Green area with unusual fountain replaces construction site in centre of Prague

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Prague has a brand new place to sit down and have a rest. Where previously there was a fence of corrugated iron around a mysterious construction site for what seemed like forever, a tiny but pleasant new park was opened to the public on Monday. It features a fountain, surrounded by a set of four sculptures by an Austrian artist of Czech origin, Anna Chromy. Alena Skodova was at the unveiling and has this report:

The little site was all hustle and bustle when I arrived at Senovazne Square. As I soon learned, the unveiling of the fountain was not the only reason for celebration. Under the square, five minutes walk from Wenceslas Square, a new service tunnel was finished. It's an underground tunnel where pipe lines and cables are concentrated for easy access - and there are already several such tunnels under the historical part of Prague. Representatives of the Prague Town Hall stressed that the tunnels were vital for a city which is so densely populated, visited by so many tourists and one of UNESCO's cultural heritage sites. Although some 1,5 billion crowns have been allocated for their construction, the tunnels are viewed as a significant contribution to further reconstruction and maintenance of the protected urban area, because they ensure the city pulsates with life and not be just an open-air museum.

The Speaker of the Lower House, Vaclav Klaus - currently campaigning ahead of June's elections - was present at the celebration:

"I'm now speaking as an ordinary Prague resident, on behalf of those who have lived in Prague since their childhood and have nearly forgotten what Senovazne Square was, because of the hoarding that were here for the past two decades. We somehow got used to them and have nearly erased the picture of what the square used to be from our memory. That's why I'm very glad to see a park here with a new fountain. To me it's like a small miracle."

Also present at the celebration was the Austrian artist, Anna Chromy, who donated four statues she had created, to Prague, and called them Prague Spring.

Mrs. Chromy said that it wasn't her first statue here in Prague; she created a statue - which can now be seen right in front of the Estates Theatre - in the year 2000 to commemorate Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, which was premiered at this theatre in October 1787. She revealed that her four sculptures at Senovazne Square originally depicted the biggest rivers of four continents, Amazon, Ganges, Danube and Mississippi, but then she decided to re-name them Prague Spring and donate them to the Czech nation which is known for its love for music.

So the new park was officially opened, and it will doubtlessly integrate into Prague's centre very quickly.