The arcade-style galleries and passages (pasáž) that beckon from Prague’s main shopping thoroughfares not only house hidden-gem boutiques and cafés but a wealth of history, architecture, and culture.
Among the most well known and the oldest, the Art Nouveau Palác Lucerna connecting Štěpánská and Vodičkova streets, and Pasáž Světozor, the gateway to Prague’s 14th-century Franciscan Garden.
Now another decorative shortcut joins their ranks: Palace Rosetta.
The brand new passage, which opened yesterday, leads from Jungmannova 21 to Národní třída metro and the Quadrio shopping center.
And while the oldest structure in the restored Art Deco-style passage dates to 1408, with numerous modifications taking place in a variety of architectural styles throughout the centuries, its complete renovation began in 2015.
The building houses twenty luxury apartments, one office floor, two shops and an internal courtyard.
In Prague, it was once possible to walk through almost all of Wenceslas Square under cover of its arcades; at the turn of the century, they housed cultural spaces such as theaters, dance halls, cafés, and cinemas.
Many passages were eventually blocked, converted to businesses or completely abolished.
According to blogger Praha Neznama who gives regular tours of these iconic passageways, their inspiration came mainly from Paris and Brussels.
The structures originated as shopping areas that sheltered visitors from bad weather and attracted customers not only with their wide range of shops but for their luxurious modern decor.
Even then, just like today, their added value was functional: they provided Praguers with convenient shortcuts around the city center.