Long-planned facelift for Prague’s náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad to start in 2022

The Vinohrady square will get more greenery, an irrigation system, and improved playground as part of its first major overhaul since 1981.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 22.10.2021 15:27:00 (updated on 22.10.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad, one of the most popular squares in Prague 3, will finally see the start of a long-awaited renovation. The city district and Prague City Hall have signed a memorandum to finance the project, and a construction permit has been issued.

A unified concept for the new square will see the addition of new greenery, irrigation and water retention systems, and the revitalization of the park's fountain. The markets in the square will move further away from the primary school, while the playground will expand with new game elements and water attractions.

The revitalization project should begin in the second half of 2022. The project is expected to cost around CZK 270 million to complete, a significant increase on the estimate of CZK 100 million mentioned in 2019, when planning had not yet been completed.

The square at the edge of Vinohrady will also have barrier-free access to the metro. Renovation of the A-line metro stop is already underway in a separate project. A new elevator will be added and the escalators will be replaced, among other changes.

Visualization of náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad. (Photo: MCA atelier)
Visualization of náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad. (Photo: MCA atelier)

Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček and Prague 3 Mayor Jiří Ptáček signed a memorandum yesterday confirming their interest in implementing the planned investment project to restore the square. Prague 3 has secured the project and the building permit, while Prague City Hall has declared that it will be the project investor and has already factored the project into its budget.

“I am pleased that náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad will soon undergo its long-prepared transformation, and that the public space will be improved here. The city district has been preparing to revitalize the square for a long time now, and now the project has acquired a permit for construction work,” Hlaváček said.

“I am glad that the city can now offer a helping hand in undertaking the extensive and costly reconstruction work which we, together with the [Prague 3] mayor, confirm with this memorandum,” Hlaváček added.

Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad is one of the most-important and popular squares in the Czech capital, but according to City Hall it has been in an unsatisfactory condition for a long time. Its revitalization has been talked about for more than 20 years, and the current redesign work has been ongoing for the past two years.

Visualization of náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad. (Photo: MCA atelier)
Visualization of náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad. (Photo: MCA atelier)

“The aim of the revitalization is to use [the square’s] currently unfulfilled potential, to unify its form and function, to improve both residential opportunities and cultural qualities, and to encourage practical use,” architect Pavla Melková from MCA atelier said. She is the co-creator of the new design together with architect Miroslav Cikán.

Melková said the plan includes consideration of the latest responsible approaches to the environment, such as rainwater conservation. “A number of modifications also arose from ideas from the public, who were asked to participate,” she added.

Prague 3 Mayor Jiří Ptáček and Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček. (Photo: Praha.EU)
Prague 3 Mayor Jiří Ptáček and Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček. (Photo: Praha.EU)

Prague 3 Mayor Ptáček said the share of green and paved areas will remain more or less the same.

“The central path in front of the church will widen, creating more space for cultural events, during which lawns have always been damaged in the past,” he said.

“However, in many other places more greenery will emerge. Asphalt will be replaced by infiltration paving capable of water retention, and 110 new trees will be planted. The project will preserve the existing trees to the maximum possible extent. And of course, the legendary mulberry will remain by the school,” Ptáček said.

An irrigation system will keep green areas in good condition even during the hot summer months. It will be connected to the water retention system from the roof of the Church of the Most Sacred Heart. Furthermore, the surroundings and the technology of the fountain will be revitalized.

The square will be leveled to the same height in its southwestern part. As part of the reconstruction of Vinohradská Street, it will be possible to place new pedestrian crossings at the Vinohradská and Slavíkova intersection so that it is not necessary to descend into metro underpasses to cross the street.

The square was last renovated in 1979–81. The fountain on the square dates from that time. It is called United Europe, and was made in 1981 by sculptor Petr Šedivý. It is meant to highlight an idea by Bohemian King George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad) for European nations to settle their differences without warfare. The idea was the first of its kind, but was never put into practice.

Early designs for the current revitalization of the square called for the fountain to be removed, but it will now be kept and renovated instead.

Metro air vent from 1981. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Metro air vent from 1981. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

The large metro air vent, a futuristic concrete and metal tower that takes up a large space in front of the church, was created by the same architect as the fountain. The vent, though, is not included in the current plans and will be torn down.

The main attraction on the square will remain the Church of the Most Sacred Heart (Kostel Nejsvětějšího Srdce Páně), designed by Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik and built in 1929–32. Its facade has just undergone a renovation.

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