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Architecture from the years up to 1989

London, United...
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Architecture from the years up to 1989

Hi there

I am thinking about a trip to Prague in December, and I want to take photos of socialist era architecture or monuments if possible. For example war memorials, shopping centres, tower blocks, or any other unusual buildings from the years up to 1989. Also if there are any large estates (in Slovak the word is sidlisko) I would like to try and get some photos there as well. So if anyone knows about this, I would be very grateful for any information or links to photos or locations on the net.

Also, if anyone knows of any hotel from that period (preferably cheap and not reconstructed), and any good pubs (nothing posh just good beer, food and normal people), that would also be great. I was looking at the Hotel Praha, it looks great and is quite near Strahov stadium, I wonder if anyone has stayed there?

I did live in Bratislava for 3 years and I am thinking of perhaps moving to Prague in the future to live, so I'm hoping that this will be a really good trip.

Many thanks

Andy

Berkshire, United...
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1. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

Are there any 'sidliste'? Loads....Cerny Most, Zahradni mesto, Bohnice, Nove Butovice, Chodov, Haje, Letnany,basically almost anything on the outskirts.

Hotels....Fortuna Luna, Crowne Plaza, even Intercontinental is built traditionally in the early 70th.

Berkshire, United...
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2. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

Somewhere really authentic, perhaps think outside Prague...Most, Litvinov,Chanov

http://whitewoman.sweb.cz/chanov/english.htm

London, United...
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3. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

Hi there Tilly

I have thought about visiting Most several times, just not got round to it. The style of architecture in the centre of Most is exactly what I like. I found in Slovakia that some of the better architecture was outside BA or KSC as they have invested money to update or reconstruct parts of those cities, whereas in smaller towns etc they tend not to do so at such a fast rate.

Many thanks for the info so far, I cannot wait to come back to Prague as I have not been there for maybe 5 years so I am really looking forward to it.

Thanks

Andy

4. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

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Removed on: 14 November 2012, 11:06
Prague, Czech...
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5. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

I haven't stayed at the Hotel Praha, but I just went there for the first time to check out their conference space. Got the whole tour of everything except for the rooms (which they say were recently reconstructed). If you are into Communist-era architecture, you must stay here. It was completed in 1981 for the Party functionaries and foreign delegations. It is amazing how much money and effort was spent to make the apparatchiks feel comfortable. Plus, the view of the Prague Castle (from every single room) is breathtaking. It won't be cheap, but it is the most authentic late-Socialism hotel in Prague, without a doubt.

The Crowne Plaza (the former Hotel International) is the best example of early Socialist (Stalinist) architecture in Prague (similar to the Seven Sisters in Moscow).

Otherwise, you might want to check out Kladno as a closer alternative than Most or Usti. As far as I know, there is still a statue standing to honor Soviet soldiers (I can't think of any in Prague - they are much more common in Slovakia than the CR). I actually wrote a travel article for the Prague Post on Kladno's communist history back in 1996. If you send me a PM, I will send you the article.

Other places to visit: the Strahov stadium, the Kotva department store on Namesti republiky, the KCP (Congress Center Prague) in Vysehrad, the headquarters of the Dopravni Podnik Praha (the Prague transit company) on the street Na Bojisti, the metro stop Andel (formerly "Mir" - it has mosaics like the Moscow metro), the metro stop Dejvicka (formerly Leninova - I haven't seen it, but there is apparently still a bust of Lenin hidden behind some kiosk in the vestibule)....

Edited: 11 November 2012, 07:54
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6. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

Hi tyhere

Prague Alex - many thanks for the links, I lived in Petrzalka in Bratislava for a few months in 2005 in a panelak so that project is very interesting for me - my experience was very positive and certainly challenged some of the preconceptions I had about life in blocks. I also liked your site and will take some time to go through and pick out anything I particularly want to see, although the Tugendhat house seems to require a visit!

JeffinPrague - also thanks to you for taking the time to reply, I have seen photos of the Kotva store before but I wasn't sure what it was called, so that is now on the list of places to visit. I am glad to hear the Hotel Prague is worth staying at, going by the pics on the net it is one of the best hotels I have ever seen, so I am looking forward to that a lot. I will send you a PM now so if you can send the link to your article, I'll read it with interest.

Thanks again, maybe I need a few more days now for this trip!!

Andy C

Bristol, UK
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7. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

JeffinPrague has touched on some of the most impressive legacies of the Communist era - namely the metro system and the stations themselves. The former Moskevska station he mentioned, now Andel, has some interesting bronze friezes on the walls. These celebrate the glories of the soviet era.

The station designs are quite impressive, and still look good approx 40 years on. They are well maintained and most appear to be largely original. Different lines have distinctive materials and design, especially in the platform areas. Some are dimpled metal, tiles or marble. Others like Narodni Trida (now closed) has shiny brown plastic wall coverings.

Some examples;

www.flickr.com/photos/arekev/7977411461/

flickr.com/photos/cirkusprinsesse/216295853/

www.flickr.com/photos/flygabo/7272589448/

flickr.com/photos/…

www.flickr.com/photos/glaesmann/6857093401/

www.flickr.com/photos/hungda/4280396803/

Just hope they retain the original interior from the platform areas at Narodni.

Edited: 11 November 2012, 15:32
Prague, Czech...
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8. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

Hotel Praha was bilt as the hotel for the guests of Communist party.A lot of space, comfortable rooms, a little complicated to go there by the public transport, great location. If you have an experience with "panelák", a nice contrast can be really recommendation mentioned above Fortuna Luna, hotel Rhea and others. During the communist time these hotels were used as the dormitories for adults coming to Prague to work. BUT - now appartment rooms of the hotel are for 2 + 1 person (usually), during the communist time it was for 3 + 2 persons. If you want to know about "sídliště", you should start with a part of Podolí, where the architecture of 50th can be seen, continue to Spořilov (60th), Southern Town (Háje - 70th + 80th) to Stodůlky (80th). Černý Most is also mainly 80th + the new architecture up to 90th. Nearby Prague, easy connection - Příbram, architecture of 50th.

Hotel Jalta - Wenceslas square - a good expample of the architecture of 60th. Really a lot to be seen......

Brno, Czech Republic
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9. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

I was lucky enough to stay in the Hotel Praha in about 1997 before it was reconstructed - it was fabulous then and still is - I have stayed there a couple of times since. However, the majority of the original furniture has sadly gone - each piece had been specially designed for the hotel and were all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes, especially the light fittings. I fear that it has mostly ended up in landfill or burned, at least that is what I was told when I witnessed the delivery of a load of IKEA-style sofas coming to replace the brown leather and bentwood old ones. I took a load of photographs, I'll have to dig them out.

You really must go and have a look, though, and go and explore in its depths as it is huge - I really hope they have kept the swimming pool and the bowling alley, for example. The downstairs restaurant is a sight to behold. If you can afford it, stay there, and enjoy the huge balconies each with a stunning view of the castle. The rooms are so big that I could happily live in one!

Edited: 11 November 2012, 19:17
London, United...
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10. Re: Architecture from the years up to 1989

Hi all

Thanks to everyone for the advice, I am now 100% sure of staying at the Hotel Praha, it sounds wonderful. I guess i will be ok just using public transport to see most of the sights mentioned here? I do not know Prague very well, but I would imagine that the transport system is pretty good, with bus, tramway, and subway?

Many thanks again, I really do appreciate the help and I hope I have enough time to see all the sights listed on this thread :)

Cheers

Andy C