Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 275,524 in its administrative limits. The Sarajevo metropolitan area, including Sarajevo Canton, East Sarajevo and nearby municipalities, is home to 555,210 inhabitants.a Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of the Balkans. Sarajevo is the political and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a prominent center of culture in the Balkans, with its region-wide influence in entertainment, media and the arts. Due to its long and rich history of religious and cultural diversity, Sarajevo is sometimes called the "Jerusalem of Europe" or "Jerusalem of the Balkans", it is one of only a few major European cities which have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue in the same neighborhood. A regional center in education, the city is home to the Balkans first institution of tertiary education in the form of an Islamic polytechnic called the Saraybosna Osmanlı Medrese, today part of the University of Sarajevo.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history. In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, following San Francisco. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by local Young Bosnia activist Gavrilo Princip that sparked World War I, which ended Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and resulted in the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War II, the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Second Yugoslavia led to a massive expansion of Sarajevo, the constituent republic's capital, which culminated with the hosting of the 1984 Winter Olympics marking a prosperous era for the city. However, after the start of the Yugoslav Wars, for 1,425 days, from April 1992 to February 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, during the Bosnian War and the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Sarajevo has been undergoing post-war reconstruction, is the fastest growing city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The travel guide series Lonely Planet has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010. In 2011, Sarajevo was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014 and will be hosting the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019; the earliest known name for the large central Bosnian region of today's Sarajevo is Vrhbosna. The name Sarajevo derives from the Turkish noun saray, meaning "palace" or "mansion"; the letter "j" in the Bosnian language is equivalent soundwise to the English letter "y" as in "boy" and "yet". The evo portion may come from the term saray ovası first recorded in 1455, meaning "the plains around the palace" or "palace plains". However, in his Dictionary of Turkish loanwords, Abdulah Škaljić maintains that the "evo" ending is more to have come from the widespread Slavic suffix "evo" used to indicate place names, than from the Turkish ending "ova", as proposed by some.
The first mention of name Sarajevo was in 1507 letter written by Feriz Beg. The official name during the 400-year Ottoman period was Saraybosna, it is still known by that name in modern Turkish. Sarajevo has had many nicknames; the earliest is Šeher, the term Isa-Beg Ishaković used to describe the town he was going to build. It is a Turkish word meaning an advanced city of key importance which in turn comes from Persian: شهر shahr; as Sarajevo developed, numerous nicknames came from comparisons to other cities in the Islamic world, i.e. "Damascus of the North". The most popular of these was "European Jerusalem"; some argue that a more correct translation of saray is government house. Sarajevo is near the geometric center of the triangular-shaped Bosnia-Herzegovina and within the historical region of Bosnia proper, it is situated 518 meters above sea level and lies in the Sarajevo valley, in the middle of the Dinaric Alps. The valley itself once formed a vast expanse of greenery, but gave way to urban expansion and development in the post-World War II era.
The city is surrounded by forested hills and five major mountains. The highest of the surrounding peaks is Treskavica at 2,088 meters Bjelašnica mountain at 2,067 meters, Jahorina at 1,913 meters, Trebević at 1,627 meters, with 1,502 meters Igman being the shortest; the last four are known as the Olympic Mountains of Sarajevo. The city itself has its fair share of hilly terrain, as evidenced by the many steeply inclined streets and residences perched on the hillsides; the Miljacka river is one of the city's chief geographic features. It flows through the city from east through the center of Sarajevo to west part of city where meets up with the Bosna river. Miljacka river is "The Sarajevo River", with its source 2 kilometres south of the town of Pale at the foothills of Mount Jahorina, several kilometers to the east of Sarajevo center; the Bosna's source, Vrelo Bosne near Ilidža, is another notable natural landmark and a popular destination for Sarajevans and other tourists. Several smaller rivers and streams such as Koševski Potok run through the city and its vicinity.
Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera is an Austrian opera house and opera company based in Vienna, Austria. It was called the Vienna Court Opera. In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera; the members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra. The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, it was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka. The Ministry of the Interior had commissioned a number of reports into the availability of certain building materials, with the result that stones long not seen in Vienna were used, such as Wöllersdorfer Stein, for plinths and free-standing, simply-divided buttresses, the famously hard stone from Kaisersteinbruch, whose colour was more appropriate than that of Kelheimerstein, for more lushly decorated parts.
The somewhat coarser-grained Kelheimerstein was intended as the main stone to be used in the building of the opera house, but the necessary quantity was not deliverable. Breitenbrunner stone was suggested as a substitute for the Kelheimer stone, stone from Jois was used as a cheaper alternative to the Kaiserstein; the staircases were constructed from polished Kaiserstein, while most of the rest of the interior was decorated with varieties of marble. The decision was made to use dimension stone for the exterior of the building. Due to the monumental demand for stone, stone from Sóskút used in Budapest, was used. Three Viennese masonry companies were employed to supply enough masonry labour: Eduard Hauser, Anton Wasserburger and Moritz Pranter; the foundation stone was laid on 20 May 1863. The building was, not popular with the public. On the one hand, it did not seem as grand as the Heinrichshof, a private residence, destroyed in World War II. Moreover, because the level of Ringstraße was raised by a metre in front of the opera house after its construction had begun, the latter was likened to "a sunken treasure chest" and, in analogy to the military disaster of 1866, was deprecatingly referred to as "the'Königgrätz' of architecture".
Eduard van der Nüll committed suicide, ten weeks Sicardsburg died from tuberculosis so neither architect saw the completion of the building. The opening premiere was Don Giovanni, by Mozart, on May 25, 1869. Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth were present. Towards the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera was set alight by an American bombardment; the front section, walled off as a precaution, remained intact including the foyer, with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room. The auditorium and stage were, destroyed by flames as well as the entire décor and props for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes; the State Opera was temporarily housed at the Vienna Volksoper. Lengthy discussion took place about whether the opera house should be restored to its original state on its original site, or whether it should be demolished and rebuilt, either on the same location or on a different site; the decision was made to rebuild the opera house as it had been, the main restoration experts involved were Ernst Kolb and Udo Illig.
The Austrian Federal Chancellor Leopold Figl made the decision in 1946 to have a functioning opera house again by 1949. An architectural competition was announced, won by Erich Boltenstern; the submissions had ranged from a complete restructuring of the auditorium to a replica of the original design. In order to achieve a good acoustic, wood was the favoured building material, at the advice of, among others, Arturo Toscanini. In addition, the number of seats in the parterre was reduced, the fourth gallery, fitted with columns, was restructured so as not to need columns; the façade, entrance hall and the "Schwind" foyer remain in their original style. In the meantime, the opera company, which had at first been performing in the Volksoper, had moved rehearsals and performances to Theater an der Wien, where, on May 1, 1945, after the liberation and re-independence of Austria from the Nazis, the first performances were given. In 1947, the company went on tour to London. Due to the appalling conditions at Theater an der Wien, the opera company leadership tried to raise significant quantities of money to speed up reconstruction of the original opera house.
Many private donations were made, as well as donations of building material from the Soviets, who were interested in the rebuilding of the opera. The mayor of Vienna had receptacles placed in many sites around Vienna for people to donate coins only. In this way, everyone in Vienna could say they had participated in the reconstruction and feel pride in considering themselves part owners. However, in 1949, there was only a temporary roof on the Staatsoper, it was not until November 5, 1955, after the Austrian State Treaty, that the Staatsoper could be reopened with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Karl Böhm. The American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was present; the state broadcaster ORF used the occasion to make its first liv
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with chilly winters. Prague has been a political and economic centre of central Europe complete with a rich history. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Baroque eras, Prague was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably of Charles IV, it was an important city to its Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city played major roles in the Bohemian and Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War and in 20th-century history as the capital of Czechoslovakia, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era. Prague is home to a number of well-known cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe.
Main attractions include Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, Petřín hill and Vyšehrad. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites; the city has more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries and other historical exhibits. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in Central Europe. Prague is classified as an "Alpha −" global city according to GaWC studies and ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016, its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination and as of 2017, the city receives more than 8.5 million international visitors annually. Prague is the fourth most visited European city after London and Rome. During the thousand years of its existence, the city grew from a settlement stretching from Prague Castle in the north to the fort of Vyšehrad in the south, becoming the capital of a modern European country, the Czech Republic, a member state of the European Union.
The region was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. A Jewish chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed that the city was founded as Boihaem in c. 1306 BC by an ancient king, Boyya. Around the fifth and fourth century BC, a Celts tribe appeared in the area establishing settlements including an oppidum in Závist, a present-day suburb of Prague, naming the region of Bohemia, which means "home of the Boii people". In the last century BC, the Celts were driven away by Germanic tribes, leading some to place the seat of the Marcomanni king, Maroboduus, in southern Prague in the suburb now called Závist. Around the area where present-day Prague stands, the 2nd century map drawn by Ptolemaios mentioned a Germanic city called Casurgis. In the late 5th century AD, during the great Migration Period following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes living in Bohemia moved westwards and in the 6th century, the Slavic tribes settled the Central Bohemian Region.
In the following three centuries, the Czech tribes built several fortified settlements in the area, most notably in the Šárka valley and Levý Hradec. The construction of what came to be known as Prague Castle began near the end of the 9th century, growing a fortified settlement that existed on the site since the year 800; the first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885 at the latest. The other prominent Prague fort, the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad, was founded in the 10th century, some 70 years than Prague Castle. Prague Castle is dominated by the cathedral, which began construction in 1344, but wasn't completed until the 20th century; the legendary origins of Prague attribute its foundation to the 8th century Czech duchess and prophetess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." She ordered a town called Praha to be built on the site.
The region became the seat of the dukes, kings of Bohemia. Under Holy Roman Emperor Otto II the area became a bishopric in 973; until Prague was elevated to archbishopric in 1344, it was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz. Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Jewish merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub; the Old New Synagogue of 1270 still stands in the city. Prague was once home to an important slave market. At the site of the ford in the Vltava river, King Vladislaus I had the first bridge built in 1170, the Judith Bridge, named in honour of his wife Judith of Thuringia; this bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1342, but some of the original foundation stones of that bridge remain in the river. It was named the Charles Bridge. In 1257, under King Ottokar II, Malá Strana was founded in Prague on the site of an older village in what would become the Hradčany area; this was the district of the German people, who had the right to administer the law autonomously, pursuant to Magdeburg rights.
The new district was on the bank opposite of the Staré Město, which had borough status and was bordered by a line of walls and fortifications. Prague flourished dur
Plzeň called Pilsen in English and German, is a city in the Czech Republic. About 90 kilometres west of Prague in western Bohemia, it is the fourth most populous city in the Czech Republic; the city is known worldwide for Pilsner beer, created by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll there in 1842. Plzeň was first mentioned as a castle in 976, as the scene of a battle between Duke Boleslaus II the Pious of Bohemia and Emperor Otto II, it became a town in 1295 when King Wenceslaus II granted Plzeň its civic charter as a "Royal City" and established a new town site, some 10 km away from the original settlement, the current town of Starý Plzenec. It became an important town on trade routes leading to Nuremberg and Regensburg. During the Hussite Wars, it was the centre of Catholic resistance to the Hussites: Prokop the Great unsuccessfully besieged it three times, it joined the league of Catholic nobles against King George of Podebrady. In 1468, the town acquired a printing press. Emperor Rudolf II made Plzeň his seat from 1599–1600.
During the Thirty Years' War the town was taken by Mansfeld in 1618 after the Siege of Plzeň and it was not recaptured by Imperial troops until 1621. Wallenstein made it his winter quarters in 1633; the town was unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedes in 1637 and 1648. The town and region have been staunchly Catholic despite the Hussite Wars. From the end of the 17th century, the architecture of Plzeň has been influenced by the Baroque style; the city centre has been under cultural heritage preservation since 1989. In the second half of the 19th century Plzeň an important trade centre for Bohemia, near the Bavarian/German border, began to industrialise rapidly. In 1869 Emil Škoda started up the Škoda Works, which became the most important and influential engineering company in the country and a crucial supplier of arms to the Austro-Hungarian Army. By 1917 the Škoda Works employed over 30,000 workers. After 1898 the second largest employer was the National Railways train workshop, with about 2,000 employees: this was the largest rail repair shop in all Austria-Hungary.
Between 1861 and 1877, the Plzeň railway junction was completed and in 1899 the first tram line started in the city. This burst of industry had two important effects: the growth of the local Czech population and of the urban poor. After 1868 first Czech mayor of the city was elected. Following Czechoslovak independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918 the German-speaking minority in the countryside bordering the city of Plzeň hoped to be united with Austria and were unhappy at being included in Czechoslovakia. Many allied themselves to the Nazi cause after 1933, in the hope that Adolf Hitler might be able to unite them with their German-speaking neighbours. Following the Munich Agreement in 1938, Plzeň became a frontier town, after the creation of the Sudetenland moved the Third Reich borders to the city's outer limits. During the Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945 the Škoda Works in Pilsen was forced to provide armaments for the Wehrmacht, Czech contributions in the field of tanks, were noted. Between 17 and 26 January 1942, over 2,000 Jewish inhabitants, most of Plzeň's Jewish population, were deported by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
The German-speaking population was forcibly expelled from the city and indeed all of Czechoslovakia after the end of the war in 1945, according to the provisions of the Potsdam agreement. All of their property was confiscated. On 6 May 1945, near the end of the Second World War, Plzeň was liberated from Nazi Germany by the 16th Armored Division of General Patton's 3rd Army. Participating in the liberation of the city were elements of the 97th and 2nd Infantry Divisions supported by the Polish Holy Cross Mountains Brigade. Other Third Army units liberated major portions of Western Bohemia; the rest of Czechoslovakia was liberated from German control by the Soviet Red Army. Elements of the 3rd Army, as well as units from the 1st Army, remained in Plzeň until late November 1945, assisting the Czechs with rebuilding. After the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia coup of February 1948, the Czechoslovak government launched a currency reform in 1953; this reform caused a wave of discontent, including the Plzeň uprising.
On 1 June 1953 over 20,000 people workers at the Škoda Works, began protesting against the government. Protesters forced their way into the town hall and threw communist symbols and other objects out of the windows; the protest caused a retaliation from the government. The statue has since been re-erected; the next year, a West German homing pigeon was lost near the Czechoslovak border. It returned two days bearing a strong anti-communist message, signed "Unbowed Pilsen." The bird, named Leaping Lena, was taken to the United States where it was celebrated as a Cold War hero. Plzeň has a temperate Oceanic climate. Plzeň has low rainfall evenly spread over the year. Precipitation occurs on average every second day, the number of days with thunderstorms is 19, it receives on average 1700 hours of sunshine. Terrain features and a low altitude give some shelter from strong winds. Winters are milder than some adjacent areas. Snow cover lasts on average for 51 days. Though an average year has 113 days with minimum temperature below zero, the temperature
The Vienna Volksoper is a major opera house in Vienna, Austria. It puts on around three hundred performances of twenty-five German language productions during an annual season which runs from September through June, it was built in 1898 as the Kaiserjubiläum-Stadttheater producing only plays. Because of the brief construction period the first director Adam Müller-Gutenbrunn had to start with debts of 160,000 gulden. After this inauspicious startup the Kaiserjubiläum-Stadttheater had to declare bankruptcy five years in 1903. On 1 September 1903 Rainer Simons took over the house and renamed it the Kaiserjubiläum-Stadttheater - Volksoper, his intention was to continue the production of plays but establish series of opera and operetta. The first Viennese performances of Tosca and Salome were given at the Volksoper in 1907 and 1910 respectively. World famous singers such as Maria Jeritza, Leo Slezak and Richard Tauber appeared there. In the years up to and through the First World War the Volksoper attained a position as Vienna's second prestige opera house.
In 1919, Felix Weingartner became Principal Conductor. He was followed as Director by Hugo Gruder-Guntram. After 1929, it focused on light opera, under Gruder-Guntram undertook a number of summer tours to Abbazia in 1935, Cairo and Alexandria in 1937 and throughout Italy in 1938, with guest appearances from Richard Tauber. After the Second World War, the Vienna Volksoper became the alternative venue to the devastated Vienna State Opera. In 1955 the Volksoper returned to its former role of presenting opera and musicals. From September 1991 to June 1996 the Vienna Volksoper was under a collective leadership with the Vienna State Opera. In 1999 the Volksoper became a 100% subsidiary of the Bundestheater-Holding. Since 1 September 2007 Robert Meyer has headed the Volksoper as artistic director together with the business manager Christoph Ladstätter; each season includes about 25 productions, a total of 300 performances—a performance every day. In addition to opera, operetta and ballet, there are special performances and children's programs.
On three different levels there are 1261 seats and 72 standing room places as well as two places for wheelchairs. The orchestra pit is equipped with two electrically driven stage lifts, with a loading capacity of 500 kg/m², it is adjustable in height from 0 to 2.65 meters below stage level. The red velvet house curtain is hydraulically drawn and liftable; the gather velocity is 0.15 to 3.0 m/s, the lift velocity can be up to 2.0 m/s. The stage is 17.2 meters wide and 19 meters deep and has a mechanic load capacity of 500 kg/m². In the middle of the stage is a turnable and liftable circular platform, around, a turnable ring platform with an external diameter of 15 meters. There are 3 hand-operated person trap mechanisms. Since 1999 the Volksoper Vienna is a 100% subsidiary of the Bundestheater Holding AG along with the Vienna State Opera and the Burgtheater; the Bundestheater Holding AG is owned by the Republic of Austria. The Holding holds 51.1% of the Theaterservice Gmbh, which offers services in design and administrational matters.
The remaining 48.9% are shared among the three theater houses. In 1987, the opera house was used for a scene set in Bratislava, for the James Bond film The Living Daylights, where Timothy Dalton made his debut as Bond near the beginning of the film, where he first spotted the key female character Kara Milovy. Vienna State Opera Burgtheater Official website, in English Profile from Wien.info website Bundestheater Holding Website der Bundestheater Holding, in English
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem known by its German name Aussig, is the 7th-most populous city of the Czech Republic. It is the capital of its eponymous district. Ústí is situated in a mountainous district at the confluence of the Elbe rivers. It is a major industrial center and, besides being an active river port, is an important railway junction; the name of Ústí nad Labem is formed from Labe. It thus means "Mouth-upon-the-Elbe", in reference to its location at the Bilina's confluence with the Elbe, it is popularly known as Ústí for short. The Czech name was Latinized as Usk super Germanized as Aussig or Außig. Before Czechoslovak independence amid the dissolution of Austria-Hungary following the First World War, the town was known in English as Aussig, but sometimes referred to as Aussyenad, Labem, or Oustí nad Labem. Ústí nad Labem was mentioned as a trading centre as early as 993. In the second half of the 13th century, King Otakar II of Bohemia invited German settlers into the country and granted them a German form of municipal incorporation, thereby founding the city proper.
In 1423, as King of Bohemia, Sigismund pledged the town to Elector Frederick I of Meißen, who occupied it with a Saxon garrison. It was besieged by the Hussites in 1426: a German army of 70 000 was sent to its relief but the 25 000 besiegers defeated them amid great slaughter on 16 June, it was left derelict for three years before rebuilding began in 1429.Ústí was again burned down in 1583 and was sacked by the Swedes in 1639 amid the Thirty Years' War. It suffered grievously during the Seven Years' War and was near the 1813 Battle of Kulm between France and the alliance of Austria and Russia during the Napoleonic Wars; as late as 1830, its population was only 1400. As part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, it was incorporated into Austria and industrialized over the 19th century. After the Compromise of 1867, it headed the Aussig District, one of Austrian Bohemia's 94 District Commissions. In the 1870s, with only 11 000 people, it was a major producer of woolen goods, paper and chemicals and carried on a large trade in grain, mineral water and coal.
By 1900, large-scale immigration had boosted the population to nearly 40 000 German, added glassworking and stone to its trades. The local river port became the busiest in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire, surpassing the seaport in Trieste; the factories of Aussig—as it was known—were an early center of the National Socialism movement. The German Workers' Party in Austria was founded on 15 November 1903 and gave rise to the Sudeten German Party and Austrian National Socialism, their books continued to be printed in Ústí after the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. During the 1930 census, Ústí nad Labem was home to 43 793 residents: 32 878 considered German, 8 735 Czech or Slovak, 222 Jews, 16 Russians, 11 Hungarians. Ústí was ceded to Nazi Germany with the rest of the Sudetenland in October 1938 under the terms of the Munich Agreement. On New Year's Eve of that year, the Nazis burnt down the local synagogue; the Jewish community in Ústí nad Labem was exterminated over the course of World War II amid the Holocaust.
In April 1945, the city was bombed by the Allies. Under the terms of the Potsdam Conference and the Beneš decrees, the city was restored to Czechoslovakia and the totality of its previous population expelled as being German. In May 1948, the Communist government passed a new constitution declaring a people's republic. Communism continued until the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall set off a series of events which are now known as the Velvet Revolution. Today, Ústí nad Labem is a major industrial city of the Czech Republic with substantial chemical, textile and machine tool industries; the city gained notoriety in the late 1990s when a 150 metres long wall was constructed along part of the Matiční Street separating houses on one side from the tenement blocks on the other. Since the latter were homes to Romani, it turned into an international scandal. Mayor Ladislav Hruška promised local homeowners' representatives that the wall would be finished by the end of September, 1998. Foreign journalists travelled to Ústí to investigate, were told by councillors that the wall was not meant to segregate by race, but to keep respectable citizens safe from noise and rubbish coming from the opposite side of the street.
In September, city representatives announced that plans would be changed from a four-metre soundproof wall to a 1.8-metre wall of ceramic bricks, a children's playground would be constructed in front of the tenement blocks. Despite these changes, the Roma Civic Initiative and Deputy Prime Minister Vladimír Špidla vocally opposed the construction; the wall was criticised by U. S. Congressman Christopher Smith, a delegation from the Council of Europe described it as a "racist" and drastic solution; the new plans slated construction to begin August 30, 1999, but a decision by the district office delayed the move because a wall that large would require a permit, threatened to damage the root systems of trees along Matični Street. On October 5, construction began regardless of the opposition by foreign observers and members of the Czech government; the following day, 50 Roma physically blockaded construction of the wall and dismantled parts, set up. Nonetheless, the wall was completed on October 13.
Domestic and international pressure even
Bilzen is a town and a municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg. On January 1, 2006, Bilzen had a total population of 30,057; the total area is 75.90 km² which gives a population density of 396 inhabitants per km². Bilzen consists of the city of Bilzen and the following villages: Beverst, Grote-Spouwen, Hoelbeek, Kleine-Spouwen, Mopertingen, Rijkhoven and Waltwilder, it was in 1977 that they all became part of the municipality Bilzen because of the fusion of municipalities. Cities in Bilzen's neighbourhood are, to its north, Genk, to its east, Maastricht, to its south Tongeren and to its north-west Diepenbeek, all within a distance of some 10 to 15 kilometers. From 1965 to 1981 Bilzen hosted a jazz and rock festival that lasted several days. In its time Jazz Bilzen was the most important Belgian festival. Artists that performed there were, among many others, Humble Pie, The Moody Blues, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie, The Kinks, The Troggs, Procol Harum, Golden Earring, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, Lou Reed, Aerosmith, AC/DC, The Cure, Toots Thielemans, Keith Jarrett and John McLaughlin.
From the 1980s onwards the festival was superseded by Torhout-Werchter, that has now become Rock Werchter. For over 300 years, Bilzen was part of the County of Loon. Alden Biesen Castle in the village of Rijkhoven. Munsterbilzen Abbey Bert Appermont, conductor Elke Clijsters, tennis player and younger sister of Kim Clijsters. Kim Clijsters, tennis player. Valérie Courtois, volleyball player Lisa del Bo, singer Camille Huysmans, Prime Minister. Jelle Vossen, football player Official website Community Bilzen on Leesmee