Luxury Shopping in Kotva Department Store
In 1975, Kotva opened its doors as a key-shopping centre and locals went there in droves. This was as close as Czechs could get to western luxury. Today, Kotva is still an epitome of luxury although the Palladium Shopping Centre situated right opposite it is a serious competitor and one of the most popular shopping malls in the centre of Prague. Kotva applies the shop-in-shop concept. You will find well-known brands such as Burburry, Bvlgari and Armani, and also Baldan (Italian shoes), Madera (organic cosmetics) and Sassa (women’s lingerie).
Kotva Department Store: Now
Apart from its architectural details, Kotva got rid of all Soviet-style references such as indifferent service and empty shelves. Kotva department store is spread over five floors and offers a mix of shops, from fashion to electronics and from toys to cosmetics. Many international brands have their shop here: Dior, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Ecco, Desigual, Burberry, and more. Buy here Bohemian crystal and onion pattern porcelain at a better price than in the shops near Old Town Square. Look Kitchen and Coffee cafe and bistro on the ground floor is a great place for breakfast or morning coffee.Their lunch menu features authentic pasta dishes, crisp salads and crusty Panini, as if you were having lunch in Italy.
Kotva Department Store: Then
When Kotva opened, it was the largest department store in Czechoslovakia and the fifth largest in Europe with 2,000 employees serving up to 75,000 customers a day. The store represented luxury and prosperity and was a showcase of modern shopping showing the success of socialism, but it was often nearly empty of merchandise. Kotva survived the Velvet Revolution, kept up its good name for some time after 1989, but did not change its style. It had still indifferent staff and a limited selection of goods. After the customer had decided what to buy the shop-assistant gave a receipt to the customer who had to go to the cash desk to pay and then return to the assistant who handed the article to the customer. In 2007 after the arrival of Palladium Shopping Centre located right opposite Kotva sales dropped. The board decided to change its policy and make the store more customer-friendly and adopted the shop-in-shop concept.
Kotva and Architecture
The Kotva building is an architectural gem; that is to say if you like steel and concrete structures with large dark-coloured glass panes on the outside. The store’s layout is composed of interlocking hexagons to suggest busy bees. The building, controversial in its time, was designed by architects Věra Machoninová and Vladimir Machonin. The construction, between 1970 and 1975, was commissioned to a Swedish firm, quite unusual during the communist era.
How to get there
Kotva is centrally located on Namesti Republiky and close to na Prikope and Wenceslas Square shopping streets. It is also close to the Mucha Museum and the Museum of Communism. Opposite Kotva, the Palladium Shopping Centre with 200 stores, is the largest shopping mall in the centre of Prague. Smaller shopping arcades in na Prikope street such as Myslebek, Cerna Ruze and Slovansky Dum offer pleasant shopping.
Address: Kotva Department Store, Namesti Republiky 8
Opening hours: 7 days a week from 09.00 – 20.00, Albert Supermarket 7 days a week from 07.00 – 22.00.
Public transport: Metro line B, Republiky metro station, tram: 6, 8, 26 Republiky stop
Photos: Marianne Crone