try and avoid because of the crowds. Apart from a few delivery vans and some store/restaurant staff taking in the deliveries, the street was completely deserted.

Karlova
I headed into the Old Town Square and found exactly the same phenomenon - there was one other person in the square. I walked on towards Wenceslas Square and the only life was a lady at one of the sausage stands, smoking a sneaky cigarette while the grills were warming up. It was a similar story around the back of the Estates Theatre, Můstek and Na Příkopě, all usually buzzing with people and life.

Old Town Square
Old Town Square
Wenceslas Square
For over an hour, I appeared to have Prague to myself. It was a bit like walking around a post apocalyptic cityscape. The beautiful skies of this time of year and this time of the morning gave the place real atmosphere and were reflected in the empty streets. Finally, I headed back to Ostrovni and went back to bed for a couple of hours while the city woke up around me and started filling the streets.

Life returns to the Old Town Square
Once again the city shared its magic with me, but please don't all go out and try this at the same time. It won't work!



Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Prague Landmarks #8 - Memorial to the Victims of Communism

I have to confess that during my association with Prague I've not spent anywhere near as much time exploring the eastern embankment of the Vltava and its environs. Of course I've made numerous trips up to the castle, I've spent plenty of time in the cafes and restaurants of Malá Strana, and enjoyed some good walks up on the Letna plateau and on Petřín  Hill.

But there's a lot more going on in this area, and on my most recent visit I started to try and rectify my omission, and I'll continue to do so in the future.

If you're staying on the west bank, a common walk is to go over Most Legií from the National Theatre, and maybe drop down onto Shooter's Island (Střelecký ostrov ) and look out over the Charles Bridge. Most people will then continue over the bridge and turn right at the end and head down towards Kampa.

But if you continue straight ahead, along Vitèzná, and down to Újzed at the bottom of Petřín Hill, you'll look up and see the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. The monument consists of a series of seven bronze figures (or partial figures) descending a flight of stairs. It was unveiled  22nd May 2002 to commemorate, some twelve years later, the victims of the communist regime between 1948 and 1989.



A plate at the base of the monument gives the estimated details of the numbers of people directly affected during those years:

  • 205,486 arrested
  • 170,938 forced into exile
  • 4,500 died in prison
  • 327 shot trying to escape
  • 248 executed

A nearby plaque reads:
"The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism"
The whole memorial was the work of the Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek, and the architects Jan Kerel and Zdeněk Holzel, and has caused considerable controversy since its erection. In 2003 two bomb blasts damaged one of the statues, but no group has ever claimed responsibility.

I had previously seen the monument in daylight (albeit a very damp, gloomy November day) but only recently visited it after dark where it has an eerie glow making it even more disturbing.

Memorial to the Victims Of Communism










Saturday, 15 July 2017

Hidden Prague #7 - Star Wars meets Art Nouveau in Perfect Harmony

A few weeks ago I published my Fly on the Wall and other Oddities post. It appears to have been very popular (thank you!), so I've decided to follow up with another set of weird and wonderful statues and sculptures which are all in easy reach of the centre of town but might not immediately jump out at you unless you make a determined effort to see them!

Firstly - the Star Wars Connection. Well, actually there isn't really one. But there are two statues in town (that I know of) that bear an uncanny resemblance to characters from the franchise. The first is the Darth Vader look alike, which is located in Mariánské náměstí, and best reached by walking along Platnéřská as an alternative route into the Old Town Square.

The statue of the Iron Knight was sculpted by Ladislav Šaloun in the early 20th century and depicts a character named Jáchym Berka who was the subject of a rather tragic love story, and now haunts the streets of Prague until he can obtain his freedom - an opportunity only afforded to him once every one hundred years. For the full story check out this page.

Jáchym Berka - the ghostly Iron Knight
The second Star Wars character is that of the Emperor himself. This is the "Cloak of Conscience" or "Il Commendatore" by Anna Chromy. The "Cloak" has many versions, but this one is located outside the Estates Theatre (Železná), best known as the place where Mozart first performed his opera, "Don Giovanni", from which Chromy first took partial inspiration for the piece. When asked about her inspiration for the work, Anna Chromy quoted Albert Einstein: "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science..."

Il Commendatore / Cloak of Conscience

There are plenty of examples of Art Nouveau in Prague. I'm no art connoisseur but this did catch my eye (as do so many things in this city!). I can't find much about the specific piece, but it is by the Austrian sculptor Richard Luksch (1872-1936) and it sits above a potraviny on the corner of Kaprova and Žatecká near Staroměstská metro station.

There are actually two reliefs, one on each side of the doorway, but despite them being in plain view they are about ten feet off the ground, and you can walk past them dozens of times without noticing them!

Richard Luksch Art Nouveau relief
Lastly in this post, I decided to make room for this chap. This is "Socha Harmonie" or "Statue of Harmony". You can find him on the east embankment behind the Kampa Museum. This statue of Sri Chinmoy was created by British sculptor, Kaivalya Torpy and was dedicated in a ceremony during October 2009. The plaque under the statue reads "If you can create harmony in your life this harmony will enter into vast world".

                  

I wonder if he would have been amused by the joker who donated his hat and sunglasses the first time I visited the place? 



Monday, 10 July 2017

Prague Moments #11 - Operation Anthropoid

This year marks the anniversary of Operation Anthropoid - one of the most extraordinary resistance operations in the whole of the Second World War. Anthropoid was a series of activities organised by the Special Operations Executive and exiled Czechoslovakian government in the UK, of which the most significant effort was the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

In this post, I'll provide a précis of the story and some pointers of where you can visit some of the places associated with the more recent history of Prague.

Heydrich, the so-called "butcher of Prague" was a highly placed Nazi official, with overall responsibility for the "Final Solution". Many historians consider that he would have succeeded Hitler, but what is certain, is that he was one of the most brutal members of the SS.

As part of Operation Anthropoid, a number of Czechs were parachuted back into their homeland on 28th December 1941. Among them were Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčik who were charged with carrying out the assassination. After months of planning, they carried out the attack on 27th May, 1942.

The site of the attack was by a tram stop near the intersection of V Holešovičkách and what is now Kubišova street (Libeň, in Prague 8), on tight curve in the road. This was the route from Heydrich's home to Prague Castle and the location was carefully chosen as the car would have to slow down. The area has subsequently been redeveloped and the road is a major route into the city.

The assassination appeared to have been botched when Gabčik's sten gun jammed. Kubiš lobbed an anti-tank grenade into the car before the two made their escape pursued by the driver. They were unaware that Heydrich had been wounded in the explosion. Heydrich was taken to the nearby Bulovka hospital and died seven days later - officially from septicaemia.

The memorial and ventilation shaft to the crypt of  St Cyril and Methodius
The two primary assassins and their helpers became the subjects of a massive manhunt across Czechoslovakia. The repercussions were fast and brutal, even by Nazi standards. On the day of the assassination and the subsequent days, over 13,000 people were arrested and it has been estimated that 5,000 were murdered in the reprisals. The villages of Lidice and Ležàky were destroyed after their populations had largely been massacred or deported to concentration camps.

Initially the paratroopers, including other members of the mission found refuge in safe houses in Prague, and ultimately made their way to the Church of St Cyril and St Methodius on Resslova. From vantage points in the gallery three of them held out against 750 SS troops before they were killed. The remaining four men were isolated in the crypt and ultimately took their own lives after repeated attacks using tear gas and and flooding to lure them out.

The crypt now houses the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror, and it is an extraordinary place to visit once you have become familiar with the whole story. In 2016 the film Anthropoid was released post dating the 1975 film I was familiar with, called Operation Daybreak. I defy anyone who has seen the films or read the histories not to be touched by a sense of dread and despair in that place. In the Anthropoid film, mockups of the cathedral and crypt were created on the sound stages of the Barrandov studios in Prague - the actors claimed that the sets were so good, they could barely tell they weren't in the real locations they had previously visited.

The Memorial to the Czech and Slovak paratroopers
The other key location still visible in Prague is the Gestapo Headquarters, the Petschek Palace. This former bank (once owned by the Jewish Petschek family) was taken over by the Gestapo in 1939. Over 37,000 went through the basement of the palace, many of them associated with Operation Anthropoid, for systematic 'processing' which involved incarceration, interrogation and torture, usually, sooner or later, with a singular outcome.

Petschek Palace today
The building is now the home of the Czech Ministry of Trade and is located at the top of Politických vězňů which runs parallel to Václavské náměstí. The basement houses a museum but is not open without prior arrangement. A memorial to the victims who were murdered inside now stands on the corner of the building.



For more reading about Operation Anthropoid there are a number of books including "The Assination of Reinhard Heydrich" and "HHhH" which I can highly recommend.



Monday, 26 June 2017

Prague Moments #10 - Náměstí Míru

For the majority of people visiting Prague, their time is pretty limited; maybe a weekend or at best four or five nights. Not surprisingly, especially if you haven't been here before, you're going to stick to 'classic Prague' and see the castle, the Charles Bridge and Karlova, Wenceslas Square, the Old Town Square and astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, and probably have a wander around the backstreets of Malá Strana. If you're a bit more adventurous, you may additionally take in the Žižkov TV tower, the National monument at Vítkov or to the tower on Petřín Hill. All great places to go, but you're still pretty much surrounded by tourists.

Náměstí Míru panorama in winter
One of my favourite places, a little bit more off the tourist track is the area around Náměstí Míru in Prague 2, or more specifically Vinorhady. Náměstí Míru translates as 'Peace Square', and it is dominated by the twin 60m high towers of the church of St. Ludmilla, a neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church, built in the late 1890s.

The Church of St Ludmilla
Náměstí Míru is also a metro station on the Green Line (Line A) which is not only the deepest metro station in both Prague and the European Union (the platform is 53m below ground), but also boasts the longest escalator in the EU - an 87m monster (43m vertical span), with 533 steps that takes 2m 15s to ascend or decend without walking. It also acts as a wind tunnel!

The top of the escalator at Náměstí Míru metro
The little park in front of St Ludmilla's is a great place to sit and people watch, and has a lovely little market at key times of the year, especially Christmas and Easter. These events are smaller but far less crowded than the markets in the Old Town Square.

In my first year I lived off the square on Francouska and I used to love walking through the park on my way to and from the metro at IP Pavlova (named for the man of Plavlov's dogs fame, not the gateaux). Especially during the winter, it was pretty much impossible not to stop off for a quick tot of Medovina (honey mead wine) to keep the cold at bay until getting home.

Mel enjoying a glass of hot medovina
Vinorhady has traditionally been home to a large ex-pat community in the city, and Náměstí Míru is a bustling square with numeous restaurants, bars and cafes including the original Prague Beer Museum,  Vinohradský Parlament Restaurant,  Bruxx, and the place I had my first beer as an ex-pat, 2KK

Peace, a nice park, good food and drink, what more do you need from a place?








Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Hidden Prague #6 - Troja Palace

Strictly speaking, this is another post that crosses my arbitrary categories. The Troja Palace isn't hidden in the same way that some of the other parks and gardens I've written about are. But you're unlikely to come across it by accident as it's a good couple of miles from the old town, to the north of the city.

Its location doesn't make it inaccessible - jump on a number 17 tram from Staroměstské to Trojský and then either walk to the palace or hop on the 112 bus - and you'll be there in 30-45 minutes. If you find yourself at Prague Zoo, you've slightly overshot!


There are several times in the year when the municipal authorities in Prague join forces with the custodians of certain landmarks to allow free entry to those attractions. Last weekend was one such occasion, and on Saturday night, a lot of museums waived their entry fee. On Sunday it was the turn of a number of public and privately owned gardens to do the same thing, and one of the places on the list was the Troja palace.


The Troja palace was built between 1679 and 1691 for the Count of Sternberg, although it is now owned by the city of Prague. It was primarily designed by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey, who also designed the building which now houses the French embassy in Prague (opposite the Lennon Wall).

But the purpose of my trip was to see the gardens and in particular the stunning staircase at the back of the building.  Designed and sculpted by two artists from Dresden, Johann Georg and Paul Heermann, the staircase is adorned with statues representing the fight between Olympian Gods and the Titans.

Heading up the sweeping oval staircase (1685-1703)
From the top of the staircase, looking out between the sons of Mother Earth
What lies beneath?

Although I didn't venture into the palace itself, it houses a collection of 19th century art and boasts some very impressive interiors by all accounts. 

I have also discovered that the gardens have been used to host the occasional Pétanque competition. As a player myself, I can honestly say it's a bit more up-market than some of the venues we're used to in the East Midlands - although it's a long walk to the bar!







Friday, 9 June 2017

Hidden Prague #5 - A Fly On The Wall and other Oddities

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you may remember my post in February this year about the Hanging Man (strictly Man Hanging Out). In that post, I urged people to not only look around them at the wonders of the city but also to look upwards.

Here are some more strange things you can get a glimpse of if you're looking in the right places. 

First up are the human figures which are part of Michal Trpàk's "Slight Uncertainty" installation. These were originally part of a much larger group of figures displayed in the EBC office building in Prague, but some have made their way to other parts of town.


These two can be found at the intersection of Na Zbořenci and Odborů. Although they look like cement, they are actually made of polyester and are meant to represent "the people belonging to the working middle-class society who have taken the biggest hit in the recession. The airborne figures portray an expression of sadness, despair and an apparent instability". Each figure took about six months to create from initial drawing and is about 160cm tall.

While you're there, check out the giant fly on the building behind the man with the umbrella. Most people miss it, and quite honestly, it is pretty gross. Interestingly I can't find any information about the creator or intent behind this monster, but then this is Prague!


Next are the mysterious figures sitting atop the building (Deymův Palace) on Voršilská which runs between Národní and Ostrovní (where I'm currently staying and writing this post!). Once again, I can't find any provenance associated with the three figures, but my research indicates they were installed sometime after 2005.


Finally, in this group, it would seem appropriate to mention the figure of King Wenceslas riding on an upside down horse which is hanging from the atrium roof in the Lucerna Palace. It's another David Černý sculpture...



The figure is either called "Horse", "Dead Horse" or "Saint Wenceslas" depending on which source you use and was created in 1999, but, as usual, Černý makes little comment about his work. However, I'm sure that the location of the statue, just a few hundred metres away from the more conventional monument to King Wenceslas in Václavské náměstí is no coincidence! I leave you to speculate on the meaning.

Remember - in Prague, it's often 'onwards and upwards'! If you know of any other upwardly mobile oddities, please leave a comment or drop me a note.








Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Hidden Prague #4 - Palace Gardens (Under Prague Castle)

Despite having lived in Prague, on and off, for nearly three years and done all the classic tourist sights, I'm constantly finding new and wonderful things to do and see. Yesterday I was on a mission to find one specific place (a task that I completed successfully) and ended up somewhere that I knew about but had never really managed to put particularly high up on my priority list.

There are numerous gardens all around the castle complex. Some of them are directly associated with the castle, others belong to some of the ‘palaces’ which lie underneath the castle hill.

Yesterday, I stumbled on 'Zahrady Pod Pražskym Hradem' (which translates to 'Palace Gardens under Prague Castle'). These started out as a set of individual gardens but have now been merged into a single attraction. The original gardens, the Ledeburg, Small and Large Pálffy, Kolovrat and Small Fürstenburg gardens, and are situated on the southern slopes of the castle. Originally the site was covered in vineyards. For a full description of each of the component gardens, let me refer you to this site.

These are Prague's very own ‘hanging gardens’ which literally hang off the slopes underneath Prague Castle. They are a series of terraces, which climb up from Valdštejnská in Malá Strana to a level where you can just about bang your head on the castle wall.


Each terrace is reached by a set of steep stone stairways, and it appears that, at every level, the span of the terrace gets wider. The viewpoints over the city get more and more stunning as you climb above the rooftops.


You could argue that these are the same views that you get from the top of Nerudova from the castle parapets but you'd be wrong. For one thing, despite this being the start of the busy summer tourist season, I was almost alone in the gardens. From my vantage point, I could see the throngs above me clambering over each other to take photos and get a fleeting glimpse of the panorama. I was able to take my time, compose my shots (and myself) and quite literally, smell the roses.


Coming down from the terraces (you used to be able to get into the castle from the top, but this is no longer possible with the most recent security crackdown), you should find your way down to the Ledeburg Garden, near street level, with its grand staircase, statue of Hercules fighting the hydra, a fountain and a fresco covered 'sala terrena' or gallery. This whole area is used for concerts and theatrical performances.


Adult entrance to the gardens is 100 CZK and it's worth every penny to escape the madness and marvel at the views of the city and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

I mentioned the hydra, the mythical creature, which grew additional heads every time one got chopped off. My Prague bucket list is a bit like that. For every sight on my list I get to tick off, two or three more take its place!








Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Prague Moments #9 - Apple Museum

I often say that Prague is a city of contrasts, and none more so than the juxtaposition of the hi-tech Apple Museum with the medieval buildings in the backstreets of the old town. Situated at the intersection of Karlova and Husova in the Old Town, the Apple Museum is the largest private collection of Apple products.

Apple Computers timeline 1976-2012
There are 472 exhibits, housed across 767 square metre of exhibition space, and covers Apple products and memorabilia going back as far as 1976. Among the products represented in the museum are an Apple Lisa, Apple II, numerous iMacs, PowerBooks and iBooks as well as more modern incarnations of iPhones, iPods, iPads and MacBooks. The Macintosh family is especially well covered.

PowerMacs 1994 - 2006
Macintosh computers 1984 - 1991
                  

In addition, in a celebration of all things Steve Jobs related, there are NeXT cubes and Pixar paraphernalia from Jobs' time away from Apple.

There are bucket loads of other Apple accessories, including printers, cameras, networking devices and i/o devices.

Some people may argue that the museum exhibits don't reflect the latest and shiniest kit to originate from Cupertino, but this was an intentional decision because the museum curators wanted to focus on products created during Jobs' lifetime, so there is no representation of items after 2012.

Tickets cost €9 for adults (a little under £8 at today's rates) and all profits go to charity.

As an Apple user myself for the last ten years, and someone with a real interest in the history of IT, I found it a fascinating way to spend a (very) wet afternoon. Although quite a lot of the exhibits also appear to exist in my spare bedroom, they aren't anywhere nearly as well presented as they are in the museum, which could almost have been designed by Apple itself.

Please note - photography is not allowed in the museum (oops!)







Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Prague Moments #8 - Lucerna Music Bar

It shouldn't come as any great surprise that there is an abundant music, art, and theatre scene in Prague. After all, we often associate the term "Bohemian" with a kind of artistic lifestyle, conjuring up images of impoverished painters, composers and writers hidden away in their garrets, living on cheap wine and opium!

Manfred Mann's Earth Band
What may surprise you is the diversity of live music available to people in Prague and particularly the prevalence of popular bands and singers from the UK, US and Australia who now regularly include Prague on their tours.

Over the course of the last three years, I've seen some great acts in some interesting venues. But my favourite to date is still the Lucerna* Music Bar. The original venue, the Palace Lucerna was built at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1909 the club was being used as a theatre and later as a cabaret. After 1948 the whole Lucerna palace was nationalised. During the Communist era, the club was used as a nightclub without any real focus, but 20 years ago, on October 25th, 1995 the Lucerna Music Bar opened for the first time.

Hooverphonic
Located on Vodičkova, just off Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square),  the Lucerna Palace comprises shops, galleries, the Lucerna Theatre and the downstairs Music Bar, which has a capacity of 800, mainly standing. Wherever you stand on the main floor, you are never far from the wide stage and this allows an exceptional intimacy with the performers.

Like other venues in Prague, tickets prices are generally lower than you'd pay in the UK in a similar venue, and even more surprising, drinks are not much more than you'd pay in a bar in the same vicinity. A half litre of Pilsner Urquell (in an obligatory plastic glass) will cost about 50CZK or £1.50 and you'll pay about double that for a cocktail.

Newton Faulkner


Last time I was there, was to see Amy MacDonald, supported by Newton Faulkner (I couldn't even get tickets for her gig in Nottingham but here I was less than ten metres from the front of the stage!). In the past I've seen Hooverphonic, Band of Horses and Manfred Mann's Earth Band.


While I'm naming dropping, I've also enjoyed seeing Blackmores Night, Marina and the Diamonds, and the Australian band The Paper Kites, but in different venues around the city.




If you do find a act you want to see you'll be sure of a great night, but make certain you get there on time. The tickets will always tell you what time the show begins and venue websites will tell you when each act is due on the stage. Unlike in the UK, acts in Prague start with military precision. This is because local by-laws prevent most concerts from continuing after 22:30 in the evening (sadly this doesn't apply to drunks singing in the street!).

Amy MacDonald
Later this year Sparks (remember them?) and Anathema are due to perform at Lucerna and I'm hoping to be around to see them as well.

* Lucerna is the Czech word for lantern.



Saturday, 6 May 2017

Prague Moments #7 - Navalis (May 15th)

On May 15th the people of Prague celebrate Navalis, in honour of Saint John of Nepomuk (1345-1393). This is a tradition that dates back some 300 years to the his beatification in 1715. 

St John on the Charles Bridge
St John of Nepomuk is the patron saint of bridges, communication, good reputation and of all people of the water. I've mentioned him previously and you cannot walk far in Prague without seeing a statue, engraving or some other representation of him. He is instantly recognisable by his five star halo, which represent the stars that hovered over the river Vltava in which he was drowned on the orders of King Wenceslas IV. The legend has it that the king was convinced that his queen had taken a lover and demanded that St John, as the queen's confessor, reveal her secrets. When he refused to break the seal of confession, the king ordered him to be thrown into the Vltava from the Charles Bridge, hence gaining his martyrdom. 

The first account of this was some sixty years after his death and further chronicles go on to embellish the legend. The more likely historical truth is that St John refused to confirm the king's choice of a new abbott as part of a papal power struggle between the pope in Rome and a rival Avignon papacy supported by the Wenceslas, who was himself embattled with his own nobles.  But why let history get in the way of a good yarn? The first story is much more romantic!

The Navalis celebrations are heavy duty even by Prague standards. There's a procession, a holy mass at St Vitus Cathedral, another religious service St Francis of Assisi by the Charles Bridge, a regatta, skydiving and a riverside concert, rounded off by Baroque fireworks on the Vltava. All in the space of about five hours!

Last year, the procession from the castle to the statue of St John on the Charles Bridge was the real highlight of the evening for me. It was an incredibly moving and spiritual experience. Prague dignitaries, churchmen, children,  representatives of numerous local groups, and other pilgrims, along with horses and riders, follow a statue of the saint and hold a brief service on the bridge. 

Make way for the Hat
As the sun set, the sky turned an amazing yellowy-brown and I felt goosebumps on the back of my neck. The only disappointing aspect of the experience was the attitude of some of the tourists on the bridge, who seemed extremely put out that they were being impeded by the procession.

Incredible skies after the procession
We listened to some of the concert which was performed from a floating stage by the riverbank with lots of people watching from little boats on the river. The Charles Bridge also was illuminated with little white stars representing the stars on the saint's halo.

Concert on the Vltava and the stars illuminating the bridge
Unfortunately the place we'd chosen to watch the fireworks failed to take into account that Baroque fireworks don't go very high into the sky (at least not that night) and we didn't see a thing, but by that time it was getting pretty chilly.

If you're in Prague on the 15th May this year, I highly recommend you get along to at least some of the events in the programme. It all kicks off at 16:00 (local time) in Hradčany Square but you can find the detailed information on the official website here. And if last year is anything to go by, wrap up well!