In photos: Exploring the abandoned streets of Prague's tourist quarter

These photos taken by Expats.cz staff and readers capture the new and unsettling face of Prague

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 20.03.2020 14:57:05 (updated on 20.03.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Just weeks ago, the city of Prague, like numerous other European capitals, was grappling with the challenge of overtourism. Following the shutdown of non-essential shops and restaurants earlier this week, that problem has all but vanished in the face of a government-mandated quarantine that is likely to be extended into the tourist season.

Suddenly some of Prague’s most crowded quarters have the look of abandoned film sets — not an entirely inaccurate description as numerous productions that use its well-preserved neighborhoods as filming locations have packed up and gone home.

Streets such as Karlova, a section of the ancient Royal Way leading to the Charles Bridge, or Melantrinchova wending towards the Astronomical Clock, are uncharacteristically silent. Squares typically bustling with pedestrian traffic and shoppers are now dotted with lone figures in face masks.

Several of our staff and readers went out before the government restrictions or during essential trips to document in photos the surreal calm that has fallen over the Czech capital.

These photos represent some of the extraordinary scenes they saw (not pictured here: pub crawls going on business as usual, smokers congregating with masks draped around their necks, congested tram lines offset by empty side streets) and capture the irony that while Prague may have been relieved of its tourist burden for now, the reason for that happening is particularly dire.

Editor’s note: Going out to take photos now violates the restrictions put in place in the Czech Republic to lessen the spread of the coronavirus; some of the shots here were even taken from the behind the wheel of a car. We ask that our readers continue to stay home and respect the rules of the quarantine.

Wenceslas Square / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Wenceslas Square / photo via Raymond Johnston

Old Town, Prague / photo via Jason Pirodsky

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Melantrinchova Street, Old Town, Prague / photo via Jason Pirodsky

The historical center of Prague / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Old Town next to Clementinum historic complex / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Karlova Street / photo via Raymond Johnston

Old Town Square / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Prague Astronomical Clock / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Old Town Square / photo via Raymond Johnston

Old Town Square / photo via Raymond Johnston

Old Town Square / photo via Raymond Johnston

Ovocný trh / photo via Jamie Marshall

People wearing masks on the Charles Bridge/ photo via Jason Pirodsky

Sign at Naplavka / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Abandoned Lime scooters / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Náměstí Republiky / photo via Jason Pirodsky

Sign at a Prague restaurant / photo via Raymond Johnston

Tram stop, Prague / photo via Adam Trachtman (taken from his car)

Municipal House / photo via Adam Trachtman (taken from his car)

New City Hall / Photo via Adam Trachtman (taken from his car)

Old Town near the Clementinum / photo via Adam Trachtman (taken from his car)

Photo via Adam Trachtman (taken from his car)

National Theater/ photo via Adam Trachtman (taken from his car)

 

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