Old Masters exhibit opens at Prague Castle on Friday

Plus: Part of a building facade in Prague collapses possibly due to heat, Pearl Jam cancels Prague concert, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.07.2022 17:47:00 (updated on 23.07.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

PRAGUE Building facade collapses in central Prague

Part of the stucco decoration on the facade of the seat of the German Goethe Institute, an Art Nouveau building at the Masaryk waterfront in the Prague center, came loose on Thursday evening and fell on the pavement and tram track, but no pedestrians were injured. The street corner nearest the building was closed, but the Institute remains open. The accident may have been caused by material fatigue combined with high temperatures. The damaged parts of the building will be covered with a safety net today. The Goethe Institute is a German language and cultural institution.

weather Strong thunderstorms headed to Czechia

Strong thunderstorms could appear throughout the Czech Republic Saturday, with rainfall of up to 30 millimeters possibly accompanied by hail or wind gusts of around 70 km/h, according to CHMÚ.

CULTURE Old Masters go on display at Prague Castle

On Friday, Prague Castle will display 60 of the 128 paintings belonging to its gallery, which has been closed for several years, in the Imperial Stables. The exhibit will last for three months and show works by masters such as Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Cranach.

The Prague Castle Gallery houses one of Czechia's oldest continuous collections of art. The current museum has been open since 1965. Its collection of European paintings ranges from the old German and Dutch Renaissance masters, Italian Renaissance and Mannerism, as well as masters of Central European and Dutch Baroque.

The gallery closed in 2019 over an air-conditioning defect. Its planned reconstruction was thwarted by Prague Castle's fall in revenues from tourism due to the Covid pandemic.

CANCELED Pearl Jam pulls out of Prague concert

The American band Pearl Jam canceled their Friday performance in Prague at the O2 Arena. Frontman Eddie Vedder has sore vocal cords after inhaling dust and smoke from nearby wildfires at the Lollapalooza Festival in France over the weekend. Visitors will receive money for purchased tickets back at the point of purchase, the band said on their Instagram profile.

The Prague concert is the second the band has had to cancel due to Vedder's health problems. Wednesday's concert in Vienna was also canceled. According to the band, the frontman's voice was damaged by the 40-degree heat, dust, and smoke during a July 17 performance near Paris.

Politics Presidential Office staffer fined over secret documents

The Czech National Security Office (NBU) has imposed a fine of CZK 4,000 on an employee of the Presidential Office foreign department over the wrong handling of confidential documents, Radiozurnal said today. According to the administrative proceedings the NBU conducted, the employee failed to record a document relating to a meeting with the former ambassador of China Ma Keqing in the official files.

July 21, 2022

INDEX Japan has the strongest passport, Czechia fell to eighth place

Citizens of Japan boast the strongest passports according to the Henley Passport Index. Those who hold this passport are entitled to visa-free travel to193 destinations. Singapore and South Korea took second place in terms of strength with their holders able to travel to 192 countries without a visa. Germans and Spaniards came in third (190 countries).

In fourth, Finland, Italy, and Luxembourg follow (189 countries) within the framework of visa-free travel, the Austrians, Danes, Dutch, and Swedes share fifth place (188 destinations). Czech passport strength fell from the seventh position to the eighth; it shares a spot on the leaderboard with Australia, Canada, Greece, and Malta. These countries can travel to 185 destinations without a visa.

The Henley Passport Index is regularly updated based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Afghanistan had the weakest passport; holders of Afghan passports can visit only 27 countries without a visa. 

Corruption EC closes conflict of interest proceedings against Czechia

The European Commission (EC) has closed conflict-of-interest proceedings with the Czech Republic after three years. It now falls to Czech ministries to deal with the unlawfully allocated subsidies, related to ex-PM Andrej Babiš. The proceedings concerned several dozen findings some of which remained open until March and May this year. The ministry has now sent answers related to these remaining cases to the EC auditors.

The EC discovered, among others, the unlawful allocation of a CZK 100 million in subsidies related to a bakery from the Agrofert holding of the former PM, which whose assembly line it says does not meet innovation criteria. These changes eliminate the threat of European subsidies payment being halted or the money from the National Recover Plan being blocked.

TRAVEL Korean Air to resume flights to Prague next year

Korean Air is starting to resume flights to Europe after a more than two-year hiatus. Already in July, traffic between Seoul and Vienna and Milan is returning. In September, flights to Barcelona and Rome will also restart. The carrier cites the growing demand for flying as the reason for the return.

Currently, Korean Air only flies to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, and Paris in Europe. Prague is not yet on the list of this year's renewed lines. The next wave of renewal of lines should come next year, and Prague is already included in that one.

HEAT WAVE Strong temps will persist but tropical heat to abate

The weekend will see strong temperatures continue but temps will likely no longer be subtropical with maximum temperatures in the Czech Republic around 30 degrees in most areas; in Moravia and Silesia, it may be up to 34 degrees Celsius on Saturday. Thunderstorms and showers may occur on Saturday, and there will be no rain on Sunday according to the weekly weather forecast of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ).

UKRAINE People in Need sends CZK 670 million in aid to Ukraine

Aid worth over CZK 670 million has been provided to Ukraine by the Czech humanitarian organization People in Need since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The organization has helped more than 317,000 people in the country so far. Another approximately 55,000 Ukrainians were helped by People in Need with partner organizations in the Czech Republic.

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