The art of distraction: A look at Prague Airport’s photography exhibit

Prague's international airport is showcasing the life of Václav Havel, the former Czech president in pictures.

Source: Gunnar Garfors

From hosting temporary exhibitions to unveiling bold art sculptures, many airports are trying to relieve travel boredom and stress by incorporating art and culture into passenger terminals.

Prague’s international airport is leading the way with an impressive photo gallery of the late Czech president, Václav Havel: a popular and respected figure at home – perhaps even more so abroad.

Remembered as a playwright, filmmaker and later in his life, a politician, Václav Havel was a very public figure, but he didn’t enjoy being photographed.

The temporary photo exhibition – a collaboration between Prague Airport and the Czech News Agency – displays the images of Havel taken by a number of Czech photographers between 1988 and 2011, the year of his death.

Many of the photos are atypical of a president, often showing an exaggerated and funny side to the former leader. Others show Havel alongside familiar faces, including the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger.

The photos are set against stark white backgrounds and displayed on chunky black metal stands that take up a lot of floor space. The modern terminal building does however handle this well, and the exhibition doesn’t feel cramped. Floor to ceiling windows let in a lot of natural light.

It is no coincidence that this exhibition can be experienced near runways, gates and baggage belts. The airport was recently renamed Václav Havel Airport Prague to honour the late President.

The exhibition can be found in the check-in area inside the modern Terminal 2 building, a 100-metre walk from Terminal 1.

The attraction will remain open until December 21, 2012.

Airport chess: it’s your move…

These unique statues of ‘Minotaurus’ (mythical creatures with a bull’s head and a human body) decorate the corner space in front of Terminal 2 and were created by students of the Academy of Fine Arts of Prague (AVU).

When in Prague…

A visit to Prague wouldn’t be complete without exploring the Old Town and its labyrinth of cobbled streets. At the centre of it all is the Old Square, home to the Jan Hus Monument, the Astronomical Clock and the fairy tale Gothic Týn Church.

Also don’t forget that beer was invented in the Czech Republic. A wide range of traditional bars and restaurants offer plenty of opportunities to taste different types of beer. Skip the taverns with signs in English outside if you want to avoid the most touristy watering holes where the beer can cost four times more than where the locals go.

Also worth ticking off your list: a walk along the river and across the 600-year old Charles Bridge and a visit to Prague Castle, the oldest ancient castle in the world.

Downtown Prague, or ‘Praha’ as it is called locally, is located 9 miles (15 km) from the airport. Buses run frequently and a one-way ticket will currently cost you 60 koruna (£1.90) if purchased from the bus driver (32 koruna/ £1 if purchased from a vending machine inside the airport terminal). A taxi ride will set you back around 650 to 1000 koruna (£21-£32).

Click here for more information on the photo exhibition at Prague Airport.

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