A new Prague bus stop has been named after former Czech First Lady Olga Havlová

The Prague Public Transit Company made the announcement in a light-hearted social media post filled with references to Havel’s plays

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 05.10.2020 16:21 (updated on 05.10.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

A Prague bus stop has been named after Olga Havlová, the first wife of the late Czech and Czechoslovak president Václav Havel.

The pun-filled announcement from the Facebook pages of both City Hall and the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) came on what would have been Havel’s 84th birthday. Olga Havlová, born Šplíchalová, was married to Havel from 1964 to her passing from cancer on January 27, 1996.

Havlová was born in Prague’s Žižkov neighborhood on July 11, 1933. The bus stop and adjacent street named after her are also in Žižkov.

The Facebook post referred to Havel’s literary alter-ego in announcing the stop.

"Ferdinand Vaněk from Malý Hrádek would have celebrated his birthday on October 5, 2020. All his co-workers and friends thank him for his hard work in his life,” the Facebook post said.

“No stop in Prague bears Vaněk’s name yet, however, bus lines 133, 267, 908 and 909 are starting to stop at new stops named after the nearest street, which bears the name of his first wife Olga Havlová,” the post added. The street and bus stop are named Olgy Havlové due to Czech grammar.

The stop will serve residents of a new development, part of the revival of the area around the Žižkov Freight Station (nákladové nádraží Žižkov).

“Both stops [in either direction] were created after the redevelopment of unsightly halls in a desolate state in the vicinity of Malešická Street. The first inhabitants of the new construction at the same place subsequently sent a protest that any ‘audience’ with them is very difficult due to the distance of the surrounding stops, let alone leaving,” the post said.

Largo desolato, Redevelopment (Asanace), Protest, Audience and Leaving (Odcházení) are five of Havel’s plays. Havel also directed a film version of Leaving in 2011, his sole directing credit. Havel himself was the subject of a biopic earlier in 2020.

“However, it did not take long for them to be notified that the situation would be rectified, which led to several garden parties in the area. On the morning of October 5, the unveiling of new stops could take place so that they could begin to function fully,” the post concluded. Unveiling (Vernisáž) and The Garden Party (Zahradní slavnost) were also plays by Havel.

Olga Havlová during her life focused on charitable work, starting the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation (OHF) in 1992.

The square between the historical building of the National Theatre and the New Stage (Nová scéna), now called náměstí Václava Havla, was named for Havel in 2016. The location was chosen to honor his work as a writer. The nearby tram stop, though, is called Národní divadlo, and that is unlikely to change. Prague’s main airport was named for him in 2012.

There are also squares named after him in Hradec Kralove and Litomyšl. There are also places named for him in Jerusalem, Haifa, Gdańsk, Strasbourg and Paris.  

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