One of Prague’s oldest squares has been waiting for a complete renovation for years. The main part of the work on Malostranské Square has not yet begun, as the city faced several problems, but last December, the building permit was published by the building authority of Prague 1. Now it seems that work will start within the year.
But it did not go without its own complications, as several residents appealed against the decision. Their objections are currently under review by the construction department at the Prague City Hall, yet the deputy mayor forRegional Development and Public Administration., Petr Hlaváček is convinced that the restoration will go ahead as planned this year.
“If the building permit becomes legally effective during the first half of 2019, the project could start after the selection of the supplier at the end of 2019.” If these ideas are truly fulfilled, starting in 2021, the square will finally serve Prague’s locals and visitors. The idea is based on a project, which was won by architects Martin Hájek, Václav Hájek and Petr Horský in 2014.
According to their plans, it will be a comprehensive public space suitable for organizing markets or social events. There will also be a new paving and a new fountain installed.
However, the transport regime will change in the square, which, according to the city council, will calm down the whole area. Sidewalks will be expanded, as the main purpose of the reconstruction is to give more space to pedestrians.
But the new regime has been met with opposition, especially among the people of Malá Strana. They have been dealing with the problem of lack of parking space for a long time, and it will probably worsen after the adjustment.
For this reason, the past management of the town district, led by Oldřich Lomecký, reclaimed eight million crowns to create a study of the possible placement of garages under the surface of the square.
“In the framework of building preparations, a survey should be carried out to examine whether, in the future, underground parking in this place would be possible at all. However, the reconstruction will take place as planned,” assures the deputy Hlaváček.
Nevertheless, the new representations at the City Hall claim that the lack of parking spaces for residents on the surface is actively being solved. According to David Skála, the main problem is that the reserved stalls largely occupy the drivers ‘ cars from elsewhere.
According to him, the City Hall is also negotiating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the use of some parking spaces in the streets of Malé Strany, which are now destined for embassies that are based there. “And in case the residents are interested in parking in underground garages in Prague 1, we have discussed the possibility of parking in Štěpán, in the square of Jan Palach and in Palladium,” adds David Skála.
In connection with the reconstruction of the square, there is a passionate discussion on one topic, currently underway. Whether the possibility of returning a controversial monument to the square of Marshal Radetzky, after almost one hundred years.
In the past, the city’s management did not agree on its relocation, as is the public’s issue. But the new deputy for territorial development approves the return of the statue in the square. Going on to say “It would have to be a match, but personally I wouldn’t mind. The architectural historian, Rostislav Švácha, often refers to this monument as one of the most beautiful statues that have ever stood in Prague, and from a purely aesthetic point of view, it could be beneficial.”
Author: Roberta Zoch