Park next to the National Museum will see changes

A study is being made to find ways to make Čelakovského sady more inviting

Čelakovského sady next to the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square is set to be upgraded, after the renovations to the museum are finished. It has recently been a place were homeless people and drug users congregate due to it being a bit isolated between two busy roads.

In separate news, the two buildings of the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square will also be connected by a tunnel under Vinohradská Street.

Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký told daily Pražský deník that he was commissioning a study on how to make the park more attractive. After the changes are completed, the park should be an attractive place for mothers and children.

“We do not want the homeless and drug addicts there. It should only be open to 10 pm and then closed,” Lomecký said. He would like to see the traffic patterns in the streets that border the park changed, so that the park is easier to reach. He also mentioned a walkway that would better connect the museum to Wenceslas Sqaure and hopefully bring more people from the square to the green spaces around the museum. The cost of all of these changes, however, is an important factor. The study will help determine how many of the changes are possible.

Renovations on the National Museum began in 2015. The museum should partly reopen in October 2018 in time for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent country.

The tunnel will connect the historical building of the National Museum with the so-called new building, which formerly housed Radio Free Europe but has been used by the museum since 2009. By using the tunnel, people will be able to see exhibitions in both buildings without going outside once they enter.

The tunnel will be about 80 meters long and eight meters under the ground. It will open in October 2018, when the historical building reopens to the public. During construction, a temporary bridge will allow traffic to drive on Vinohradská Street.

Even though the historical building will partly reopen in 2018, some renovations are expected to continue until 2020.

The National Museum was founded April 15, 1818, in Prague by Kašpar Maria Šternberg. Historian František Palacký was also involved. The museum was originally in the Šternberg Palace.

The current main museum building was built by Czech neo-Renaissance architect Josef Schulz from 1885 to '91 on the site of several palaces.

The building was damaged by a bomb during World War II in 1945 but the collections were in storage. The museum reopened in 1947, and in 1960 exterior night floodlighting was installed, following a repair of the facade.

During the 1968 Warsaw Pact intervention the main facade was damaged by Soviet gun fire. The shots made holes in sandstone pillars and plaster, destroyed stone statues and caused damage to some of the depositories. The damage to the facade is supposed to be preserved during the current renovation as a historical artifact.

The museum was also damaged during the construction of the metro in 1972 and 1978. The opening of the magistrála highway in 1978 cut the building off from Wenceslas Square. This also led a high level of dust and constant vibrations from road traffic.

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