The different quarters in Prague – characteristics and atmosphere

Post date: Sep 01, 2014 8:54:57 AM

The different quarters in Prague – characteristics and atmosphere

Prague's municipal structure

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, has a two- or three-layered local administrative structure, depending on the area. The Prague municipality (Magistrát hlavního města Prahy) heads the system and is responsible for public transport; refuse collection; firefighting and rescue services; cultural activity; looking after historical sites; running the Prague zoo; and other activities of general municipal importance. Since 1990 the city has been divided into 56 (and, since 1992, 57) municipal districts (městské části‏) that are locally governed. Each district is responsible for looking after the parks and the environment, ordering equipment for schools and the volunteer firefighters, some of the cultural and sport activities, activity for senior citizens, some of the health and welfare programs, cemeteries, collecting taxes for dog licenses and similar.

Another activity of the district municipalities is ownership, maintenance and sometimes sale of public property. Many properties whose owners were not located after the end of Communist rule and were under government ownership were transferred to the municipalities and local government, which managed them and rented them to members of the public. In recent years the municipalities have begun to privatize and sell these properties in tenders or by selling to the tenants who live in them.

Since 2001, the 57 municipal districts have been combined to form 22 administrative districts (správní obvody), for national-government purposes. One municipal district in each administrative district has the responsibility for providing certain services for the whole administrative district. These services include business licenses, identity cards and passports. The municipal district in charge receives the name of the administrative district it serves. For example, the Prague 19 district provides these services to the Prague 19 municipal districts, Satalice, Čakovice and Vinoř. Residents of Satalice can receive a dog tag in their neighborhood but have to go to Kbely‏, where the municipal district of Prague 19 is situated, in order to be issued with an identity card.

Both the general municipality and the municipal districts elect councils and mayors. The mayor of the entire capital city of Prague is known as the primátor.

From 1960 to 1990 Prague was divided into ten districts. These ten districts are still used for postal and transport purposes and for the organization of courts and income tax. The name of the real estate area (katastrální území), which usually includes the old municipality name, before the merger with the city of Prague, is also added to the street signs.‏ So for instance the sign in Kbely will say "Praha 9-Kbely" and not "Praha 19". In a conversation with residents of Prague they are more likely to use the real-estate area name or the municipal district from 1960 than the district name that was introduced after 1990.

Prague's districts

Prague 1 – This neighborhood is the heart of Prague. There lies the old city with its many alleys including the Jewish quarter. The area is characterized by historical buildings each of which has its own special character. In this quarter there are famous monuments, commercial centers and tourist attractions such as the Old Town Square where the Astronomical Clock is located, Wenceslas Square and St Vitus Cathedral. Real estate in Prague 1 is in high demand and available residential apartments are hard to find. If you have nevertheless managed to find an available apartment for sale or rent there, bear in mind that the prices in this area are high.

Prague 2 – This quarter is famous for the Vinohrady neighborhood in its east. Prague 2 is within walking distance of the center of Prague and is characterized by a network of small streets in which much of the city's night life takes place. In this quarter are nightclubs, discotheques, pubs and restaurants. Rental prices in the area are relatively expensive but lower than in Prague 1. Here too the demand is high and the available properties are few.

Prague 3 – In the Prague 3 neighborhood you can find municipal centers, the municipal cemetery, rare architectural buildings and a great variety of shops and restaurants. The rental prices are relatively low and living in this area is suitable for middle class people who work in the center and want to live nearby. The most famous neighborhood in Prague 3 is Žižkov which recently has begun to acquire a character similar to that of the Florentine neighborhood in Tel Aviv with many students, neighborhood bars and a special atmosphere.

Prague 4 – This is the biggest quarter in Prague both from the point of view of area and that of the number of residents. This area is somewhat distant from the center, but most of its neighborhoods are near the metro. The most popular neighborhood in Prague 4 is called Pankrác. This neighborhood is beginning to become known as the new business and office area and new projects are being constructed there all the time mainly for the commercial market; the tallest building in Prague, the City Tower is situated there and so is the popular Arkády Pankrác mall.

Prague 5 – There is a wide variety of properties in this area for those looking for private residential houses. Usually the houses are in Western style, with an excellent level of finish and the area is populated by the middle class. The Smíchov neighborhood contains many offices of high tech companies such as the Czech firm of AVG and many other international companies. Another famous area in Prague 5 is called Anděl.

Prague 6 – In the sixth district of Prague you can find large parks, lawns, office buildings, embassies, consulates and the homes of diplomats. This neighborhood is situated on the main road between Prague's airport and the city center and therefore most of the foreign population lives there. The neighborhood also has a school for English speakers and the rental prices in the area are regarded as more expensive than in other areas of the city (after Prague 1 and Prague 2). There are many villas and prestigious neighborhoods in Prague 6. The most famous neighborhood in the area is Dejvice.

Prague 7 – Prague 7 is a relatively small neighborhood that mostly consisted of two large parks – Letná and Stromovka. In this neighborhood are shops, restaurants and many places of entertainment. In some areas the quality of the houses is lower and therefore the prices are relatively low. If you are looking for houses to renovate at good prices you can find them here. Moreover the neighborhood has very good access to the airport and the city center, The most developed neighborhood and the most attractive from the point of view of real estate prices is Holešovice.

Prague 8 – The Karlin neighborhood is characterized by offices and hotels. Real estate prices have multiplied hundreds of times in the past decades. In the northern, more distant part, private houses can be found for reasonable prices. Recently entire newly-built neighborhoods have been constructed in Prague 8 by Israeli entrepreneurs and this is definitely an area that will become a residential area for the new middle class with many young couples.

Prague 9 – is famous thanks to the Černý Most neighborhood. This neighborhood contains a collection of dilapidated old buildings alongside new buildings with apartments for families. At the moment the neighborhood suffers from lack of shops in the residential areas and lack of convenient access to trams. Many of its residents use the bus services. The metro, which was extended during the past year, reaches the center of the neighborhood and a large mall that was recently renovated draws many visitors from the entire area.

Prague 10 – This area is adjacent to the Vinohrady neighborhood in Prague 2 and has not a few apartments and houses for sale to families at reasonable prices. Most of the neighborhood suffers from lack of convenient access to the metro. In Prague, lack of access to the metro is regarded as a disadvantage that is immediately reflected in the rental price. A popular and interesting neighborhood in Prague 10 is Vršovice.

Further information on real estate in Prague can be found here

Guide to buying a property in the Czech Republic

Prices of apartments in Prague

Recommended Areas in Prague for Real Estate Investment