Written by: Philippe Riboton
YOU DON’T NEED binoculars those days to notice that Prague is slowly but surely becoming – among other things – a sex destination. Want proof? Just walk down Wenceslas square any evening of the week. When nighttime comes and the top retail shops have closed, another business wakes up and a new world emerges…one populated by prostitutes offering their services every ten meters or so, and armies of “salesmen” giving you a bit of practical orientation to the strip bars that have recently mushroomed throughout the city. In fact, it is no secret that the arrival of low-cost airlines to Prague has brought a new clientele of “tourists” flying in for a weekend of Czech beer and cheap sex (or the other way around, if you prefer). Some say this is hurting the image of the Golden City, as it deters the quality clientele that are ready to spend top dollar (assuming the dollar is still on top), and who will just go spend it somewhere else in Europe. Prague’s reputation has supposedly gotten so tarnished that some international (meaning American) movie stars might be reluctant to come to Prague to shoot movies, for fear of seeing the world…the way it is! Sure, this may not look as stylish on a postcard as Golden Lane or Týn church, but let’s admit it: lots of other European cities have had a “sex district” on the tourist map for decades, and nobody is making a fuss about it. Who is ready to argue that Amsterdam has lost its touristic attractiveness or its international appeal because of the goods on display behind its glass windows? Business people and pleasure-seekers alike are still queuing up to visit the Dutch capital; the sex industry has just become a legitimate part of it like any other. So why couldn’t this also become a normal feature of the Czech landscape, assuming it would be regulated somehow and controlled by the relevant authorities? Taking the risk of not seeming especially politically correct, this month The Prague Tribune reveals another side of Prague business – a tour through sex and the city.