Next year, we will be finishing our massive City Guide project — a total of 50 articles dedicated to Prague’s many quarters, neighborhoods, and city parts. A total in-depth look under the skin of Czechia’s biggest city, the project will take three years, with 2018 being the second one.
These are twelve of your most favorite articles published in 2018. Thanks for reading us! <3
The official website looks like it might remember the times when Keith Richards was actually sober. It seems like the people at Sapa have more important things to do than to update a website. And that’s fine.
The area, basically a large chunk of land south of Prague proper where you can get either by taxi or by taking a bus at Kačerov or Budějovická metro stops, doesn’t really need any outside recognition. Everyone’s happy as they are.
Read the article here: The Inimitable Charm of Prague's Little Hanoi
Charles Square, colloquially known as Karlák, owes much of its importance to its size: it’s the single biggest city square in the Czech Republic. You’ll find several bigger ones throughout Europe, but those are generally much more predictable – giant open spaces that take forever to cross, usually with a statue, some monument, a fountain, a tomb, or something like that in the middle.
Karlák is not like that. Although it has several monuments as well, it’s less open space and more Prague’s own version of that maze at the end of the Triwizard Tournament.
Read the article here: The Unique Cosmos of Life at Charles Square
“Look, there’s nothing punk about this place, but you can still reach for the mantra of the better people — SPORT ACTIVITIES,” counters Jáchym, another local contact who, by the way, works as a realtor in one of the poshest agencies around, so he should know a thing or two about SPORT ACTIVITIES.
“When we first moved here, we immediately went jogging in Ďáblický háj. It was awesome. It was also the last time we’ve left the house — the only exception being the nearest bar. Ha, ha, ha.”
Read the article here: The Peculiar Perks of Growing Up in Kobylisy
It was the middle of the summer when we visited, and we were the only Czech speaking people in the beer garden. The rest of the patrons were foreigners coming in from the adjacent campsite.
“There are three camps on this street alone,” Adam explains. “This one is the biggest. The others are often located in someone’s backyard: a guy lives there all year and opens a makeshift camp for the summer. Visitors park their vans in the garden and shower in the guy’s house.”
Read the article here: The Un-Prague-Like Aristocracy and Randomness of Troja
He’s not the only one to say something like that, and, in fact, the sheer volume of stories we’ve managed to gather persuaded us to just give up trying to come up with something of our own, so we’re now gonna end this article with a series of testimonies.
Starting in Chapeau Rouge, a legendary club that spans three floors and Girl says it’s sort of an initiation ritual to go there, kinda like when the kids in Namibia have to kill a lion with their bare hands in order to become men.
Read the article here: The Hidden Gems of the 'Roxy Area'
Banker’s flat is located right in the heart of the panel jungle. However, he doesn’t believe that living in such a building would necessarily have to be less comfortable. "Yeah, there are hundreds of people living basically atop each other, but how exactly is that worse than the city where you meet crowds every time you go outside?"
"It might feel like you’re gonna lose some privacy, but keep in mind how huge the whole neighborhood is. The buildings are massive, yes, but so is the space separating them. Stodůlky were built in an era when the architects and engineers actually cared for people’s well being.
Read the article here: The Meticulously Planned Realism of Stodůlky
The streets of Libeň are bruised and battered, but there’s a good chance this won’t last for long. Given that Libeň is not far away from the city center and it’s really easy to reach it (all public transport options are readily available, 24/7), would you be really surprised if the Gentrification Army annexed it sometime soon? We probably wouldn’t.
In the meanwhile, though, let’s savor the underground chaos that still reigns supreme here. For Libeň is basically an urban equivalent of that guy who goes to parties wearing nothing but a washed out Guns’n’Roses tee, cargo shorts, a live rat, and a bag filled with forty bottles of random alcohol.
Read the article here: The Hectic Scenery of Underground Libeň
“For me, Ořechovka is the most charming of all Prague’s villa quarters,” he shares, adding that a large part of its uniqueness stem from it being built in a distinctively English style.
The most prevalent building material here are bright red bricks, the windows are tall and narrow, the houses have big chimneys and quaint little gardens in front — it really feels like someone decided to create a neighborhood right out of an English stereotype textbook. The Dursleys wouldn’t look out of place here.
Read the article here: The Old-Timey Vibe of Střešovice, Ořechovka & Petřiny
“Look, true underground haircuts,” Boy points to a generally shared feature of local patrons. "Like: I haven’t washed my hair since the Revolution, because I was so happy I went to the pub right afterwards, and haven’t left since."
There are tons of small details decorating the walls, including an obligatory 80’s photo of Václav Havel, paper cutouts filled with jovial Czech puns about alcohol, and an old-school fireplace: the wood is stocked right next to the building, and the fire gives the place a warm feeling of a mountain cabin. Last thing we saw was a random guy storming in the pub like Batman, yelling: "Oh Jesus Fucking Christ, the rain is horrible. And whose fault it is? The Communists'!"
Read the article here: The Irrevocable Genius Loci of Žižkov's Main Street
When our Contact enters Jarda Mayer, he’s childishly happy with his answering machine prank, and as Vypsaná Fixa — a Czech rock band that everyone listened to when they were in high school — blasts from the speakers, he tries to flirt with the bartender using a technique nobody else have thought of in the history of flirting. “Miss! Miss, are you working here?” he asks her, while she’s waiting tables and generally working there. "I was saying to myself: Why does a nice girl like you just randomly run around the restaurant?"
“That’s gotta be the most creative pick-up line ever,” snaps our Girl, “but it won’t be much effective. You should try something less… dumb.” Contact excuses himself, adding that he’s already hammered as all hell. It’s 6 PM.
Read the article here: The Ingenious Anarchy of Nightlife in Smíchov
At Herna Oslík, the tender tells us that she won’t serve us a beer unless we throw some money into a slot machine. “Fuck that,” resolves Boy, “we’re going to Florenc. Drink with the nocturnal bus people.” It’s 3 AM, and our notes about the evening are almost completely wiped out from that moment on. The only one that survived was that Boy spent a good amount of time talking to some Romanian guys about the tactical nous of Romanian football. Then morning came, the guys left for Bucharest, and Boy presumably went home.
And that’s the thing with Karlín: Yeah, it’s all shiny and new and corporate-friendly, people are earning big money here, sitting in their brand new glass cages and eating food that can be ordered only with a B2 level at French. But the flood didn’t completely kill everything. Shades of the old Karlín still remain, if you go underground. So — if you manage to mix it properly — it really seems like a great place to live.
Read the article here: The Two-Faced Miracle of Karlín
But just a few steps down the hill, around two main squares (Vršovické and Čechovo), the neighborhood starts to change. Keep walking, and a few minutes later, as you’ll cross over Botič and go further towards the railroad tracks, you’ll find yourself in a true urban jungle.
“Vršovice are small and packed, so everything I need, I have right at hand,” says Blondie. "Around Krymská, you have your new hip venues, coffee places and such. The area around Botič is basically a Normcore Kingdom. The more south you go, the more edges appear — wilderness creeping in through the concrete, lonely parks that’ll take you to the end of the city, Soviet-era buildings from all decades sharing place with old churches and residential houses, old villas along the railway where Gypsy families live…"
Read the article here: The Unkempt Beauty of Working Man's Vršovice
That’s it. We’re heading for the finish line now. Next stop: Košíře, scheduled arrival on January 17th. Stay tuned. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!