Would you like to visit the famous Golden Lane without crowds of tourists and with free admission? If so, take a walk along similarly quaint old Střešovičky on the southern slopes of Strešovice. It is one of the best-preserved old villages in Prague. On Na Kocourkách (young tomcats) lane you will find the original atmosphere of this former workers´hamlet. Walking through the lane you can see old houses (built directly into sand rocks), cobblestones, and replicas of old gas lanterns.
In the valley of the Botič stream there are several commanding homesteads, among them two former water mills. A maze of narrow streets with small picturesque houses creates the impression of Bethlehem on a slope above the Botič. On the village square there is hidden a church with one of the oldest wooden bell towers in Bohemia and the typical village pub Na Kačabce with a beer garden in the backyard. A landmark of old Hostivař is the Toulcův Dvůr, farm; walk along its wooded path through the wetlands.
This village nestled into the hillside offers a fantastic view. The ancient St. Wenceslas church, dated back to the 11th century and a baroque presbytery are here. Every September a feast is held on the village square featuring wines from the nearby vineyard Máchalka. Once you are there, you can ride on a bobsled run in the neighborhood. In old Prosek there is an incredible concentration of old pubs. Have your dinner in Konkurence, relax on the terrace of Zlaté sele or get your country-western on at pub U Brabců.
In Břevnov, a stone’s throw from the Prague Castle district you will find the old settlement Tejnka, well-hidden among tenement houses. Local residents struggle to preserve Tejnka and the community holds a traditional street festival on the square. The Old Břevnov atmosphere can especially be felt in the nearby pub Na Závěrce, located here since 1874 and reminiscent of the former homestead of the same name.
The best surprise awaits you, when among the Bohnice „panelaks“, you turn the corner and suddenly find yourself in a South Bohemian village. The village square is surrounded by the baroque Vraný´s homestead with original gables, preserved barn, baroque manor, neoclassical church and an Art Nouveau buliding which formerly housed a restaurant and cinema. On the hill above the village you can visit a sociotherapeutic farm and a little further along there is a mysterious old cemetery for inmates of the nearby insane asylum.
When driving on the motorway to Ústí, you may be surprised to see the horses grazing just under the highway by a small village in a hollow beneath the tall tower blocks. Welcome to little-known old Střížkov. You will be amazed by the peculiar view of the baroque Střížkov homestead, surrounded by panelaks. Following along the small houses under sandstone rocks to Libeň, you will find a nice wildlife pound.
Local residents here initially had some bad luck. Their village was originally called Hloupětín (village of stupid people). Of course the locals were not satisfied, so they submitted a request to the authority for a change and in 1907 they succeeded and the village was renamed to Hloubětín. The village is dominated by a neo-gothic castle. Top secret – walk through the courtyard and around the castle and you will find a castle park with a little gothic viewtower on the ramparts. On Poděbradská street you cannot miss the 300-year-old coach inn with old baroque gables. It housed three imperial rulers: the Emperor Charles VI, his daughter Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II.
On a little hill there is one of the most important sacred monuments in Prague: the Romanesque church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist with precious paintings from 13th century. The Knor´s farmstead emerges with its beautiful baroque facades under the church. A local mysterious monolith, called “the stone servant”, was erected over six thousand years ago. According to a legend, it should not be moved, or he who moves it, will be hit by disaster. It seems that this legend has been taken to heart as the stone is still in its original location and even a new fence has been built around it.
When you are planning a trip to Dalejské údolí (valley), choose the ancient village of Velká Ohrada (Big Fence) as your starting point. The village on the plateau consists of several large farms, the oldest dated back to the 18th century. On the village square there is a farmhouse from 1884 with rustic restaurant Kastrol, renowned especially for homemade cooking using quality ingredients.
Ancient Vršovice, mentioned already in 1088, is the only (at least partly) preserved village in inner Prague. Although not much is left, you will be suprised while taking a stroll along the narrow Smolenská lane and its surrondings. You will see small fairy-tale houses huddled behind the rear parts of apartment houses with courtyard balconies, several cottages (one with a shingle roof) as well as classical suburban villa Jitřenka hidden down in the creek bends of the Botič.
Which secret pockets of Prague have you discovered?