New Year’s Day fireworks will celebrate Velvet Revolution

The show will again be launched from Letná park and be visible from the city center

Most cities have their big fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. Prague is a little different and has a large public show on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2019, at 6 pm. Officially, they are meant to mark the independence of the Czech Republic from Slovakia.

The fireworks will again be launched from Letná park and be visible from much of the waterfront and city center.

The theme this time is Prague Freedom or 30 Years Since the Velvet Revolution. There will be five themed “paintings” made from fireworks, each symbolizing one stage of the revolution in 1989.

The fireworks will take 10 minutes and 52 seconds, and all the paintings — Prayer, Bare Hands, Unity, Forbidden Fruit, Freedom —and accompanying music are designed to evoke memories and emotions associated with this era. The storyline is conceived as a retrospective narrative, with a father communicating his personal experience to his ten-year-old daughter.

The fireworks show has a total of 4,033 rounds and the total weight of the pyrotechnic material is over 4,000 kilograms.

Synchronized music can be heard on Radio City at 93.7 FM and from speakers at Čechův most.

The show was largely prepared by the previous administration of City Hall. The new administration is considering changes for the future.

“I believe that the traditional fireworks will be properly enjoyed by Prague residents, and they will bring a dignified conclusion to this year. Next year, Prague will reflect on trends of the major European metropolises and will, if necessary, choose a more efficient alternative. We also think about the option of silent fireworks, if local conditions and technical possibilities allow for it,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) said in a press release.

Noise has been an issue for years, as the fireworks frighten wildlife, including waterfowl, and pets such as dogs who have acute hearing.

Fireworks is now allowed in the city center under the law only on a handful of specified days.

The fireworks should be best seen from Dvořákovo nábřeží and Pařížská Street as well as Čechův most, Mánesův most, Štefánikův most.

Photographers with decent cameras may want to go to most Legií so they can get Charles Bridge with fireworks in the background, or to a clear spot in front of Strahov Monastery or the top of Petřín Hill to get the fireworks with Prague Castle and the city skyline.

People are strongly urged to use the metro system to get downtown, as many streets will be closed to traffic.

Street lights and traffic lights will be turned off at Dvořákovo nábřeží. nábřeží Edvarda Beneše, Alšovo nábřeží, Kosárkovo nábřeží, part of Mánesův most and in Letná.

The show is once again created by Makalu Fireworks and its price is Kč 1,699,900 excluding VAT. The city held a tender for the show, as it is a public expenditure, and the winner was announced Nov. 19.

In recent years, the cost of the fireworks show has been around Kč 1,000,000 excluding VAT, but only one or two candidates have tended to bid for fireworks contract at that price.

The cost increase in the upcoming fireworks show was made on the basis of market research that showed significant new trends in the use of pyrotechnical devices and effects, and in the concept of shows. Simply put, a state of the art show is more expensive than what the city had been offering recently.

Some shows in the past were also more expensive. For example, in 2013 and 2005, the fireworks price was Kč 1,500,000 excluding VAT, in 2004 it was Kč 1,700,000 and in 2003 there was a New Year's fireworks at the price of Kč 1,600,000, according to City Hall. The show in 2003 marked 10 years since the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia, and 2013 was 20 years.

For automotive traffic, the following roads will be closed on 1 January 2019 from 4 pm to 6:30 pm:

Dvořákovo nábřeží in the section Štefánikův most – náměstí Jana Palacha
nábřeží Edvarda Beneše in the section Klárov – Štefánikův most
Čechův most, Mánesův most, Štefánikův most, most Legií
Pařížská Street in the section Bílkova – náměstí Curieových
17. listopadu in the section náměstí Jana Palacha – náměstí Curieových

Tram service on Mánesův and Čechův most, and right-hand traffic from the National Theater to náměstí Curieových, will be interrupted at 5:30 pm. Tram lines on the other roads including Štefánikův most and the most Legií will be managed according to the situation in cooperation with the Czech Police.

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