If you would like to experience a bundle of various emotions set in an extraordinary atmosphere, make sure your steps lead to Žižkov. Žižkov, sometimes also called the Prague’s Montmartre, is a bohemian neighborhood full of vivid nightlife, hipster cafés, traditional Czech pubs, stylish bars, authentic galleries and creative artists.
This very authentic neighourhood stretches on the east side from the Prague city center and has a very good public transport connection to the wider city center. The Žižkov inhabitants were always proud of their district and they even called it the Republic of Žižkov. As Žižkov is situated on a hillside, be prepared to do some hike as almost all the streets in this neighbourhood are rather narrow and steep.
Žižkov – history
Žižkov is rather a larger area consisting predominantly of apartment buildings with courtyard balconies built in the 19th- and early 20th-century. As a separate district, Žižkov was founded in 1875 by the division of Royal Vinohrady. At that time, however, it was named the Royal Vinohrady I; the name of Žižkov was acquired two years later.
During the communist era, the whole neighbourhood was supposed to undergo radical changes – the old apartment buildings were to be replaced by modern blocks of flats and wider streets. This idea was put into practice by the Olšanské square but the whole “modernization process” stopped right after the Velvet revolution in 1989. Like this, most of the historical part of Žižkov remained its original look.
Žižkov – places to see
One of the most famous buildings in Žižkov is the remarkable Žižkov TV tower, located in Mahler’s orchards. The unconventional building of communist-era architecture, considered by many locals as one of the ugliest ones in Prague, was put into operation in 1992. The observatory located in the altitude of 93m is open to the public and allows visitors and residents of Prague to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surroundic area from a bird’s eye perspective.
At the Sládkovské square, near the building of the cemetery in Žižkov, you will spot the slim building of the neo-Gothic three-nave church of St. Prokop with one tower only. An interesting Art Nouveau church is also nearby. The Olšanské Square is hiding the oldest church that is to be found in Žižkov – the Baroque Church of Sts. Rocha.
Žižkov is also home for The University of Economics (VŠE), located between Italian Street and Winston Churchill Square. In the 1930s, in the same square a functionalist building of the Trade Unions House (then the twelve-floor office of the Pension Office), now the headquarters of the Czech Trade Union Headquarters, grew up.
After a short hike on Vitkov Hill, you can visit the National Monument, together with the Jan Žižka equestrian statue, which is in fact the 3rd biggest military statue in the world.
Our tip: If you would like to have just a quiet moment for yourself or enjoy a glass of beer, visit the Parukářka park, Mahler’s orchards or the Park of Eden – a cascade park which offers spectacular views on Prague.
Nightlife and the morning after
The unique atmosphere of Žižkov becomes almost tangible as the sun begins to set. Just walk the narrow streets and observe how all the local shops, bistros and bars start to fill up with locals and expats. Therefore, if you want to have something to eat and/or combine it with a few drinks after a long day, do not miss streets like Bořivojova, Vlkova or any other tiny street that is just around the corner.
Is the place where you wanted to get your drink cramped? No worries at all! A few steps further down these two main streets there is another pub or bar where you can start your adventure! There is even a rumor that Žižkov apparently has the largest amount of pubs per capita in the world! In Žižkov everybody is going to find a place of their liking – may it be live concerts and performances, classical Czech pubs or hipster clubs full of artists. In all those places fun continues until the early morning hours.
After all your night adventures, Žižkov cafés will get you back on your feet with their breakfast menus and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Their location is usually well situated and interiors are pleasant to the eye. While sipping your coffee, you can enjoy a view on a nearby park or watch life on the streets to get back to its usual daily pace before the spell of night takes over again.
If you want to keep on in your adventure before or shortly after your breakfast, you may also take a walk under the Vítkov hill through a 270m long tunel and you will arrive to a another very peculiar neighbourhood of Prague – Karlín.
Do you have some more traveler’s tips on activities in Prague Lesser Town? Share with us in comments below!