Prague 5 - Smíchov, Barrandov + Malá Strana - Living in Prague

Prague 5 - Silver Screen Fame vs. Modern Business Centre

Jan Suchy@wikipedia

Serial: Beautiful Prague– just imagine the most attractive parts of the city!

Barrandov, Smíchov, Malá Strana – these three areas are the most well-known parts of Prague 5 and even though they belong to the same district, they could not differ more. Let’s discover imposing villas from the 30’s, a vibrant modern architectonic business world and expose some secrets of the renowned, touristy Malá Strana. 

There is no better place to start our walk through Prague 5 than at Barrandov Hills. Those looking down on the city from here can take pleasure in the following two things: peace and  prestige. The name, “Barrandov”, has a good ring to it even today, thanks to the intrinsic fame  surrounding this area in the 1930s. Even today, this area is considered to be a “good address.” However, let us get the facts straight: the Barrandov of today is comprised of two parts. The new part – which consists of apartment houses built about 20 years ago, and the old part – the villa part, reminiscent of the era of Barrandov’s past fame.  
 
Film-makers wherever you look!
“Amadeus”, “James Bond”, “Pan Tau” and “Three Gifts for Cinderella” – the list of film classics to have been filmed at Barrandov could continue forever. This is no wonder, because one of the largest and oldest studios in Europe originated as long ago as the 1930s. These film studios, which are active even today, were soon surrounded by many beautiful villas of the First Republic and consequently a small garden town developed. Its attractive location on a hill with a beautiful view, together with the world of the silver screen and the modern architecture of the time, attracted the Czech elite during the period between the two World Wars. For example, František Vláčil, Miloš Nedbal and the descendants of Josef Lada all lived here.

These villas are still standing even today, and many of them are worth visiting. When walking through the quiet streets, you will experience a silence that is rarely experienced in other parts of Prague. You may only hear some cars in the distance at the Southern Junction of the E55. This is the only reminder that you are in the 21st Century. Otherwise it is as if time has stood still here.

This is the ideal home for all who do not wish to live right in the city centre, yet want to treat themselves to a little uniqueness. Of course, provided that they can afford it financially– the monthly rental for a small two-bedroom apartment is approximately 9.000 CZK. And who lives here? Both old established as well as young families, generally from the upper end of the middle class.

 
Highlights: Old Barrandov
The world of social glitter has long irretrievably been lost. Luxurious Barrandov restaurants with terraces in functionalist style, overlooking the river, where fashionable social events for the elite took place in the past, are now present only as ruins. Their reconstruction has been planned for many years.

So where to go for a good meal, beer or just to sit down? If you want to stay in the traditional Czech environment, visit “Folklore Garden”. The musicians and dancers in folk costumes guarantee an enjoyable Czech folklore experience. Those who prefer take-away pizza to be carried off to be enjoyed in a favourite spot, should visit the Kaskáda Restaurant, which was recommended to us by locals as the place to go. 

The film studios are really the only buildings to be retained from the domain of Old Barrandov. Unfortunately there are no tours available for the public. But this is for a very good reason – full time work is still being carried on here! The work is carried out not only by Czech filmmakers, but also by their colleagues from all around the world. Besides film producers, TV Nova also has its headquarters here. So even today it is a very busy site and one can sometimes see the film sets, meet the actors or see wardrobe mistresses running around with costume stands. If you are lucky, you may even meet a Hollywood celebrity here. After all, even Roman Polanski, Tom Cruise and, of course, Miloš Forman have filmed here. 
    

M. Dembiniok@wikipedia

Tram ride to Barrandov stop
New Barrandov, in comparison with its old neighbour, might at first seem to be less interesting. The typical tall apartment blocks, home primarily to smaller middle-class families, do not seem to have much to offer at first sight. However, if you set out for Barrandov by public transport, you will travel on a unique tram route. The Hlubočepy-Sídliště Barrandov route was opened in 2003 and is without a doubt the most interesting in Prague. Architect, Patrik Kotas, designed the ultra-modern stations that create a unique feature from the boring, grey walls. 

However, you can travel to Barrandov for entertainment as well as for Nature. If you don’t know where to take your children during the weekend or you just want to relax, visit the new Barrandov aquapark - “Aquadream”. Here you will find various attractions for adults and children, a wellness and relaxation centre, as well as a gym, offering various types of training, for example, jumping and Alpinning. There is also the possibility of sunbathing on the lawn during the summer. 

If you are in an adrenalin mood, you could take advantage of a partially enclosed skate park situated close to the Chaplinovo Náměstí tram stop, reached by tram numbers 12, 14 and 20. Skateboarding and skating enthusiasts will take pleasure in the ramps.
 
By bicycle to the Trilobites
From the Barrandov residential area you can also go for a walk in the Prokop Valley. This natural reserve not only offers a pleasant stroll through the peaceful valley, but also a cycle track for all cycling enthusiasts. If you have enough energy to climb up to the Dívčí hrady viewpoint, you will be rewarded with an unusual and beautiful view over Prague and the Vltava. And if even this does not satisfy you, then look around you on the ground, because it is possible that you will discover fossilised trilobites. Thanks to those and to palaeontologist, Joachim Barrandov, this area received its current name of Barrandov. 

Those who do not want to live too far from the city and would rather not travel those 20 minutes by public transport, or who wish to avoid the occasional delays at the Southern Junction, will find more convenient accommodation in Smíchov or Malá Strana. 

 

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