Prague Buildings with Exciting Histories (Part 2)
Discover Prague on a deeper level
Prague is a city layered with history and every building has a thrilling story. The places you visit, the restaurants you eat at and the clubs where you party all have their own secrets just waiting to be uncovered.
Bunker Bar Parukarka
Nuclear bunker turned night club with occasional NGO events
Once featured on the New York Times, Bunker Bar remains a pretty well-hidden secret in Prague. The bunker was originally built by Communists in the 1950s as a defence in case of war. Today it functions as a party hotspot and can hold up to 250 people. It took over three years to reconstruct the old bunker into an exhibition space and party zone!
The concrete labyrinth comes with a lot of paperwork, which is why it took so long to reconstruct. Mikky, the guy behind the project, told the Deutsche Welle that would have been easier to completely destroy the bunker and rebuild it from scratch. The biggest issue was EU norms that required an emergency exit and a permit from the fire department.
The bar is located a good 10-minute walk from the Flora metro station. It is located under a large hill and the entrance is a little door marked “Amigo” in a large concrete wall. You can always expect a diverse program – from poetry readings to DJs, even foreign musicians preform at the bunker. NGOs such as Amnesty International have organized events in this unorthodox space.
The cemetery where the dead still speak
There are many reasons for one to visit Vyšehrad. It’s a place to enjoy a beautiful view of Prague, play Frisbee around the statues of Přemysl a Libuše (the legendary founders of Prague) and drink some mulled wine when the weather cools down. But the two of the highlights at Vyšehrad are one of the oldest rotundas in Europe and the famous cemetery.
The Vyšehrad cemetery is adjacent to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul – more than 600 famous poets, artists, scientists, politicians and others are buried here. The cemetery was established in the 1870s but there was already a cemetery there back in 1260. It is only 0.81 hectares large and the star of the show is a mass-tomb of the “national giants” – Slavín.
The Slavín monument was built in 1889 -1893 based on a design by architect Antonín Wiehl. The monument is decorated with a Genius Patriae (an allegoric winged figure), a sarcophagus and various sculptural decorations by renown artists. There are panels with the names of the first 15 people buried in the tomb including Julius Zeyer, a poet who was the first to be buried in 1901. Don’t miss out on the creepy inscription: “Though dead, they still speak.”
House at the Black Madonna
Eat a Cubist Czech cream puff in the only Cubist coffee house in the world
Czech Cubism is an original art movement that started in 1910 in Prague and didn’t catch on around the rest of the world. The unique style was invented by Josef Gočár who designed the popular tourist destination the House of the Black Madonna. Everything in the building is designed in the distinct style, from furniture to the clocks and even the lighting.
The Czech Cubist style is literally one of a kind: it consists of crystalline structures, sharp edges and intersecting planes. The style was born when a group of young artists and avant-garde architects took Picasso’s Cubist principles and gave it their unique spin.
The House of Black Madonna holds exhibitions and has an active zone that features Cubist furniture. Although most pieces are roped off, you can enjoy experiences such as sitting in a Cubist chair. The first floor of the building, the Grand Café Orient, also happens to be the only Cubist coffee house in the world! If you want to sample a ‘Cubist’ Czech cream puff, just stop by the café.
U Maliřu Restaurant
The “oldest European restaurant” where art was used as currency
Although this is hard to confirm, many consider U Maliřu (At the Painters’) to be the oldest restaurant in Europe. It is described to be an enchanting historic restaurant filled with the magic of old time. It was established in 1543 and welcomed regulars such as Emperor Rudolph II. He first visited after sending out his staff to find the most hospitable restaurant in the area.
Today, you will find the restaurant filled with murals that were painted by R. Adámek and R Jindřich in 1936. The restaurant quickly became a favourite amongst artists, painters and bohemians at the beginning of the 20th century. These artists would often pay their bills by contributing artwork.
The eatery underwent two big reconstructions over the past 500 years and even went through a name change – although it eventually took back its original name. Today, the restaurant offers traditional cuisine, high quality Moravian wine and a special atmosphere of the cosy yet classy space. It is the perfect spot to experience authentic Czech cuisine in style!
Prague Buildings with Exciting Histories (Part 1) Prague.TV, Living Like a Local! 25.10.2016
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