Holesovice Residential and Entertainment District
Holesovice was an unattractive area where tourists had no reason to go. That was ten years ago, but Holesovice has undergone a metamorphosis. The district was known mainly because of its busy river port, all kinds of factories and workshops. An occasional tourist would venture to Prazska trznice, Prague market mainly to browse or buy knuckle dusters, butterfly knives or counterfeit branded goods imported directly from Vietnam.
Holesovice is located north of Prague centre on the left bank of the Vltava River. The neighbourhood is sandwiched between two charming parks: Stromovka the largest green area in Prague and Letna, famous for the welcoming beer garden and the sweeping view of the city.
In recent years, many creative and commercial entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the low rents and empty spaces and redesigned them as art galleries, shops, cafés, clubs and bars. Holesovice is a must-see must-go district for anyone who wants to experience Prague without tourists and who is interested in modern and contemporary art museums.
Holesovice and Fun Shopping
1. Vnitroblock consists of the Signature Store and cafe, the Sector Dance Studio and an Underground Cinema known as the Mini Cinema. Signature store is a showroom for young designers and a store selling original brands and fashion designed by young Czech and European. The café is a good place to enjoy the most delicious cakes, freshly roasted coffee and homemade soups. Vnitroblock also regularly hosts lectures, art exhibitions and live DJs. The Sector Dance Studio offers different movement lessons. If you are interested in in your own design, there is a space where you can create your own designer T-shirt.
Address: Tusarova 31
2. Prague Market, also known as Holesovice Market and Prazska trznice in Czech, was originally a slaughterhouse, but since the 1980s it has been a fruit and vegetable market for local residents. It is a network of small alleys and combines a biological market with entertainment centre. The market used to be famous for counterfeit goods and product that were forbidden in many countries, like balaclavas, butterfly knives and knuckle dusters. You will find here several Vietnamese restaurants and food stalls.
Address: Bubenske nabrezi 13
3. Komunardu shopping street in Holesovice buy Bohemian crystal, wooden puppets and other things you want to take home from Prague. Buy here rather than in the Old Town District if you want to pay non-inflated tourist prices. Bazar Antik is the perfect place to discover second-hand gems.
Address: Komunardu 33
Holesovice and Architecture
Malý Berlín is a very small area in the Holešovice district, and includes Heřmanová, Janovského, Strojnická and Bubenská streets. The name refers to the many German-speaking Praguers who lived here between the two world wars. Today, the name Malý Berlín refers to an apartment complex with a rich history. More about Maly Berlin
2. Administration building of the former Materna lacquer and paint factory
The house at Dělnická Street 20 is an eye-catcher. It was built in Cubist style but modified in 1922 with functionalist-style details. The original facade bore the name of the owner, F.J. Materna. The shape of the entrance is also the letter ‘M’ of Materna. It was a detached house but is now sandwiched between apartment buildings. The letter ‘M’ can also be seen in the paving on the sidewalk.
3. Holka footbridge
This bridge is opposite the Holesovice Market and leads via Štvanice island to the Karlin district, a mix of old renovated apartment buildings and new office complexes. The special feature of the bridge is the bronze railing with built-in lighting. The railing knobs are in the shape of cow heads on the Holešovice side, rabbits on the branch to Štvanice and horses on the Karlin side.
Holesovice and Children
1. Crocodile Zoo is a mini zoo with only crocodiles and, believe it or not, it is situated on the first floor of an apartment building. All in all, there are thirty reptiles, eleven different types of caimans, crocodiles and alligators from different parts of the world. Be sure come at feeding time. The zoo keeper tells about the crocodiles, what they eat how they sleep and all kind of interesting details. The only snag is that his talk is in Czech. Afterwards you can hold a baby crocodile in your arms and cuddle the leathery reptile. Feeding times are on Saturday and Sunday at 10.30 AM and 2.00 PM.
Address: Tusarova 39
3 Vltavska metro station is a bit neglected but unique because of the best street art in Prague. Mode 2 made a beautiful painting of a kissing couple and a girl listening to music with earphones.
4. Sea World, Morsky Svet, the best place to come face to face with a sand tiger shark or watch brightly coloured fish flash by. Special lighting effects simulate day and night. The carpet sharks and the stingrays are quite scary to see. The moray eels with sharp teeth are quite aggressive but can be viewed safely from behind glass.
Holesovice and Gastronomy
Holesovice has a large number of welcoming places to drink coffee or a beer, neighbourhood restaurants specializing in Czech cuisine, but also Italian, Asian and Indian. Go on a discovery tour yourself. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Bio Oko is a cafe cum cinema. Watch arthouse movies while sitting on bean bags or lounging in deck chairs. When the interior was renovated a few years ago, the retro look was retained. The film selection is wider than just arthouse. They screen various genres, older and newer films. No need to watch a film, simply have a drink and a snack in the café, a meeting place for young local residents.
Address: Frantiska Krizka 15
2. SaSaZu is a luxurious Asian restaurant that has received the Bib Gourmand prize from the Michelin Guide. It can accommodate 2.500 guests and is one of the biggest venues in Prague. Essentially, it is a club combined with an Asian restaurant. It is a clubbers paradise. Performing artists come from all over the world. Club events start at 10 PM and continue until the small hours. I
Address: Bubenske nabrezi 170
3. Cross Club one of the coolest clubs with drum’n’bass, dubstep, techno or house! It is a very special place with original (and a little psychedelic) decor. Everything is made of metal and everything moves. There are two music stages and a number of smaller rooms where you can drink a beer or play a game of table football. It is the perfect place to meet Czechs.
Address: Plynari 1096
1. Stromovka Park is a green oasis in the middle of Prague and perfect for walking, jogging, skating and cycling. The eye-catcher is the main building of the Vystaviste exhibition grounds, a construction of steel and glass and built for the jubilee exhibition in 1891. Behind the building is the ‘singing fountain’. Water sprays from 3000 nozzles creating a water curtain that is illuminated with laser light. The result is breathtaking.
2. Letna is not only a park with a beer garden and a view of Prague, it also played a historical role. During communism, there was a giant statue of Joseph Stalin in the park. When Stalin fell out of favour, the statue was blown up. The metronome that slowly ticks away the time stands now in its place. On November 25 and 26, 1989, Letna was in the spotlight when some 800,000 people gathered here during what became later known as the Velvet Revolution. They demanded the end of the communist regime. The fall of communism followed shortly after.
Two Modern Art Museums
1. DOX is a centre for modern art where artists show their work to the public. There is no permanent collection and every time you come, the exhibitions are different. The building is also interesting: a former factory with bright white walls against which the exhibits stand out beautifully. DOX specializes in Czech and international visual arts, design and architecture. The museum organizes special exhibitions and literary programs. There is also an art bookshop and a pleasant café.
Address: Poupetova 1
2. Veletrzni Palac has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Prague, presented on six floors in a functionalist-style building. The permanent exhibitions include French art from the 19th and 20th centuries, Czech art from 1960 to 1995, European art from the 20th century. There are also short-term exhibitions. The permanent collection includes works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Schiele, Klimt and also works from Czech abstract, surreal and cubist artists.
Address: Dukelskych hrindinu 47
Two Remarkable Museums in Vystaviste Exhibition Grounds
1. Lapidarium is a museum of toppled statues and full of sculptures that stood on the market squares, on bridges or near churches and cathedrals in Prague. All statues on Charles Bridge are replicas, the original ones are in the Lapidarium. Interesting to see is the sandstone statue representing the Virgin Mary between the four archangels, the remnants of the Marian Column that stood on Old Town Square but was demolished 1918. In 2020, the Marian Column was reconstructed and now stands again on Old Town Square in front of Tyn Church.
Address: Vystaviste 422
2. Maroldova Panorama shows the battle of Lipany in 1898. This may not sound very interesting. Still, it is worth seeing because this is a panorama painting, an optical illusion so that you think you are in the middle of the battlefield.
Address: Vystaviste 1
Two National Museums in Holesovice
1. National Technical Museum provides an impressive overview of the history of technology in the Czech Republic: from vehicles and airplanes to cameras and kitchen appliances. The collection documents the development of many technical fields, natural and exact sciences and industry. The main attraction is the large hall with an impressive collection of cars and airplanes. Be sure to visit the bicycle section: one bicycle is made entirely of wood. The museum houses in a monumental functionalist building which looks small from the outside, but once inside you discover that there are six floors.
Address: Kostelni 42
2. National Museum of Agriculture
Forestry, game keeping, fishing, farming, food-processing and gastronomy are presented in interactive expositions. One section is full of tractors. Tractor-enthusiast or not, everyone loves to play the interactive simulation game in which you drive a tractor. It is an ideal museum for children as there are many activities, from driving mini tractors to climbing frames and a slide. The museum provides an overview of the metamorphosis of the Czech countryside. There is also a section dedicated to brewing beer. The building is a prime example of Czech Functionalism and is located next to the National Technical Museum
Address: Kostelni 44
photos: Marianne Crone