Enjoy spring in Prague
Something you will love is happening this spring in Prague.
As spring arrives, so too does the news that Palác Lucerna has been named a Czech National Cultural Monument. This building, built early in the 20th century, is one of my favourites in Prague. This elegant example of Art Nouveau architecture houses a glorious old movie theatre and a rather interesting, and provocative, David Černý sculpture. It also houses the popular Lucerna Music Bar where you can enjoy live music and, on occasion, video parties featuring music from the 80s and 90s. For programme details visit their website.
Cirque du Soleil fans are in for a treat with Varekai, Tales of the Forest, playing from 18 to 21 May at O2 Arena. If you haven’t seen Cirque du Soleil, I recommend the show. The combination of music, dance, acrobatics, theatre and storytelling makes for a fun, and fascinating, evening out.
Lovers of popular classical music have the chance to see André Rieu with his J. Strauss Orchestra on 12 May, but if you like your music a little heavier, Deep Purple are scheduled for 22 May. Both of these shows are at O2. And here’s advance notice of a summer concert for fans of hard rock – Guns N’ Roses are playing at Letňany Airport on July 4.
As the weather warms up, it’s time to dust off your running shoes. The Prague Half Marathon is on 1 April 2017. You can enter as an individual, or get together with three friends and form a team. You can join by contacting your favourite charity and run for a good cause. This race, which follows the banks of the Vltava, must surely be one of the most picturesque courses on the international running calendar.
April 1 sees the opening of the Prague Easter Markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Easter this year is from 14 to 17 April. Look out for beautifully decorated Easter eggs – a less calorific version than the traditional chocolate eggs on sale in other countries. On Easter Monday, you might see boys and men brandishing their pomlázka, or whips made from pussy willow. This pagan tradition symbolically chases away illness and bad spirits. It’s more commonly followed in villages and small towns than in cities, but you are sure to see the pomlázka in stores. My impression is that men enjoy it far more than women, who are likely to be on the receiving end of the symbolic beating.
At the end of April another pagan celebration takes place on Witches’ Night (30 April). This festival marks the end of winter and effigies of witches are burnt across the country. In Prague, head down to Kampa Park, where the witches burning happens at around 8 pm.
Throughout the year, Prague is home to hundreds of classical music concerts, ballets and operas at a range of venues. Put on your glad rags and head to the National Theatre to enjoy the opera. La Traviata is on the menu on 5 April. Or if you prefer Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro is on at the Estates Theatre on 4 April. For Mozart fans a visit to the Estates Theatre is a must – this is where he conducted the world premiere of Don Giovani.
Of course, spring is also a wonderful time to explore the great outdoors. Prague’s many parks are always a joy – try Stromovka, Letná or Vyšehrad, or head further afield to Divoká Šárka or Obora Hvězda, with its star-shaped renaissance villa. Take a picnic or visit a nearby hostelry from some Czech beer.
Whatever your tastes – music, sports, or enjoying the great outdoors – Prague will always have something for you to enjoy.
by Dalice Trost
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