Karlín Barracks looks forward to bright future under Prague ownership

The city of Prague has officially acquired the former military barracks at Kasárna Karlín, and venue operators see a boost to the cultural oasis.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.04.2023 15:31:00 (updated on 22.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

For the past six years, the Karlín Barracks (Kasárna Karlín) have become a much-needed cultural oasis in Prague 8, providing locals and visitors with an outdoor summer cinema, volleyball court, Finnish sauna, cafe and bar, children's playground, and much more during the warmer months and throughout the year.

Now, venue operators are hoping the cultural hotspot will become a permanent fixture at the long-neglected former military barracks, as the future of the location becomes clearer thanks to the city of Prague.

Earlier this week, Prague officially acquired the Karlín Barracks from the Czech state in a real estate swap that saw the city trade in land surrounding Bulovka Hospital. Prague also received the building that houses hip city center student hangout Kampus Hybernská in the deal.

With the state prepared to use its newly-acquired real estate to redevelop Bulovka Hospital, city officials consider the trade a win-win scenario for Prague. The Prague Pirate Party spearheaded the deal under its previous leadership of the Czech capital.

"We have them! The Karlín Barracks will belong to Prague, and thanks to this we will finally be able to work on ensuring the use of the entire area over time," the Prague Pirate Party wrote on Facebook earlier this week after the deal was approved by the new city council.

"We are looking forward to what new possibilities their reconstruction will bring. Over the past five years, the barracks courtyard has changed beyond recognition, and now it's time to tackle the rest of the grounds!"

While the Karlín Barracks has become a major cultural area over the past half-decade, most of its offerings are temporary fixtures in the large open-space courtyard housed within the former barracks. The immense building that surrounds the courtyard remains in a state of disrepair.

What exactly is in store for Karlín Barracks is unknown, but plans to restore and renovate the building itself should be decided upon by the city of Prague in the near future. The venue's current operators are looking forward to further cooperation with the city in running the area.

"We would like to say that we welcome the transfer of the barracks to the property of Prague," writes Kasárna Karlín on Facebook.

"We have been managing one wing and the courtyard for six years and are trying to create a lively public space for meeting and culture for everyone from the former military complex. We believe that after the change of owner, it will be possible to reconstruct the entire area and that other parts of it will also find a new use."

"At the same time, we believe that future negotiations with the Prague municipality will allow us to further develop Karlín Barracks. The statements of some municipal politicians and representatives of the professional public confirm that we are still doing a good job. We hope that we will be able to continue it, or we will get the opportunity to expand our activities into other parts of the building."

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