Prague City Hall approves naming of streets after influential Czech women

The Czech capital's Smíchov City district will soon boast streets named after politician Madeleine Albright, artist Toyen, and others.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 24.07.2023 16:09:00 (updated on 24.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Most of the streets and open spaces in the first part of the Smíchov City district in Prague 5 will bear the names of famous women. The Prague City Council has approved the proposal that developer Sekyra Group made last year. The main boulevard will be named after the American politician of Czech origin Madeleine Albright, as will an elementary school that will be built in Prague 5.

A street named for art patron and collector Meda Mládková will connect with the one named for Albright. Both Albright and Mládková passed away in 2022. Under Czech law, streets cannot be named after living people.

A street parallel to the central boulevard will be named after historian and dissident Růžena Vacková, a signer of Charter 77 who died in 1982. She had been imprisoned by both the Nazi occupation government and the communists.

Another street will be named for Jiřina Šiklová, a dissident who pioneered the field of gender studies. She helped found the Prague Gender Studies Center, the first organization of its kind in the Czech Republic. Czech artist Toyen, who is often described as the most significant Czech female surrealist of the 20th century, will also get a street.

The one exception among the names approved for Smíchov City is male writer Josef Škvorecký, who not only is known for his own work but also for promoting Czech literature abroad.

Parks will be named after Holocaust survivor and philosopher Hannah Arendt, who taught in the U.S. until her death in 1975, and Alice and Anna Masaryková, the daughter and granddaughter of Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Among other things, Alice helped to establish the Czech Red Cross and advocated education for women, while Anna was an art historian and critic.

Sekyra Group is building Smíchov City on the site of a former freight station between Na Knížecí and Smíchovský nádraží. Construction began in 2020 and the entire district should be completed by 2032.

Additional name changes

The City Council also approved renaming Park Pod Rapidem in Prague 10 after the Czech-Israeli journalist, translator, and writer Ruth Bondy. She grew up in Vršovice and after surviving two concentration camps during World War II, she went to Israel. The renaming proposal came from the Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic, Anna Azari, and was supported by Prague 10.

The subject of renaming streets was in the news recently, with Koněvova Street in Prague 3 being renamed Hartigova Street. The old name referred to Soviet Marshall Ivan Konev, who has a controversial legacy, while the new name honors Karel Hartig, the first mayor of Žižkov.

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