Prague Market opens new community center for families and entrepreneurs

A former meat storage hall has been converted into a community center and incubator for technological businesses

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 18.08.2020 10:37 (updated on 18.08.2020)

After more than a year of renovation a new space called H40 has opened in Hall 40 of Prague Market (Pražská tržnice) in Holešovice.

Community Space (Komunitní Prostor) offers creative and development activities for children, youth and families. In the Art & Digital Lab companies dealing with digital technologies and art will find background. The grand opening was attended by representatives of the City of Prague and the Prague 7 district.

“A unique place was created in Prague in an unused space, thanks to which we are gradually returning Pražská tržnice to the people of Prague. H40 is a space that will connect all age categories. In addition, it will also offer facilities for companies from various fields, which can share their experiences, learn and move forward as a result,” Prague Mayot Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) said.

Other politicians also welcomed the new space. “I am glad that a place has been created where cultural and community life is connected not only in Prague 7,” City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha sobě). responsible for culture, said.

Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský (Praha sobě) sent a video greeting. “The transformation of Hall 40 is absolutely incredible. It is another place that is worth visiting in Pražská tržnice, and I will return here alone with my children,” he said.

Samuel Kašpar, director of the non-profit organization OSE Czech Republic, which will operate the H40 space, said he is glad that after more than a year of efforts, the renovation is completed .

“Hall 40 will come to life as part of the new Pražská tržnice. We offer creative and educational programs for children and adults and incubation programs focusing not only on start-ups,” he said.

“A number of partners are cooperating on our project, including the capital city of Prague. Everything is part of the new concept of Pražská tržnice, on which Prague is now working,” he added. The project is co-financed with the EU structural funds.

The authors of the project want to offer a place in the new Community Space H40 where the general public can find a movement and art workshop, including a ceramic studio, as well as educational and leisure activities with a Montessori concept.

h40 prague market
H40 at Prague Market / via Raymond Johnston

Using modern educational methods, H40 also wants to focus on the development of digital literacy of children and youth as well as seniors. “Our goal is to create an open and safe space for everyone who wants to learn, create, meet inspiring people and do something that makes sense,” Kašpar said.

H40 includes the Art & Digital Lab creative incubator aimed at supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and vocational training. This non-traditional form of technologically advanced business incubator will offer laboratories equipped with modern technologies, co-working and other facilities for the operation of companies.

OSE Czech Republic, in cooperation with top mentors and professional partners in the field of digital technologies and arts, will also support start-up projects through the development of professional and business skills.

“Creative industries have huge potential. We believe that the cooperation of experts from various fields makes sense. Joint projects of creatives and digital experimenters create unlimited possibilities. Surprisingly, their approaches complement each other perfectly, “project manager Jitka Hvězdová said.

Hall 40 is a part of the complex of listed buildings of Pražská tržnice. The hall was built 97 years ago as cold storage for meat from Prague slaughterhouses. The industrial building underwent a partial renovation in the 1990s, and also temporarily served as a furniture store. The H40 is another place that revives the new look of Prague Market

prague market
Visualization of Prague Market / via IPR PRaha

The entire Prague Market complex is undergoing a revitalization and this year celebrates 125 years since it was established in 1895. A year of events had been planned, but had to be scaled back due the coronavirus pandemic. The city took control of the entire complex last year.

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Two studies released in early June and created in cooperation with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha) show the possibilities for developing the space.

The long-term plan is for the Prague Market will become a place of significance not only for Prague and but also nationwide, similar to the former Kødbyen industrial complex in Copenhagen or Matadero in Madrid.

prague market
Statue at the entry to Prague Market / via Raymond Johnston

The market, formerly the Central Slaughterhouse of the Royal City of Prague (Ústřední jatka královského města Prahy), was built in 1983 and inaugurated in 1895. Since 1993 it has been protected as a cultural monument. The area of 103,060 square meters consists of 40 buildings with Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance design elements. The architect was Josef Srdínek. The two bull statues at the entrance to the complex are by Czech sculptors Bohuslav Schnirch and Čeněk Vosmík.

People often call it the Holešovice Market (Holešovická tržnice) to avoid confusion with other open-air markets in Prague.

This is not the only market space being renovated. There is also the Old Town Market (Staroměstská tržnice) on Rytířská Street, which should reopen in 2022, as well as the Time Out Market planned for the Savarin complex between Wenceslas Square and Na Příkopě.