26 Oct A modern metropolis with a medieval past
One of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations and regularly attracting more than nine million annual visitors, Prague boasts an enticing blend of history, culture and modern charm. Renowned for its picturesque castles and stunning architecture, the capital of the Czech Republic is also home to innovation-driven industries that have positioned the Central European nation as a regional leader. By far the most developed tech hub in the country, with numerous startups and IT companies now based in the mediaeval city, Prague has the ability to attract both business and leisure visitors. Due to this, tourism remains one of the cornerstones of its economy.
Now there are plans to further improve the city after Bohuslav Svoboda was named mayor for a second time. Having previously been in the role from 2010 to 2013, the Czech politician and physician has witnessed firsthand the growth of Prague and is keen to expand its already significant offering.
“There are already large transportation projects currently underway, including two major ring roads and a new metro line, so there is a huge amount of work that I can start with in my second term,” says Svoboda. “During my last term in office, I was very much in favor of the construction of a new concert hall in Prague because the Czech Republic is a country that is synonymous with music. Our concert hall is already more than 120 years old and unfortunately it can no longer meet the acoustic demands of modern times. Now there is a project underway to create a new concert hall and we had an international architectural competition in which some 18 studios took part. The biggest problem I have now is that the three leading projects are all so beautiful that it is truly difficult to select a winner. But I’m delighted that this demanding project has the full support of citizens in Prague, even during these tough economic times.”
The stunning capital city is also home to a vibrant hub of prestigious universities and leading research institutions that attract students from across the globe. These academic facilities have helped to fuel advancements in technology and healthcare, and have contributed to the country’s intellectual prowess.
“Prague is the most important center of education in the country and we have a variety of top-class universities. We have three medical facilities, that I must mention as I am a medical doctor by profession, and just recently we were chosen to host the International Neurosurgical Congress and the Congress of Orthopedists,” states Svoboda. “Prague has become a favorite destination for international expert conferences, not only because we have beautiful weather and historic monuments to explore, but also because of our advanced scientific programs. We find that many foreign medical students want to come and study here in Prague. However, we have to limit these numbers slightly as if we allowed everyone to come here and study then we would have more international students than Czech students. Another reason our universities are so popular is because the curriculum of our educational institutions is pretty much identical to the European curriculum. Therefore, whatever degree you obtain will be recognized across Europe so if you are a graduate and move abroad there are no further educational conditions that will need to be met.”
An attractive destination for students, startups and international companies alike, Svoboda is confident that Prague will continue to flourish and outlines just why people should consider visiting the city.
“We have the greatest concentration of historical monuments in the whole of Europe, our history dates all the way back to the Middle Ages and you can find beautiful statues from the Baroque and Art Nouveau eras,” he adds.
“In addition to all of this history, Prague has developed into a modern metropolis and is one of the safest cities in Europe. Visitors to the city will also discover that we have delicious food as well as fantastic beer and excellent wines.”