Bubeneč

The first written record of Bubeneč dates to 1197, where it is mentioned as Přední Ovenec (roughly, “Near Ovenec” – “near” used as the opposite of “far”). The current name probably evolved from the German version of Ovenec, “Bubentsch.” The area was then mostly agrarian. Bubeneč became a city in 1904 and, like many other outlying municipalities, it was incorporated as part of the new “Greater Prague” administrative unit[1] by the law of 1922.

The remnants of the original settlement, the so-called Old Bubeneč, is the neighborhood around the St. Gotthard Church, the Na Slamníku (“The Hammock”) Inn, and the former Bubeneč Train Station in the center of the borough, on the western edge of Stromovka Park. To the south from there, there is a detached-house residential quarter constructed starting in the second half of the 19th century. Many important representatives of Czech culture built their homes here (e.g. the Lann and Sucharda Villas); some of these stately manors are now in use as foreign embassies.

The southwest section and the western edge consist of apartment buildings dating from the 1920s, designed by the noted urbanist architect Antonín Engel. To the east, the period development transitions into a detached-house neighborhood. The north has some historical industrial buildings, such as the remains of the Renaissance-period Imperial Mill, a paper factory, and the old and new water purification plants on Císařský (“Imperial”) Island.

Reactions to such mergers vary; smaller towns and villages bloated by greenfield residential development without adequate civic services often welcome the change, as it usually brings improved budgets, while some larger, historically older towns now physically nearly joined to Prague prefer to avoid incorporation for reasons of tradition, autonomy, etc.

Such merger processes are seen, albeit on a smaller scale, also in other larger Czech cities, mainly the 100,000+ population regional capitals.

 


Notes:

[1] Now defunct. Unlike many large cities in the West, where the “city” itself is often only the core area of a much larger metropolitan area (some of which are called “Greater”-something, e.g. Greater London, Grand Paris, etc.), Communist urban planning, applied in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1989, favored incorporating the entire continuously-urbanized zone surrounding a major city into the city itself. Consequently, the modern administrative limits of the City of Prague encompass nearly all of its urban-character suburbs. Major construction outside city limits is mostly new sprawl developed since the Velvet Revolution, but every now and then, the city limits are expanded to incorporate some of these new “outgrowths.”

 

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