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Prague Neighborhoods

11 January, 2012

The Districts of Prague; an Overview of the Central Neighborhoods

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Prague is a city of various neighborhoods, each with its own character and each conveniently designated by a district number from 1 to 22. Since UPCES students have the option to choose where they will live in the city (see the housing page for more details), it's useful to have an idea about the different Prague neighborhoods and what they have to offer. 

This article provides information on the various central Prague districts (from 1 to 8, excluding 4). Prague 1 is the historic center of the city, and it is surrounded on all sides by Prague districts 2 through 8 (thus, Prague 2 is no closer to the center than Prague 8). This article is an overview of what makes each district unique.


Prague 1

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Prague 1 is the heart of the city, with grand architecture, cobblestone streets, historic landmarks – and the vast majority of tourists.  It can be one of the most convenient places to live, with an abundance of restaurants, bars, shops, and public transportation connections, but Prague 1 is also the most expensive district in the city. It is comprised of three major sections, all of which will satisfy those who enjoy city life and don’t mind the associated crowds or expense:

Stare Mesto (Old Town): The geographic and historic center of Prague, Stare Mesto landmarks include the Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Astronomical Clock, and an abundance of notable churches, markets, and theatres. Stare Mesto is filled with winding cobblestone streets, soaring spires, and ancient fortifications that can be seen from all over Prague.

Mala Strana (Little Quarter): Situated below Prague castle, and across the river from Old Town, Mala Strana is considered the most beautiful section of Prague. The area holds a mixture of palaces, government buildings, residential buildings, exquisite restaurants, and the beautiful park on Petřín Hill.

Nove Mesto (New Town): Just south of Stare Mesto, Nove Mesto is the residential and commercial center of Prague 1. The area is filled with restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, and businesses, in addition to plenty of historic buildings, especially around the famous Wenceslas Square. Some areas in Nove Mesto are extremely desirable for living, notably the winding streets just south of the National Theatre. The UPCES/CERGE building is also located in Nove Mesto.
 

Prague 2

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Vinohrady, in Prague 2, is one of the most popular districts for expats and students. It’s similar to Prague 1 – an abundance of restaurants, bars, clubs, shops and public transportation – only without all the tourists.  It’s the most convenient place to live outside of the centre, as it has plenty of trams, bus stops, and three major metro stations within walking distance of each other: Namesti Miru, I.P. Pavlova, and Jiriho z Podebrad. The area is very pleasant, with many large parks around. Most of the flats are older but newly renovated, and the rents will reflect this; after Prague 1, Vinohrady is one of the more expensive places to live. 
 

Prague 3

Žižkov is just East of Prague 1 and is similar to Vinohrady, but quite a bit cheaper. The area is now in high-demand with young people due to its many cultural landmarks andabundance of restaurants, bars, shops, art houses, and many typical Czech pubs (they say the area contains more pubs per capita than any other district in Europe).  Although there isn’t any metro station in the centre of Prague 3, there are plenty of tram and bus connections to the center.

 

Prague 5

Smichov, just south of Mala Strana, has become one of the largest commercial areas in Prague (especially around the metro station Andel).  Rent is much cheaper compared to Prague 1, and there are plenty of great places to eat and go out. In fact, some areas of Prague 5 are just as crowded as Prague 1. Public transportation is excellent, and there are a few nice parks.

 

Prague 6

Dejvice is another very popular area for expats to reside, and is similar to Vinohrady – many restaurants and shops, good public transportation, as well as schools, ministries, sports venues, and a mix of renovated apartments. The area is very safe, and some parts can be cheaper and have a more ‘Czech’ atmosphere than Vinohrady. 

 

Prague 7

Letna is the first district north of the city center (just over the river). The area is relatively cheap and a great value.  There are two very nice parks there with amazing views of the city and plenty of nice surrounding neighborhood restaurants, bars, and shops. Other areas, especially around certain streets, may not be as pleasant.  Transportation connections are decent and it can still be a very convenient place to live. Although mostly Czechs live here, the expat community is growing.

 

Prague 8

Karlin is the first district east of the city center. The area has undergone major transformations in the past few years, as it was heavily damaged by the Prague flood in 2003. The water-logged buildings have now been replaced by high-end apartment complexes, which continue to spring up along the river front. This area is prized for its history and relative quiet atmosphere. It is certainly not a prime location for night life, but does offer plenty of nice restaurants.