Old Prague Marketplace to Go Under Reconstruction in Summer

Although the Prague City Council approved the reconstruction of the dilapidated and preserved monument of the Old Town Market in the historical centre of Prague in the middle of 2016, work has not yet started. 

At the beginning of this week, all Prague councillors presented to the journalist’s step by step plan of what they will do during the summer. Jan Chabr (Spojené síly pro Prahu), said that the coalition would select a supplier for the reconstruction of the Old Town Market and propose a way for future operations. The market project itself has already been completed.

“We are looking for a consensus in the coalition, but I bid for the city to opt for a concession contract when the concessionaire undertakes to carry out its own reconstruction and renewal of the Old Town Market according to the project documentation to be determined by the city. The concessionaire will also ensure the use and operation of the market,” Chabr said.

The company chosen by the city would thus repair the historic market at its own expense and for decades to come to earn from its operation. Preparing the operator of choice is now in full swing. The name of the winner should be announced by the end of June. Reconstruction, according to councillors, should start this year, and major work would take place next year. 

Previously, the city estimated that the reconstruction should be completed within 16 months of the start. Total costs are estimated at 250 to 300 million CZK. The final amount will depend on the operator’s participation.

The Old Town Market, which stands between Rytířská Street and the 28th of October, was built at the end of the 19th century and was one of the most modern in Europe at the time. Its design from decorative cast iron columns is both technical and aesthetic. The pillars are hollow and served as ventilation to the basement, where there were warehouses and cold stores. The illumination with the arc lamps of František Křižík was also unique. The marketplace is decorated with painted lunets with the motifs of the Prague markets and the features of the Czech cities.

In the second half of the last century, there was insensitive installation and a poor cover of the ceiling structures. Today the supermarket dominates the interior, there are also small shops and some Asian restaurants.

“We want people to meet, eat and have fun besides shopping at the market. We will adjust this to the choice of operator and the price will not be the only criterion for assessing offers,” Jan Chabr said. 

According to him, the city is legally overseeing the possibility to terminate the contract with the operator in the event of non-fulfilment of the lease conditions and, above all, to effectively enforce it. A devastating case in this regard was the Prague Market in Holešovice. In the middle of the 1990s, Prague hired private companies, which undertook to repair the premises. But these did not happen. The contract was terminated by the city in 2011.

Author: Lilato Madiri

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