Wenceslas Square declared an ‘extremely important place’

The symbolic gesture comes as long-delayed renovations are starting

The Prague City Council approved a declaration calling Wenceslas Square to be an extremely important place. This comes as the plan to renovate the lower part of the square is getting under way. The contractor for project documentation and author’s supervision has been selected

“The statement calling Wenceslas Square an extremely important place is above all a symbolic step to underline its importance in the course of the 100th anniversary of the founding of [Czechoslovakia]. Throughout time, the history of our country has been written on this site, and this space is therefore of national importance,” Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová said.

The City Council has also selected studio Jakub Cígler Architekti as the contractor for the project documentation and author's supervision. The same architecture firm proposed the winning design for Wenceslas Square back in 2005.

The plan faced a series of delays after that before finally being put back in motion last year. The idea for the project originated when Václav Havel was president and Jan Kasl was mayor, from 1998 to 2002.

“We want to declare the interest of the entire City Council and all municipal departments in the commencement of the renovation of the lower part of Wenceslas Square. For the whole project to proceed smoothly, cooperation and synergy are necessary,” Mayor Krnáčová added.

After 12 years of delays, the reconstruction is finally taking place now and preparatory work is starting. For the most part, it should be ready by the end of this year, The first preparatory work is taking place along with an archaeological survey.

Prague received building permit to renovate the lower part of Wenceslas Square at the end of January, following a zoning permit in September 2017. The estimated cost of the project is Kč 200 million.

Renovations will touch the area bordered by Na Příkopě and 28. října Streets on one side and Vodičková and Jindřišská Streets on the other.

The renovation plan includes water sprinklers, more trees and recharging stations for electric vehicles. The area will get a new look with wider sidewalks to be more inviting to the public.

Pedestrian space will expand considerably, with a loss of dozens of parking spaces, leaving only space for sixteen cars. Asphalt will be replaced by granite pavement and another row of trees.

The greenery will be irrigated by an automatic system, and six spots will be created for market stalls. The plan calls for underground containers and recharging stations for electric cars. There will also be a place for a Christmas tree.

When the upper half of the square, near the National Museum, will be rebuilt is not clear yet.

Wenceslas Square, called Václavské náměstí in Czech, dates back to the mid-1300s, and historically was a horse market. It has been the scene of many historic moments such as the reading out of a document declaring independence in 1918, the main site of the Soviet invasion in 1968 and the famous ringing of keys in 1989 as part of the Velvet Revolution.

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