Matějská pouť starts at Výstaviště

The fun fair has a tradition dating back to the 16th century

The annual fun fair Matějská pouť starts Feb. 24 and runs to April 15 at Výstaviště in Holešovice. This year there will be 115 attractions from the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries.

There will be a drop from 90 meters, a carousel, roller coaster, Ferris wheel, haunted houses and other rides. People can also try their skill at a shooting range and other games.

A new type of haunted house will be there this year, The furniture will be attached to the ceiling, so it will seem that gravity is reversed. It is good for taking photographs to flip and then share on social media, making it look like people have floated to the ceiling.

The traditional day for disabled children and children with social disadvantages will take place on March 19. Between the 11 am and 3 pm, the children's attractions will be available for free.

Many of the attractions travel across Europe and are set up temporarily. The undergo several technical inspections before the public is allowed to ride on them.

Admission is Kč 30 on Saturdays, Sundays holidays, but free Tuesdays through Fridays. It is closed Mondays except for school trips. It will also be open on Mondays that are holidays. Children under 120 cm go in for free. The fair is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 1 pm to 9 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm.

People can also explore exotic fish, sharks and corals in Mořský svět (Sea World), adjacent to the fair. Singer Michal David and other guests will perform at the Křižík Fountain.

The fair started centuries ago as a religious festival but is now fully secular. The tradition of Matějská pouť, which means the Matthew pilgrimage, dates back to the 16th century. Its history is associated with the annual pilgrimage celebrations of the feast of St. Matthew, celebrated on Feb. 24. The first mention found in the National Library is in 1595, so this year is the 423rd edition.

Earlier versions took place near St. Matthew's Church at Hanspaulka, but the space was small. After moving around Dejvice, in 1960 the festival was held for the first time in Letná. Later, it moved to Modřany and Břevnov. The festival took place at Výstaviště for the first time in 1963.

Výstaviště has an amusement park with some 22 attractions open all year as well.

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