This weekend (May 13-14), Festival Open House Praha will be offering an all-access pass to more than 40 typically closed-to-the-public buildings.
New this year, visitors can peek into the headquarters of Seznam.cz, visit the seat of Czech Radio Regina and Region in Karlín, or explore the functionalist Villa Winternitz in Smíchov.
Here are five tips for some of the more unconventional destinations to visit during this year’s festival; an info booth is currently set up Hybernská 4 where you can pick up a map.
Note that not all of the participating buildings are open on both days of the festival; check the website to confirm exact times and dates.
This floating house created by SAD architectural studio, presents a completely novel concept of housing. Known as PORT X, it is anchored in the Libeň district and drifts freely along the river according to the mood of its inhabitants. The original modern design of both its exterior and interiors will attract fans of the small and modular living movement.
After its opening in 1956, the House of Fashion (Dům módy) became a symbol of luxury shopping overnight, and is one of the remaining old guard department stores on the square; it is currently home to a decent coffeeshop as well. Built by architect Josef Hrubý, it is a defining example of socialist realist design. Enjoy a unique view of the rooftops of Václavské náměstí from its terrace.
A three-floor underground shelter on the premises of Thomayer Hospital in Prague, already famous for its mouflon population, is ready for any natural disaster, terrorist attack or war conflict and until the 1990s it was one of the country’s top-secret facilities, a hospital that can fully operate in isolation from the outside world for more than 26 hours.
Rent a bike and helmet for free and whizz along the sloping curves of the smooth concrete lanes of the Třebešín Velodrome. The lanes have survived since their establishment thanks to amateur bikers and local enthusiasts who not only fought for its construction, but also later its reconstruction. At 333 meters long, 7.8 meters wide and with curves on a 34° incline, it is the fastest bike lane in Czech Republic.
This outpost of the City of Prague Museum, called the House at the Two Golden Bears, boasts Gothic foundations a Renaissance arcade, Baroque third floor and an entrance portal guarded by two bears beckoning visitors back in time to atmospheric medieval Prague.
See the full program and map here.