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Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 15:48 GMT
Charles shares architecture lament
Prince of Wales
The Prince sees the beautiful side of Bratislava
The Prince of Wales saw the beatiful and the ugly side of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, on his three day tour of Central Europe.

Prince Charles, who is known for his dislike of much modern architecture, sympathised with the Mayor of Bratislava about a 1960s road which disfigured the city's greatest architectural gem - its cathedral.

The Mayor Jozef Moravcik complained about the unsightly thoroughfare, built right alongside St Martin's Cathedral in the city's historic Jewish quarter.

The road was constructed by the Communists after World War II.

Mr Moravcik described the throughfare, which runs through the centre of Slovakia's capital, as "catastrophic".

A princely lament

"When was the road put there?" the Prince asked.

The Mayor said it had been built during the 1960s to which the Prince replied: "They did it in Britain too. It's unbelievable what's happened there too.

Prince of Wales in Bratislava
The Prince of Wales views a sculpture in the town of Bratislava

"Some of us have been trying to put things back ever since. It's not easy."

Having seen the ugly side of Bratislava, Prince Charles also saw the beautiful side when he met two beauty queens, Martina Vrazda, 21, and Adriana Rakovsek, 20, who are finalists in the Miss Slovakia contest.

The Prince also visited a refuge for women and child victims of violence which he helped set up.

He toured the Hope Centre in Bratislava which aims to stamp out domestic violence, and has partly been funded by British grants.

He shook hands and chatted with residents of the Slovak capital who lined the picturesque streets.

On Tuesday he delighted locals by trying his hand at an ancient wind instrument.

Prince Charles and Vaclav Havel
Prince Charles' visit included an audience with Czech president Vaclav Havel

Accepting the metre-long fujara from 82-year-old forester Jan Mikuska, who had carved it from sycamore maple especially for him, the Prince immediately set about learning to play it.

He also took an hour's walk in a primeval forest.

On Monday Prince Charles met the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel during a welcoming ceremony at Prague Castle, Prague.

The Prince was in the Czech Republic to support the Prague Heritage Fund which aims to preserve the architecture of one of Europe's most beautiful cities.

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16 Sep 99 | e-cyclopedia
Junkitecture: Goodbye to all that?
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