Stone from Prague Castle inaugurates Jiřího z Poděbrad reconstruction

The 33-month project to renovate Jiřího z Poděbrad Square ceremoniously began yesterday, with a stone from Prague Castle's courtyard set as the foundation. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.02.2024 15:02:00 (updated on 17.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Long-awaited reconstruction of Prague's iconic Jiřího z Poděbrad Square ceremoniously began on Friday with the laying of a foundation stone sourced from the grounds of Prague Castle's third courtyard. Representatives from Prague City Hall and Prague 3 helped initiate the historical restoration project.

Much of Jiřího z Poděbrad Square will be closed to the public over the next three years as extensive renovations are underway. The reconstruction will last a total of 33 months, but will be carried out in stages to minimize impact on the normal operation of the square.

"The restoration of Jiřího z Poděbrad Square is a pivotal moment for Prague," Petr Hlaváček, Deputy Mayor for Territorial Development, states through a press release. "After years of modifications, we are finally on track to create a vibrant public space that reflects the desires of the local community."

The restoration project commenced in January with preparatory work and fencing off the site. The overhaul aims to enhance pedestrian pathways, create more green spaces, and add amenities while preserving the square's cultural events and farmers markets.

The foundation stone, coming from Prague Castle, symbolizes the historical connection envisioned by architect Jože Plečnik between Jiřího z Poděbrad's Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord and Prague Castle nearly 100 years ago. Plečnik also used stones from Prague Castle in the creation of the church.

"As a native of Prague, every beautification of the capital makes me happy," says Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. "At Jiřího z Poděbrad Square, decorated with an impressive church built according to the design of Josip Plečnik, I am even more pleased. It is a unique meeting place for residents of the surrounding districts, but also for visitors from other corners of the metropolis."

The winning proposal for the redesign of Jiřího z Poděbrad Square was by architectural studio MCA. It prioritizes green spaces while expanding the church's forecourt, and relocating the popular farmers markets. Public input, solicited through architectural competitions and on-site participation containers, also shaped the project's vision. The total cost of the project runs an estimated CZK 478 million.

"The newly designed space combines current approaches with an emphasis on preserving the historical heritage. More greenery and a more airy space around the church will create a pleasant and functional place for residents and visitors," adds Prague City Councilor Michal Hroza.

"I am pleased that we have managed to find funding to renovate the entire square to meet the demands that this place undoubtedly deserves."

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