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Children's Island (Dětský ostrov)

The island is accessible by a bridge that is arched so that larger steamboats can pass beneath it from the adjacent lock chamber. At the northern tip of the island is a bronze allegorical statue of the Vltava River on a plinth decorated with reliefs depicting four girls representing its tributaries. The island offers sports facilities for all ages, including a children's playground.

Children's Island (Dětský ostrov), Janáčkovo nábřeží, Praha 5 - Smíchov, 150 00

Opening hours

Under reconstruction – till winter 2017

Object history

The island on the Vltava River located on the left riverbank of Smíchov district between the Legion Bridge (most Legií) and the Jirásek Bridge (Jiráskův most) has an area of 1.83 hectares. Previously there were a number of smaller islands on the Vltava in this location that changed their shapes and sizes due to silts. During the great flood in the 17th century numerous small islands disappeared and the shapes of several bigger islands stabilized. Among them was also the Children’s Island (Dětský ostrov). Originally, it belonged to the Maltese monastery of the Virgin Mary under the Chain. Later it was owned by the city that sold it into the private ownership. Some private owners were of Jewish origin, e.g. Mr. Jeruzalémský, the owner of the Smíchov printworks, so the island became known as Jewish (Židovský). From 1815, the Philip-Jacobean Night (in most central and northern European countries called the Walpurgis Night) famous for numerous attractions was held there. The neighbouring Petržilkovský Island was named after the miller Jan Petržilka who built a mill there. In the years between 1911 and 1914 the Smíchov waterfront was rebuilt and the lock chamber was built, too. Both islands became an integral technical part of the waterway. Only a remnant with a former water tower of the Lesser Town remained out of the Petržilkovský Island. In fact, it is the smallest island in Prague of 60 x 10 metres. A portion of the island was connected to the Children’s Island that due to the regulation changed its size and shape.

The entry to the island is an arched bridge, so that even higher steamship departing from a lock could sail under it. On the extended stone retaining wall of the island’s northern tip there is a bronze statue of the Vltava River, the pedestal of which is adorned by reliefs of four girls that symbolize tributaries of the Vltava (the rivers of Otava, Lužnice, Sázava and Berounka). The author of the statue is the professor Josef Pekárek (1916), the architect was František Sandner. A ceremonial opening of the boating season takes place annually at the statue as well as a remembrance ceremony for the drowned on All Soul’s Day. The island was also used by sportsmen. After World War I it served as a ship depot and after World War II it was dedicated to children, therefore children’s playgrounds were arranged there.

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