New Year's Day fireworks return to Letná

Last year's display was criticized for poor visibility in much of the city

While most cities have giant official fireworks displays at midnight on New Year's Eve, Prague has been a renegade. The city celebrates not the new year, but Independence Day, as the Czech Republic split from Slovakia on Jan. 1, 1993.

The Jan. 1, 2017, fireworks display will again be launched from Letná park in Prague 7. It was moved to Vitkov Hill last year, but there were many complaints that it could not be seen properly because buildings and trees were in the way, even from vantage points recommended by the city. The display from Letná is visible from many of the bridges and the waterfront in the city center, as well as some hilltops.

The city's firework's display is in the early evening so families can see it. The exact time has not been announced, though in the past it has been at 6 pm. There is usually a theme as well, with the colors and patterns of the fireworks telling a story. Music can usually be heard simulcast on a radio station. These details also have not yet been disclosed. The show itself will be awarded to a fireworks company through a public tender.

The city announced that it has reached an agreement with Prague 7, where Letná is located, during the summer. The reason it had been moved from Letná for Jan. 1, 2016, was that local people in Prague 7 complained that they could not walk their dogs or exercise in the park during the day while preparations were made, and that the loud noise disturbed animals and children. Vitkov Hill was chosen instead as it is further from residential areas and not used as much for dog walking and recreation during the day.

On Jan. 1, 2014, the fireworks display was first moved to Letná. It has previously been on pontoons near Střelecký ostrov (Shooters Island) in the Vltava river. The move was because the noise of the fireworks caused swans and other waterfowl to panic, and several died. The fireworks were at Letná again on Jan. 1, 2015.

Last year, the display had 6,293 rounds of fireworks and the show cost some Kč 992,000, without tax. The show ran a little over 10 minutes and had six scenes based on the influence of the muses on people who had anniversaries in 2016 including Emperor Charles IV.

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