Prague Vinohrady District
Vinohrady, which literally means vineyards in Czech, is a district in Prague, situated on a hill overlooking the historical centre of Prague in the east. It starts just behind the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square and stretches several kilometres eastwards. Vinohrady has long been considered a good address in Prague, with big historical houses and somehow wide streets, often lined with trees.
Another advantage of Vinohrady is excellent public transport access to the historical centre. Metro line A runs all the way through the district, as well as several tram routes with frequent service. The four metro stations in Vinohrady (Namesti Miru, Jiriho z Podebrad, Flora, and Zelivskeho), all located at squares or intersections of major streets, form natural centres of the district’s life.
Two most important squares in Vinohrady are Peace Square (Namesti Miru) and George of Podebrady Square (Namesti Jiriho z Podebrad).
Peace Square (Namesti Miru)
Peace Square is situated very close to Prague inner city (10 minutes’ walk or one metro stop from Wenceslas Square). Even if you don’t stay in Vinohrady, it is worth a visit.
In the middle of the square there is a big neo-gothic church of St. Ludmila. The area in front of this church is among the best known Christmas market locations in Prague – compared to the market at Old Town Square, this one is much smaller and less touristy, but has a magic atmosphere, also thanks to the church in the background and the constant bells from passing trams.
Another remarkable building at Peace Square is Vinohrady Theatre, one of the biggest and most prestigious theatres in Prague.
Not least, Namesti Miru, the metro station directly under the square, boasts the longest and deepest escalator in the European Union (the station is 53 metres below the surface).
George of Podebrady Square
George of Podebrady Square (Namesti Jiriho z Podebrad) is located at the next metro station. Both are named after a Czech King (1458-1471). Podebrady, the king’s place of origin, is a small spa town on the Elbe (Labe) river 40 km east of Prague.
Like Peace Square, this one also has an interesting church in the middle – the modern looking Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, built in 1929-1932 and designed by Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik.
A few steps from the square there is the 216m high Zizkov TV Tower, which you can see from most of Prague. When you get closer, you will see ten babies climbing onto the tower (actually sculptures by Czech artist David Cerny). It is technically located in the neighbouring district, Zizkov, but George of Podebrady Square is the most convenient point of access.
Major Streets in Vinohrady
The most important street in Vinohrady is, as its name suggests, Vinohradska. It runs all the way through the entire district from west to east. It starts just behind the National Museum building near the upper end of Wenceslas Square and passes George of Podebrady Square, Flora and Zelivskeho metro stations. Czech Radio (Cesky rozhlas) main building is situated in Vinohradska Street near National Museum.
Other big streets in Vinohrady include Korunni (parallel to Vinohradska two blocks to the south, starting at Peace Square), Francouzska (French Street), or Belehradska (Belgrade Street). Many streets in the area surrounding Peace Square are named after countries or cities – among others you will find Americka (American Street), Anglicka (English Street), Londynska (London Street), Rimska (Rome), Bruselska (Brussels), or Varsavska (Warsaw). Paris Street is missing – you can find that one in the Old Town.
Other Interesting Places in Vinohrady
In the eastern part of Vinohrady there is one of Prague’s largest hospitals – the University Hospital of Vinohrady (Fakultni nemocnice Kralovske Vinohrady). Kralovske Vinohrady literally means the royal vineyards and it is the former official name of the district.
The area at the border of Vinohrady and neighbouring districts of Olsany (part of Zizkov) and Strasnice is known as the location of vast cemeteries, stretching from Flora to Zelivskeho metro station and beyond. Among others, Franz Kafka is buried at the New Jewish Cemetery near Zelivskeho station. That said, Prague’s most famous cemetery (Slavin) where many of the country’s great artists, scientists or politicians rest, is located elsewhere – at Vysehrad.
Borders and Neighbouring Districts
The western border of Vinohrady, which separates it from the New Town, is an extremely busy twin street Legerova – Sokolska. It is in fact part of the main north-south highway running through the centre of Prague, with three or four lanes in each direction. It is quite controversial, noisy, dirty – a place to avoid. The best way to cross these streets when walking from Vinohrady to the centre is through an underpass near the National Museum. There are also surface pedestrian crossings at major intersections.
In the north Vinohrady borders on Zizkov, which occupies the other half of the same hill.
In the east Vinohrady borders with the already mentioned Strasnice.
In the south there is the district of Vrsovice. Its name in Czech hints at a hill (vrch or vrsek), but interestingly you walk all downhill from Vinohrady to Vrsovice. Some argue that the district’s name might actually have something to do with fishing, rather than hills.