Outdoor markets return to lower Žižkov

Prokopovo náměstí was once one of the city's main shopping centers

Outdoor markets have become all the rage as people are seeking a more retro-style way of life. The latest addition is a series of markets at Prokopovo náměstí in Prague's Žižkov district. There will not be a farmers market, but instead items organized on different themes, and they will be held every two weeks.

A large market had been on the square for almost a century a quarter. After a break of over two decades, the markets will be back under the auspices of the Prague 3 Town Hall.

The first of the new markets, which was July 23, focused on clothes, fashion items and jewelry. On Aug 6/ the topic is home and garden supplies. For the next one, on Aug. 20, there is art and decorative objects. The last event scheduled so far is on Sept. 3 and will have school items, toys and children's clothes. Each market runs from 10 am to 5 pm.

“The marketplace at Prokopovo náměstí was one of the most popular in the whole city, and the location in lower Žižkov was well attended. Prague 3 Town Hall has therefore decided to build on the tradition, and vendors will offer a thematically selected range of goods. The distinctive atmosphere will be enhanced by an accompanying cultural program, including children's workshops and guided tours,” said Prague 3 Mayor Vladislava Hujová.

“Prague 3 hopes that the renewed tradition of markets will revitalize the center of the lower Žižkov and at the same time encourage and attract local tradesmen, artisans and sellers of handicrafts. I believe this renewed tradition … will promote the genius loci of Žižkov,” she said, adding the square had good parking, unlike some of its rivals.

The idea to restore markets to the square came in 2012, when a petition for a farmers market was launched. The petitions cited a preponderance of casinos, gambling bars and pawn shops, and a lack of any vital businesses that supported a positive urban lifestyle.

If the planned markets over the summer are successful, more will be added, but so far another farmers market is not planned as there are some already nearby such as the one at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad.

Prokopovo náměstí was the location of the original Town Hall and main post office for Žižkov, which made it a central spot for the area. Before 1922, Žižkov was an independent city, so the Town Hall was more than a branch office. The area has long been a working-class district, and people still embrace the reputation as a tougher than average place to live. It is sometimes referred to as the “free republic of Žižkov,” and the Town Hall has sold “passports” as souvenirs in the past. It has also been called Prague's Žižkov.

Prokopovo náměstí is named after Prokop the Great, a prominent leader in the Hussite War in the 15th century. It has held the name since at 1872. The hill above the square was the site of a key battle in the war. The Town Hall was located on the square from 1873 to 1890.

For more information, visit www.zizkovsketrhy.cz and www.facebook.com/zizkovsketrhy

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