Prague Passages

more than a year ago

One way to wander up and down Wenceslas Square, practically without stepping outside, is via Prague’s very cool (and warm in the winter) passageways. Called pasáž they are a fun way to skip the crowded sidewalks of the square and typically find some interesting architectural features.

With the first built at the start of the 20th century, the passageways are mainly found in the Nové Město neighbourhood of Prague 1. There was at that time a fashion for Pasáž around Europe and U Novaku, for one, was definitely modelled after a Parisian department store.

The most interesting by far is the Lucerna pasáž. Enter via Vodičkova Street, near the Václavské náměstí tram stop to find a handful of venues of interest including Hospoda v Lucerně, Kino Lucerna, Lucerna Hall and the Lucerna Music Bar. The main attraction though here is artist David Černý’s upside take on the St. Wenceslas statue on the square. While many passages sport an art deco or functionalism décor, Lucerna interestingly has an Arabic bazaar style look. Fans of art deco can find more of this look by heading up the stairs next to Černý’s horse and having a coffee at the Lucerna Café. Other shops of interest here include Japa full of Japanese snacks and Cellarius, a great wine shop.

The Lucerna passage is quite large allowing you to wander up to V jámě Street as well as through to Štěpánská Street. Don’t exit quite yet though, turn right instead for a peek at the large Fransýr cheese shop with French cheese and wine as well as Řehoř samsa, a tiny book shop cum café. The books crammed into every available space are nearly all in Czech but are an eclectic collection. The café oozes out into the arcade and interestingly, you can smoke there, but not in the cafe.

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