Once a docking area for river rafts, a Vltava passage is Prague's newest summer hangout

A new public space offering art installations, pop-ups, and castle views is part of a larger revitalization plan for the "Anenský triangle" area.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 24.07.2021 11:51:00 (updated on 25.07.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

On the last day of June in Prague, an arched passage of the Vltava embankment wall, called "čapadlo" in Czech, opened to the public. The passage under Smetanovo nábřeží was previously used for commercial activities but has been revitalized with art installations, pop-up restaurants offering beer and ice cream, as well as outdoor seating.

"We are returning to Prague residents another piece of public space in the heart of the city, which they used to avoid. We will replace commercial activities on the Smetanovo nábřeží peninsula with culture and community events," Hana Třeštíková, Councilor for Culture and Tourism, said of the new public space.

She added that the space is also accessible to people in wheelchairs or parents with prams so that "they, too, can enjoy the river atmosphere with a view of Prague Castle."

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib posted an invitation to Praguers to visit the new public space on his Instagram profile on Friday, writing, "I have a great (not only) weekend tip for you for a new place by the Vltava, which we made accessible via the so-called tentacle or passage in the waterfront wall."

He describes the passage as "a quiet zone on the waterfront leading directly to the Vltava, which can be found under the Hollar Gallery," adding, "You can have a snack here, including a good beer (tried and tested), there is a very nice view of the picturesque panorama of our city and you will also see many cultural events here."

Cultivation of the area is another important step in revitalizing the "Anenský triangle" the green triangle at the intersection of Smetanovo nábřeží and Karolíny Světlé. Last year, despite frequent criticism, one lane for cars was reduced and a place for seating and gardens for neighborhood restaurants was created instead.

"The opening of the Hollar passage fits into the overall transformation of Smetana's embankment, which we started last year," said Adam Scheinherr, Deputy Minister for Transport. He said that the city's long-term goal is to bring calm to an important locality in the historical core of Prague and reduce unnecessary transit traffic. 

"It is necessary to create dignified conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport passengers," he said. "Therefore, further follow-up steps will be the widening of sidewalks on the Smetana embankment, the planting of a new tree line or, for example, the construction of new stops at Karlovy Lázně.” 

The passage, managed by the Technical Administration of Roads, had been leased to a nearby restaurant in the past. The whole area served more as a parking lot, however, as well as a warehouse and, unfortunately, an unofficial public toilet.

The "čapadlo" area of ​​the Vltava embankment will be operated by Michal Řepka, also known as Mike Trafik. It will be open from the early morning hours with all performances and activities ending at 22:00. Read more about the program and project here.

The word "čapadlo" comes from the word "čapnout" which means "to nab" in Czech. Originally gaps and, later, arched passages in the embankment walls, it was from here that floating rafts and other ships were pulled in from the river with a long wooden beam that had a hook fixed to the end. There are several of them along the Vltava in Prague, the most famous of which have recently been revitalized and reconstructed on Rašínovo nábřeží and Smíchovská náplavka.

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