President Tony Tan presented with key to Czech city of Prague during state visit

President Tony Tan receives the key to the city of Prague.
President Tony Tan receives the key to the city of Prague.ST PHOTO: RACHEL AU-YONG
President Tony Tan receives the key to the city of Prague.
President Tony Tan receives the key to the city of Prague.ST PHOTO: RACHEL AU-YONG
President Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan look up at the Prague astronomical clock.
President Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan look up at the Prague astronomical clock.ST PHOTO: RACHEL AU-YONG

President Tony Tan Keng Yam was given the key to Prague on Thursday (May 25), the highest honour a city's administration can award a guest.

The symbolic gesture of handing over an ornamental key was made by the capital city's mayor, Ms Adriana Krnacova, in a ceremony in the former mediaeval settlement of Old Town in Prague.

Dr Tan said he was honoured to receive the key to a charming city, adding that having seen it, the praises heaped on the Golden City "are indeed true''.

"Prague is rich in culture and history, and its architecture is truly breathtaking," he added.

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The trove of buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras has made it a popular tourist destination, attracting seven million visitors last year, said Dr Tan, who is on a four-day state visit to the Czech Republic.

He also noted its strength as an economic, cultural and research hub.


The key to the city of Prague. ST PHOTO: RACHEL AU-YONG

Singapore and Prague share several similarities: "Both are vibrant, cosmopolitan cities that have embraced progress, development and sustainability.''

Both can also continue to learn from each other, he added, and improve cooperation especially in urban planning and education.

Ms Krnacova noted that Singapore and the Czech Republic feature lions in their coat-of-arms, a symbol of strength, perseverance, fearlessness and prudence.

"It is said that an army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lion led by sheep," she said. "I hope that Prague follows the role model of Singapore and become a true regional leader."

Earlier in the day, he was hosted to lunch by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

He also met Mr Jan Hamacek, who chairs the lower chamber of Parliament. He had met the president of the upper chamber, Mr Milan Stech, the previous evening.

During the meetings, the leaders welcomed more cooperation in research and development, education and culture.

Both sides said there was potential to step up investment, trade and tourism, and urged the early ratification of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.