Karlovo náměstí will be transformed

A plan has been approved for completely rebuilding the square

The total revitalization of the park is estimated at about Kč 230 million.

“I dare say that the whole process was enriching and instructive for us. Knowing how to agree on, discuss, and pass on comprehensive feedback to teams has been challenging. They have been bringing innovative ways of thinking all the time. All the teams did a professional job. We consulted together and eventually were presented with high quality designs to choose from. Deciding about the winner was really very demanding,” Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) said.

The winning team proposes to divide the work into three phases. This will range from minor adjustments that can be implemented quickly to major changes that are long-term goals. To save the dying trees, some modifications will be made greenery next year.

The first step will be to create the project documentation.

The overall revitalization of the park should be completed in 2025. The long-term vision is that by 2048, the 700th anniversary of the founding of Karlovo náměstí, the authors expect to gradually ease traffic to such an extent that the whole eastern side would be only for pedestrians.

“I am delighted that the winning proposal honors the historical value of the park since its founding by Emperor Charles IV. It follows the idea of František Thomayer, and also brings a timeless solution to his problems,” City Councilor Jana Plamínková said.

Thomayer was an urban landscape architect who redesigned the square as an English garden in the 1880s.

“It is important to realize that the selection of the proposal is just beginning, and that the path to a complete revitalization of Karlovo náměstí will require the commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders including the City Hall, conservationists and local stakeholders,” she added.

The transformation of the park is based on a new path layout to allow better passage through the most used routes, such as from the subway to the hospital, while not limiting the use of large lawns for rest.

A new café and a children's playground should be on the southern side of the square. In the middle part there will be space for community management of flower beds.

The look will include new mosaic tiles including QR codes with references to the history of the square, new furniture and restoration of missing or dying trees.

The whole renovation should include the part of the park at Novoměstská radnice (New Town Hall), where social events and markets could also be held.

The design will also recall the location of the Chapel of the Body of God, which stood in the middle of the square on the site of today’s Ječná Street. A light installation will indicate the paths pilgrims used to visit the chapel. It was once a site of great importance, and the Crown Jewels and significant relics including the alleged spear from the Crucifixion were displayed there on occasion centuries ago.

“Thanks to this proposal, Karlovo náměstí has a chance to be revived and to serve as one of the most beautiful parks in the city center,” Prague Institute of Planning and Development Ondřej Boháč said.

Karlovo náměstí was built as part of an extensive urban development plan overseen by Emperor Charles IV in the mid-1300s. It was originally a cattle market, while Wenceslas Square was a horse market and Senovážné náměstí was a feed market.

Charles IV envisioned Karlovo náměstí as being the cultural and economic center of the New Town district, but people always prefered Wenceslas Square instead.

He based his city layout loosely on plans of Jerusalem, and the Chapel of the Body of God was at the site that corresponded with the location of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is why it was used to display relics and the Crown Jewels.

It is one of the largest urban squares in the world, measuring roughly 70,000 square meters, and was the largest town square in medieval Europe. It has been a park since the 1860s.

The square is adjacent to the New Town Hall, which was the site of historical incidents such as the defenestration of 1419, when seven town councilors were killed, sparking the Hussite Wars.

On the opposite side of the square is the Faust House, now owned by the Medical Faculty of Charles University. It is associated with several colorful legends.

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