Prague’s Best Feature or Hipster Hell? Activists Take On Náplavka Gentrification

The Czech capital’s popular waterfront is one big overcrowded pub says a civic group who wants to know “Where has the water gone?” Staff Jason Pirodsky

Written by StaffJason Pirodsky Published on 18.09.2017 13:49:27 (updated on 18.09.2017) Reading time: 1 minute

There is no greater symbol of Prague’s urban renewal than its Rašínovo nábřeží, affectionately referred to as Náplavka (boardwalk) by those who enjoy its weekly farmers market and on-going roster of festivals, live music, and exhibits.

But not everyone is thrilled by the waterfront’s popularity: A civic association comprised of local residents is calling out the city for allowing the historic area to become an unchecked Wild West of commercial activity.

Jiří Š. Cieslar, chairman of the group Hraběnka z Podskalí recently told

“From the original smaller projects over time we got to absolutely unreal things, such as Gott, My Life,” he said, referring to the floating retrospective devoted to Czech crooner Karel Gott that opened this summer. 

Other large anchored ships, especially those currently operating as bars, have also come under fire by residents for noise violations. 

To underscore the point Cieslar has filmed a video segment, “Where has the water gone?”

Martin Víšek, deputy mayor of Prague 2, supports Cieslar’s viewpoint:

“I’m glad Náplavka lives, of course, but it must not be at the expense of people living in neighboring flats,” he said.

Earlier this year the city approved a proposal to transform the embankment’s niches and nooks, historically used for timber storage, into gallery spaces, cafes, and new public toilets. 

Municipality spokesperson Vít Hofman said he rejects the idea that local’s concerns are being ignored but notes that the area was named among the most beautiful waterfronts in Europe by The New York Times precisely because of such activities.

Hraběnka z Podskalí is currently preparing a petition as well as a September 25th protest meeting, to draw attention to the situation.

During next week’s meeting, activists plan to install a large trampoline outside the Gott exhibit to demonstrate that bouncing on one is the only way visitors to the riverside can actually see any water.

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