City Quarter of Prague 5

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From the point of view of its area and number of inhabitants, the city couarter Prague 5 belongs to the biggest in Prague. It is located on the left bank of the Vltava river close to the historical Prague centre where the border is created by a well-preserved medieval fortification, the so called “Hunger wall”. This area has been settled as early as in primeval ages, the fact being evidenced at many historical sites.  The fifth city quarter consists of several originally independent villages Smíchov, Košíře, Motol, Hlubočepy, Radlice, Jinonice-Butovice and south ledge of Malá Strana.

This is a very diversified area with street built-up areas, summer residence districts, smaller residential areas, new residential complexes, factories and several protected areas. What is typical for Prague 5 are the former farmhouses and summer-houses in the gardens. The terrain of the city quarter is latticed in a very interesting way, it consists of several parallel valleys with streams which are mouthed into the Vltava river. The sign of the fifth city quarter is an adapted original Smichov sign.

The central part of Prague 5 is Smíchov, which was mentioned for the first time in the end of the 13th century in the Zbraslav’s chronicle in connection with coronation of the king Wenceslas II. This is what the chronicle says about the place of the coronation feast, “… there was built a wooden palace between the hill Petřín and the Vltava river bank on a flat and beautiful plain”. In the area of the current Smíchov there was located a part of the settlement Újezd with a roman church of St. Jacob (later St. Philip and St. Jacob). The Carthusian monastery, which was established by the king Jan Lucemburský in the 14th century, was fired by Hussites and today the place is reminded only by the name of the street – the Carthusian Street. Since the medieval age there were vineyards, hop gardens, yards, fields and gardens belonging to the church on the majority of the area, close to the Vltava river banks there were water mills. Since the end of the 16th century the Prague burghers and nobility used to build summer houses in Smíchov, which created a special character of the city quarter. In the end of the 17th century a part of Smíchov together with other villages was taken over by the Schwarzenberg family. Several times during the centuries the war hordes passed through Smíchov and partly damaged it.

The establishment of several manufactures in the 18th century marked a tremendous industrial development of Smíchov. Since the beginning of the 19th century significant changes occurred here. The gardens and summer-houses were gradually replaced by contruction of factories for manufacturing various kind of goods. Smíchov became “a one hundred chimneys Manchester”. In 1838 Smíchov was promoted to a suburb, the second oldest one in Prague, and in 1850 to town, which was confirmed ex post in 1903. Since 1848 Smíchov has had its own municipality. In the second half of the 19th century there was built a city hall, which was located in the Štefánik’s Avenue (Štefánikova třída), on the opposite side of the city hall there was a new St. Wenceslas Church. At the same time also dwelling houses and working class colonies were built here. In the last decade of the 19th century the building activity in Smíchov culminated and in the beginning of the 20th century a center of the town was relocated to the current 14th October Square (náměstí 14. října). On the property of the original botanical gardens there were built two buildings in the secesion style, The Market House and the National House with halls and several rooms for club and social events.  

The next part of Prague 5 is Košíře. The first historical records date back to 1185. In the medieval age the property of the city quarter belonged to church and the Royal Chamber. During the reign of Charles IV there were established vineyards which were owned by the Prague burghers. During the next centuries the village was owned by various aristocratic families and a part of it was in the ownership of the city of Prague. Also Košíře was devastated during various war raids, in the 18th century almost all vineyards were totally damaged. In the 19th century the amount of local population began to increase and also several factories were built here. In 1851 Košíře was connected to Smíchov, but in 1859 it was separated and it became an independent village. In 1896 Košíře was promoted to a city with its own sign and the city hall, which is still situated in the Plzenská Avenue (Plzeňská třída). In the 20th century the city development continued and a number of inhabitants increased. Their working places were situated predominantly in the neighbouring Smíchov. 

A cadastral territory of Motol is almost of the same area as Košíře but with much less inhabitants, fewer than one quarter. Motol is mentioned for the first time in 1146 in the record of the Plaský monastery. Probably in the medieval age the area was also covered by vineyards up to the hillside raising from the Motol stream. Since the 18th century the village was owned by Maltese Knights order. Neither during the 19th century nor in the 20th century, a number of inhabitants in Motol hasn’t significantly increased. 

The second biggest land area after Smíchov is Hlubočepy. In the medieval age there were located three settlements, Hlubočepy and Zlíchov, mentioned for the first time in 1222, and Klukovice, the first records of which date back to the 14th century. It is known that in the medieval age in Hlubočepy and Zlíchov there were several vineyards and hop gardens. In the 16th century Hlubočepy was bought by the Prague merchant Hanuš Falk, who built here a fortress with courtyard. After the battle at Bíla Hora the property was obtained by Pavel Michna from Vacínov, in the 18th century the property belonged to the Jesuit order till its abolition. Then the properties in the villages were sold to private owners. In the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century the situation here changed significantly. The new railways and several factories were built, thus increasing a number of inhabitants.

Jinonice and Butovice are probably the oldest of the villages on the territory of the current city quarter Prague 5. The first record dates back to 1088, when these two settlements were mentioned, among others, in the Foundation Deed of the Collegiate Canonry at Vyšehrad. Very probably there existed fortresses in both these settlements. One of them was transformed into a manor-house with brewery in the beginning of 17th century. After the battle at Bíla Hora the property of both villages was obtained by Pavel Michna from Vacínov. After the 30-years war only several houses remained undamaged and in a short time Jinonice and Butovice were bought by the Schwarzenberg family, the last owner of the property. During the 19th century the number of inhabitants doubled, but no industrial sites were established. There was only a limestone quarry, lime-kiln and brick manufacture here. As late as in 1911 Josef Walter built a big car plant in Jinonice.

The first record of the village Radlice dates back to 1283, when the king Wenceslas II gave the village to his nanny. During several centuries the village belonged with breaks to the Old City Convent of St.Ann, till its abolition in 1785. Then the Schwarzenberg family became the new owner of the property. It is well known that in the medieval age the vineyards and hop gardens were established here. During the 19th century several industrial plants were set up also in Radlice, e.g. diary works, lime-kiln, brick manufacture etc. A part of local population was employed in the neighbouring Smíchov.   

Also a small part of a land area of Malá Strana belongs to the area of the city quarter of Prague 5. It comprises several blocks of houses from the Vítězná Street, which are located in the area of the former settlement Újezd, behind the medieval age fortification of Malá Strana.

In 1922 all the above mentioned villages became a part of Big Prague, a capital of the newly established Czechoslovak Republic. Foremost it was a city quarter of Prague XVI and XVII, since 1949 as Prague 4 and 16 and since 1960 as Prague 5.

In the connection with changes of the whole Prague into a stately capital of the republic, also the city quarter of Prague 5 has been changed. The colonies of summer residencies, tenement-houses and family houses grew up in green areas of Smíchov’s and Košíře’s slopes Malvazinka, Hřebenka, Cibulka etc. In the land area of Hlubočepy, called Barrandov, according to a French geologist Joachim Barrand, in the 20's of the 20th century the young engineer Václav Havel, father of the former president of the Czechoslovak Republic Václav Havel, began to implement a magnificent plan. On the Barrandovská cliff he built a restaurant and a coffe-palace “Terasy” according to a project of an architect and a director Max Urban. In the 30's of the 20th century also the bar Trilobit, a swimming pool, an area with summer residences and movie art studios became another part of Barrandov’s garden town. A young engineer Havel inspired by USA created a small Hollywood in Barrandov. Also several factories were rebuilt and new ones were built as well. In Smíchov there were built Women dormitories, the traffic was increased, new bridges were built, e.g. Jirásek Bridge, and the whole existing fifth Prague quarter was modernized. This promising development of the city quarter was interrupted by the WWII. During the WWII the various resistance groups operated in the area of the city quarter and employees of several factories striked, e.g. in 1941 it was Waltrovka Jinonice, which ensured important military orders. On February  14th, 1945 during the air-raid of  the 8th American air force army several bombs fell down on Farkáň, and heavily damaged several houses and killed their inhabitants. The quarter of Prague 5 played an important role during the Prague uprise when several bodies operated here, e.g. insurgents, Russian liberation army of general Vlasov, governmental forces from the Štefánik barracks (today The Hall of Justice), in the last phase also the Red Army, police and railwaymen from Smíchov railway station were included and in Jinonice railway station the trains full of weapons were seized. Tens of barricades were built, churches served as charnel houses. On May 9th 1945, in the afternoon, the strong combats occurred between units of insurgents and a militant group Wallenstein in the area of Zlíchov. There were several hundreds occupation and uprise victims, we can read their names on memorial tablets and monuments. 

The post-war time is characterized mainly by a shortage of flats which then began to be solved by building panelled blocks of flats. They were located mostly in uninhabited suburbs of  the city. Also Prague 5 is „decorated“ with several panelled blocks of flats like Barrandov, Homolka and some smaller groups of panelled houses. There was a continuing development of industrial plants. In the 60's the construction of children’s hospital began in Motol and in the 80's hospital for adults At Homolka was built.

Nowadays the central part of Prague 5, Smíchov, is being gradually changed. Several new business centres have appeared at the site with older build-up area and former production halls. After completion of all constructions the whole character of the city quarter will be completely changed and it will become an important extension of the city centre on the left bank of the Vltava river. One of the premises was named „Golden Angel“, according to a name of the house „At Golden Angel’s“ which was originally located here.  An author of the project is a world known architect Jean Nouvel. After finishing the premises there will be offices, shops and restaurants. Other premises is Angel City which is located between Stroupežnického and Radlická Street. It offers to the visitors offices, flats, shops, restaurants but also a cinema multiplex and bowling. The shopping and culture centre Carrefour-Nový Smíchov was built at the place of the former Ringhoffer’s factory close to the Plzenská Street. Next to the hypermarket there will be shops, restaurants and a cinema multiplex. The centre will be connected with the park Sacré Coeur by a bridge for pedestrians. There are built also new residential premises, e.g. in Smíchov  “At Trinity” and in Janonice “At Cross”, another one in Barrandov.    

St.Vavřinec Church in Butovice, one of the oldest monuments of Prague 5, has been constructed in roman style. The Church of St.Philip and St.Jacob in Zlíchov was originally from the medieval age. The relief tablets from lime tree, which come from this church, are exhibited in the National Gallery. The most numerous landmarks in Prague 5 are settlements and summer-houses with gardens and parks. Some of them date back to the medieval age, but most of them originated in the 17th and 18th centuries. The baroque constructor K.I.Dientzenhofer, who is an author of several Prague cathedrals and palaces, built a summer-house called „Portheimka“ for his family. Bertramka is the most famous settlement in Smíchov, it is famous due to visits of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was the place where he finished his opera Don Giovanni, which had the world opening in Prague. At Bertramka there is a monument dedicated to W.A.Mozart and his hosts, the Dušek family, who have been graved in the former Malá Strana cemetery located nearby. At this cemetery there was graved also the last Pasov bishop Leopold Thun-Hohenstein, who in the 19th century rebuilt an old farm Cibulka in Košíře into a mansion surrounded by English park. The earl Rudolf Kinský built a classicistic villa in the garden, established in the south slope of Petřín in 19th century, at the site of former monastery vineyards. In the beginning of the 20th century the nationhood collection of the National museum was placed here. In the end of 19th century close to this place there were built two new monasteries Sacré Coeur and St. Gabriel. In the interior of the monastery churches there are preserve valuable paintings of the Beuron painting school. The author of the main Smíchov St.Wenceslas Cathedral is Antonín Barviti and on the opposite side to the cathedral there is a well preserved city hall, the facade of which is a work of Josef Schulz. Both buildings are of neo-renaissance style. In Smíchov there is a well preserved former synagogue and in Radlice there is a Jewish cemetery with the oldest gravestones from 18th century. The biggest secesse building in the city quarter of Prague 5 is the National House, which was designed by an architect Alois Čenský. At the same time there were built several very high quality blocks of flats and summer residencies. The monuments of modern architecture are located in the city quarter of Prague 5 as well, e.g. a complex of terraces in Barrandov, Movie art studios and areas with summer residencies, a summer residence in the Na Cihlářce Str., co-designed by an architect Adolf Loos, St. Jan Nepomucký Church in Košíře, the former factory Hydroxygen in Hlubočepy, technical monuments like a historical aqueduct Na Vidouli or a viaduct Buštěhradská railway.

During the 19th century several industrial plants were built in the area of Prague 5 – breweries, malting-houses, water and steam mills, chocolate and confectionery production plant, weaving plants, wash-houses, tanneries, glove-making workshops, chemical plants, porcelain factories, lithography plants, brick-kilns, gas-works. The most important one was the Ringhoffer factory for carriages and railway tenders, which belonged to the biggest factories in the Austrian monarchy. Later the foundry and machine works were added to it. In the end of the 19th century an electric power station was built and in the beginning of the 20th century dairy works were built. In Košíře a brewery belonged to the biggest plants. In Radlice there was established a foundry and one porcelain factory from Smíchov was relocated here. In Zlíchov there were glassworks and lime-kiln. Another lime-kilns were situated in Hlupočepy. During the times some of the factories were closed down and other ones started up. Nowadays the factory Walter in Jinonice, producing the aircraft engines, and the brewery Staropramen in Smíchov are the biggest plants in the city quarter

Since time immemorial important roads intersected the territory of the existing Prague 5, directed to the west, east and eastwest from the Prague. Only the 19th century brought a change in the traffic system. The operation of the Czech west railways started in 1862 by an opening ceremony, on the railway line Praha - Plzeň - Furth im Wald, coming out from the Smíchov railway station. The operation the Buštěnice railways with two viaducts called Prague Semmering started in 1872. One year later Prague – Duchcov railway line was put into operation. The Smíchov railway station was connected to the railway station of an emperor Franz Josef I (today the Main railway station) by the Prague connecting railways through the railway bridge under Vyšehrad. During the 19th century also the river Vltava was made navigable and several ports and other bridges were built, which enabled the tram and later the car connection with Prague. The operation of the horse railway from Karlín to Smíchov started in 1876 and in 1897 the Košíře mayor Matěj Hlaváček had a tram line built from Klamovka to Anděl. In June 7, 1927 during the construction works on Zlíchov - Hlubočepy line, the 100th kilometer of tram line was reached. In 1925 the public bus service to Jinonice began to operate, in 1939 the public trolley service W, connecting the Plzenská Street and the Walter factory in Jinonice was established. The public trolley service was definitely closed in 1972. Since 1985 the subway line B has been operating, connecting Prague 5 with the center and Prague 13. The newest bridge is the Barrandovský bridge – it is a part of a middle traffic circuit, which will continue by the road directed to the built tunnels Mrázovka and further into the Strahovský tunnel, which is a connection to Prague 6. 

Although a character of the city quarter of Prague 5 has been rather industrial since 19th century, the quarter has been living a very rich cultural and social life. A number of men of letters lived here, creative artists, painters, dramatists and scientists as well. There was also a rich musical life with several choirs and orchestras. Josef Mánes painted a choir flag for the Smichov choir society Lukes. The first records about performances of strolling companies and amateur actors companies at various places of Prague 5 date back to the 40's of the 19th century. The first theatre in Smíchov began to operate under the command of Pavel Švanda from Semčice with his wife Eliška Pešková, at first only on two wooden stages and from the 80's in the house At Libuše’s, later it was transformed into the Švandovo theater, with plenty of extraordinary actors. From among the famous natives we can mention a journalist and a writer Jakub Arbes, a sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek, a songster and cabaret artist Karel Hašler. Among others also the constructor of the National theatre Josef Zítek lived here, a president of  the Czechoslovak Republic T.G.Masaryk lived here as well for a short time as a professor-beginner. The landscape painter Julius Mařák, creator of  a puppet movie Jiří Trnka, a writer and a poet Fráňa Šrámek also lived here. Some famous foreigners lived here too, e.g. W.A.Mozart, a geologist and a paleontologist Joachim Barrande, for whom Prague and Bohemia became the second homeland, a physicist and inventor of theory of relativity Albert Einstein, a writer and a dramatist Lion Feuchtwanger, etc. The movie art studio at Kavalírka was opened in 1926 and modern movie art studios at Barrandov started to operate in 1933. In these days Prague 5 has several cultural and social sites. It is Bertramka, where music is played during the whole year, the sumer residence Portheimka with exhibition spaces, the National House where concerts, exhibitions and balls are organized. Some churches serve as concert halls. In the culture club Poštovka you can devote to various hobbies. There are also many clubs which are visited mainly by youth. Other cultural sites in Prague 5 will be opened in the new centers next to the Plzenská Street and after reconstruction of the Švandovo Theater.             

The existing city quarter of Prague 5 has been priding itself on a high number of schools and mainly on the way they were care for in the past. The oldest records about education level and way of teaching date back to the 18th century. In the last quarter of the 19th century unprecedented boom of school system arrived. The current school structure in city quarter is very diversified and we can find some very special schools here.

In the 19th century there were established many sport clubs, the most famous one being Sokol, which was established gradually in almost all parts of the existing city quarter of Prague 5, in Smíchov it was done in 1868. Later on other sports clubs were established. There were constructed many playgrounds for various sports. Today it is possible to do almost every kind of sport in the city quarter, from football, handball, tennis to water sports and golf.

Only a few Prague city quarters can boast about such a diverse countryside with so many natural landmarks, protected areas and parks, like Prague 5. They comprise the Barrandovská cliff in Hlubočepy, Vidoule in Jinonice, Motol ordovik, Ctirad, Skalka in Košíře, the Prokopské and Dalejské valley and park Košíře,­ Motol. Then we can mention the parks around summer-houses and settlements like Klamovka, Santoška, Cibulka, Kinský’s garden and a former garden of the Sacré Coeur monastery. The marked tourist paths lead through natural parks; you can walk tens of kilometers without leaving the city quarter.

Let us wish the city quarter of Prague 5 to further develop to the satisfaction of its inhabitants and visitors and to be an important part of the capital of Czech Republic. 

Přečteno: 1550x
Publikováno: 01.03.2008, poslední změna: 29.01.2008