Neolithic and Medieval settlement on the Karlín Plain was sparse due to frequent flooding; the plain is located next to a meander of the Vltava, which has a tendency to flood the entire plain during high water levels. This changed in the late 19th century, when the river was gradually regulated.
The municipality of Karlín was founded in 1817 and named in honor of Caroline Augusta of Bavaria, the wife of the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The suburban town was elevated to city status in early 20th century; after Czechoslovak independence in 1918, it was incorporated as part of Prague. Much like the nearby Holešovice, Karlín turned into an industrial, working-class neighborhood with the advent of heavy industry. The major industries represented were textile and machinery works. Today, most of the plants have been abandoned and many have been turned into unique, attractive residential lofts.
Architectural highlights include the oldest gas factory in the Czech Republic, which provided lamp gas for Prague’s streetlights, and the Neo-Romantic Church of Sts. Cyril and Method, both from the 19th century. Also important is the 19th-century Negrelli Viaduct, the second oldest and first dedicated rail bridge in Prague.
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