Prague Břevnov is an ideal place for all those visitors who would like to combine a city break with some occasional trips to nature. Just take a “short ride” by the tram Nr. 22 almost to its final stop and you will fall in love with the genuine calmness this neighbourhood has to offer.
Břevnov is one of the biggest residential areas that is stretching out from the Lesser Town up to Bíla Hora. As such, it has no square and its center is basically located around the Bělohorská Street – stretching from Pyramida Hotel to U Kaštanu inn. You find almost all shops, restaurants, pubs and cultural stands just around it.
Prague Břevnov – history
The history of this Prague area started to write itself in the late 10th century, when the Břevnov monastery was founded by Duke Boleslav II and Bishop Adalbert. The Břevnov monastery was considered for centuries as a center of education.
Our tip: Book guided tours on the official website of the Břevnov monastery and learn about the early Christians in Europe and the beginnings of Christianity in Bohemia.
Břevnov became at the beginning of the 20th century a small independent town and later, in 1921, it was officially annexed to Prague. In the second part of the 20th century, Břevnov underwent several urban and architectural changes. In the early 50s one of the main streets of this district was build – the Patočkova street (named after the philosopher Jan Patočka) – which is nowadays also one of the gateways to Prague (if you are travelling to Prague by car).
The 70s were the era when the city began with the construction of the panel apartment houses in this area. All the constructions were done on the foundations of the original village of Břevnov, in the nearest vicinity of the Břevnov monastery. Nowadays, there are only few houses with the original architecture left to admire. Only a small chapel in the Anastazova Street remained untouched, modestly crouching in the shadow of the barracks.
An interesting fact to mention is that all these apartments were build by prisoners to accommodate families of the employees working for the Ministry of Interior. Therefore, locals sometimes pejoratively refer to this part as “The baton” or “The truncheon”.
Břevnov Pilgrimage Route
Břevnov, as an important center of Christianity, was connected with another nearby standing monastery Hájek u Červeného újezda via pilgrimage route that stretched from the east to the west of the now Břevnov area. The 15km pilgrimage route was originally lined up by 20 chapels built in the years 1720-1726. To date, only 12 of these chapels have been preserved, six of them located in Břevnov.
The pilgrimage route begins at Malovanka, just right above the Pyramid Hotel, where you come across the reconstructed first chapel with a picture of Black Madonna and two angels. The road then continues downhill to Za Strahov street to an area with low houses that are slowly but surely being reconstructed – this part is known as the village of Tejnka. Here you get the most perfect picture of the village of Břevnov as the houses’ architecture remained untouched until present days. In the cobble-headed alley you can still come across neighbours engaged in casual conversations on their doorstep during the warm summer evenings.
The second chapel that stood on the Za Strahov street was demolished long time ago. However, the local puppeteer Danik and the artist Pavlik created for the pilgrims its miniature in the alcove of the garden wall. After a few hundred meters, the cobblestone alley changes to a wide U Ladronka street and tall houses are replaced by large urban villas.
In the garden of one of them stands the third chapel, and the fourth is then on the plain at Ladronka’s estate. Along the fifth on Vypich and the sixth in Malý Břevnov you can continue your walk to Bílá Hora and then further to the monastery Hájek u Červeného Újezda.
Today however, the pilgrimage route is interrupted by a highway bypass and warehouse halls at Hostivice. But if you are patient enough and manage to get out of the industrial edge of Prague successfully, you will reach the destination after a beautiful 15 kilometers hike in the picturesque Central Bohemian landscape.
Sightseeing guide through Břevnov
Apart from the Břevnov monastery, in this district you may find many other architectonic jewels. When visiting the monastery, take a walk also to the nearest cemetery that is hidden in the surrounding gardens and which is also a final resting place of notable people in Czech history – song writer Karel Kryl, poet Ivan Diviš, philosopher Jan Patočka and many others. The last rest of all Břevnov inhabitants is guarded by several local cats, standing majestically on the walls of the cemetery.
Not far from the gardens, in the middle of the forest, stands a simple white building with a regular star layout. It’s called the summerhouse, though it was not the original purpose of this building. The foundations were laid by the Austrian archduke Ferdinand Tyrol himself in 1555, and since then it has been speculated about the reason for the chosen shape. This reneissance building is considered to be a phylosophical building and is opened to public from April till October.
Břevnov can also pride itself with streets full of beautiful farmland houses and villas with originally preserved architecture – in some cases only on the outside. These areas became nowadays a home to many Czech celebrities and successful businessmen.
In U Ladronka street, some villas also deserve your attention. The poet Jaroslav Seifert lived in an inconspicuous house with a commemorative plaque on the gray façade. Just a few meters further you can admire the villa from the architect Beneš with an outdoor spiral staircase. Right opposite you will be stunned by the perfectly precise shapes of the white functionalistic villa built by Pavel Smetana.
Not far from here, opposite the plain called Břevnovská, you will notice the one-storey house of architect Jan Sokol. It stands out from the rich morphology of the surrounding villas with its simplicity and distinct functionality.
For those of you who prefer to spend some free time outdoors, make sure you stop by in Ladronka park that is just a few steps away from the tram stop Vypich. It is popular not only by locals but also expats living in Prague for the countless sport opportunities it offers. Here you will find also the longest inline track in Prague – a 4,2km circuit among the volleyball and beach volleyball courts as well as sports equipment rental center.
During the summer time Ladronka is an ideal place for picnic or a weekend brunch.
Do you have some more traveler’s tips on activities in Prague Břevnov? Share with us in comments below!