Prague residents petition city to name new streets after The Lord of the Rings

An online petition is pushing for Prague 8's new Rohan development to name its streets after characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's Kingdom of Rohan.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 16.03.2024 15:33:00 (updated on 17.03.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Nineteen streets in a future residential district on Prague's Rohanské nábřeží are set to be named after historic philosophers, but an online initiative is aiming to change that. Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition to instead name the streets after characters from The Lord of the Rings, and city officials are taking notice.

The connection is in the name: Rohanské nábřeží in Prague 8 is named after 19th century Prague carpenter Josef Rohan, who just happens to shares a name with the Kingdom of Rohan, the fictional land of men in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novels.

While the connection is most likely coincidental, Tolkien has been said to have taken inspiration from Czech folklore in creating The Lord of the Rings. The wizard Gandalf was purportedly based on Czech mountain man Krakonoš.

Now, Prague residents aim to return the favor and borrow from Tolkien in renaming streets in the city's new neighborhood. Sekyra Group is building a new residential district in Rohanské nábřeží, with about three thousand apartments as well as office buildings currently under construction.

"Nineteen new streets next to Rohanské nábřeží in Prague 8 are to be named after important philosophers," reads the petition. "We, the undersigned, are of the opinion that streets should be named after personalities who come from or have a strong connection to the Kingdom of Rohan, not after philosophers who have nothing to do with Rohan."

"With all due respect to Ludwig Wittgenstein - has he ever visited Rohan in his life? How did Imanuel Kant help in the war against Saruman's hordes? Where was Husserl when the Western Hollows fell? Rohanské nábřeží should bear Rohan names!"

Authors of the petition also argue that the the current plans for Rohanské nábřeží's street names do not feature a single woman among the philosophers, while their Tolkien-inspired names would include female characters such as Éowyn. It's an argument even Deputy Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib agrees with.

"Compared with plans to name the Prague neighborhood after philosophers without a single female, I like the Rohan initiative more," Hřib writes on social media. "Personally, I see it as a very meritorious act, because the petition also thinks about women and proposes a dignified representation for them in street names."

The new Prague district wouldn't be the first city to name its streets after The Lord of the Rings. The town of Geldrop, Netherlands also features a neighborhood where all the streets are named after Tolkien characters.

Read more about the petition, and sign it yourself, through this link.

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