Dejvice

The first mention of Dejvice (then recorded as “Degnici”) comes from the founding charter of the Vyšehrad Chapter of 1088, whereby the King Vratislav II donated the village to the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Vyšehrad. At this time, Dejvice was a small settlement in the area of today’s Horní Šárka (an urban nature preserve). An important event for this area was the founding of the nearby Břevnov Monastery by St. Adalbert of Prague and King Boleslav II in the late 10th century. In 1320, Dejvice was transferred to the ownership of the St. Vitus Chapter at Prague Castle. At that time, the village consisted of two larger farms, four smaller farming freeholds, and several thatched family houses.

During the Hussite Wars, Dejvice was held by the Office of the Burgrave of Prague, with a minority interest held by Prague citizens. After the Battle of White Mountain (1620, end of the Bohemian Revolt against Habsburg rule), title to the settlement was restored to the St. Vitus Chapter Provost’s Office, which it then held for several hundred years. In 1771, Dejvice had 17 houses; construction underwent a boom when a railway was built near Dejvice in the 19th century.

Dejvice

Václavkova street – Dejvice

During the 19th century, Dejvice became the site of much industrial construction. There were brickworks, paper and textile factories, a malt house, tannery, and others. By the late 1860s, Dejvice had 125 houses and over 1,860 inhabitants; by 1880, this increased to 157 houses and 2,622 inhabitants.

Shortly after, construction shifted to the edge of the municipality, in the direction of Prague Castle and the Bruska Gate (then gate in city walls, now solitary building); this was called New Dejvice. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Dejvice had 278 houses and 5,098 inhabitants. As many locals worked in other industrial boroughs spreading around old Prague, an electric tram line from Letná Plain to the Dejvice-Bruska Train Station (Bruska is a creek in the area) was built in 1908 to improve commuting.

By the time Dejvice was incorporated as part of Prague in 1922, there were 426 houses and 10,481 inhabitants. During the First Republic era (1918 – 1938), Dejvice was developed as a modern, upper-class residential neighborhood. Its new center became a large circular square, now called Vítězné náměstí (Victory Square), laid out in 1923 based on a design by Antonín Engel, who also designed the surrounding blocks of monumental buildings – mainly the Czech Army General Headquarters building directly facing the square, and a sprawling joint campus of several technology-oriented colleges stretching off to the north-west.

 

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