The Best Address

Seen as chapters in a textbook of architecture or as tourist attractions, the historic residential quarters of Prague can serve as the desired oasis of calm in the middle of the vibrant city. Join us on a tour to see the Czech capital from an unexpected angle.

Oasis of Art

The most luxurious, and arguably most beautiful residential part of Prague, Hanspaulka can boast many famous residents, as well as a unique attraction. The popular “St Mathew Fair” began as part of the annual pilgrimage to the local church of St Mathew built in 1771. Originally a purely religious gathering developed into the popular entertainment event, visited annually by nearly 250 thousand people. Such crowd could never fit into the modest church grounds, so the event was relocated to the Výstaviště amusement park. Just years after the church was built, the ownership of local vineyards was transferred to the inspector of archiepiscopal estates Hans Paul Hippman who had the residence rebuilt into a baroque chateau. He also gave the name to the whole neighbourhood. 

🏡 Oasis of Luxury

The territory of the most expensive villa district of today’s Prague used to be a scenic baroque garden encircling the chateau of Jan Kryštof Bořek. People called it Bořekovka, later Vořechovka, and today it is known as Ořechovka. The garden and the chateau were irreparably damaged in 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession, and later served as an artillery warehouse. Therefore, the current names of the streets Dělostřelecká (Artillery) or Zbrojnická (Arsenal). The next heyday came with the new Czechoslovak Republic. Architects created several parallel streets lined with row houses and semi-detached houses for the clerks, and several villas for more solvent customers. Ořechovka ranked among the best Prague addresses already in the interbellum. In 1936, it was connected to the centre by the most advanced means of transport – the trolleybus. This is where you can admire one of the most lavish interwar villas – the Loos Villa, or take a guided tour of the Müller Villa.    

Oasis of Design

The first villa districts in Prague emerged already in the early 20th century, under the Austrian rule. One of the first was Strašnice. With a regular pattern of perpendicular streets, the neighbourhood is a lush gallery of architectural styles from Neo-renaissance to Art Nouveau and Functionalism, but there are also houses with elements of cubism or art-deco.

Make sure you do not overlook the Trmal Villa, no. 11 in Vilová Street, an excellent example of first-rate 20th century architecture. It is the very first villa by architect Jan Kotěra. Today, the villa hosts a permanent exhibition presenting a range of Kotěra’s architectural designs and examples of design furniture. 

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Text: Lucie Bezoušková
Photo: Petr Manuel Ulrych, Prague City Tourism
The whole article can be found in the winter issue of the
Leo Express magazine

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