Prague People's Park

The Beach and Park in Praga

Spending one’s free time in the park was one of the most popular leisure activities for the inhabitants of Prague in the 19th Century.  Everyone used to come to the so-called Alexandrian Park, built in 1865-1871 and called that in honour of Tsar Alexander II, regardless of status. 

This was due to its being made available to a wide audience.  However one could only enter it from 1871, since the trees planted in the park needed time to grow.  One could here encounter not only a nanny with children but also workmen happily spending time with their families.  The park was conceived by Jan Dobrowolski, who decided not to give it a uniform style.  After 1916 it was renamed Praski Park, and it has been called in honour of the Soldiers of the First Army of the Polish Armed Forces since since 1998.

It was Tsar Alexander III who granted permission for the construction of the park, motivated by the necessity of creating a representative area, since important places, St. Petersburg Station and the Orthodox Church, were directly adjacent to the ruined remains of Napoleonic fortifications.

A wooden house was build on the grounds of the park towards the end of the 19th Century, in which there functioned a restaurant and a dairy.   It would change its function, eventually becoming a winter shelter for homeless people.  At the beginning of the 20th Century it was at this venue that the Praski Theatre began to function.  There were cafés and confectionaries in the park.  In the Eastern section, a parachuting tower was erected in 1937, from which those so inclined could jump.  Today only  its foundations, covered by thick vegetation, remain.  The Lunapark ‘A Hundred Consolations,’ meanwhile, created a veritable furore when it opened in 1930.  This is mentioned in the song ‘Come to Praga,’ considered by local inhabitants as the informal anthem of Praga.  In 1938 a bust of Eliza Orzeszowska by Henryk Kuna was placed in the park.  One can also find other sculptures, such as the ‘Giraffe’ of Władysław Dariusz Frycz.

Another form of spending one’s free time was lying on the sands of the beaches or bathing in the Vistula.  It was especially popular in the 1930s.  Before the war, the private Poniatówka and Kozłowski Brothers beach were the most popular.  The Kozłowskis offered a swim in a guarded area: the Vistula water passed through a great wooden pool with a floor.  Amongst other things, one could enjoy the shooting range or reading area on their beach, play pool or go to a dance in the evening; the hungry could eat in the restaurant and one could also get a haircut.


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ul. Ratuszowa, Jagiellońska, al. Solidarności, Wybrzeże Helskie