The Alternative Guide to Prague #2: Žižkov district

BY ZOFIA FILIPOWICZ

When admiring the striking panorama of Prague from the top of Hradčany castle, you, dear tourist, may have spotted an incredibly high television transmitter, rising above the city of magnificent churches and Art Nouveau facades like an unwanted weed.

This high-tech, futuristic tower, decorated with disturbing sculptures of black babies, crawling up and down its length, and named the second ugliest building in the world, marks the entrance to the ‘different’ part of Prague – the hilly neighbourhood of Žižkov.

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The district, or, as it is usually referred as – ‘the republic’, filled to the brim with pubs, weird shops and taverns, beckons at all of those, who may not want to look at the apostles, poking their heads out of the Clock Tower any longer.

Instead, you get incense smelling shops with completely useless, yet nice to look at knick-knacks, loads of bars serving cheap Chinese and traditional Czech food, as well as (I could not believe my eyes) a dog cafe, where pets can have a good old chin wag with their friends over cake.

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However stripped of the grandeur and beauty that the beaten paths of central Prague offer, Žižkov tempts with a working-class, slightly rougher character and a bit more personality. Serving as a home to many students due to the reasonable costs of living, it is a great area for the young and creative. Should I also say poor? Let’s not fool ourselves – budget friendly food, beverages and accommodation all deserve a big ‘thumbs up’ from students.

If you ever find yourself in Žižkov, either on purpose or simply because you got your trams wrong, head down Husitská street to the legendary tavern U Vystřelenýho oka (‘At the Shot Out Eye’) for a massive tankard of Pilsner and delicious 99 Kč fried cheese. It’s one of those rare places in Prague, where you can meet the real crème de la crème of all the locals, being themselves and having a laugh on a Friday night.

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Only a few steps further, you can find and very student-friendly hotel Prokopka, which offers affordable rooms and has a great breakfast buffet included in the price. The whole Žižkov area can be easily reached from Florenc metro station by any form of public transport, as it isn’t far from the city centre at all – you can always go back if you suddenly feel like you’ve missed the crowds.

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That would be it on my part. Now, it’s your turn – to explore, walk a bit further, discover your own hidden spots and places that the pocket city guide may have missed. Maybe you’ll be able to find your Prague?

Trust me, there is nothing like it.

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