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Karlín: Savouring the charms of a former suburb-turnedstunner

Wheelchair-friendly routes off the beaten track.

  • Sports & Relaxation
  • walking routes
  • wheelchair access

Practical information

Download: Prague:four accessible walks 2
Although this guide is intended primarily for people using manual or electric wheelchairs, it may be found useful by anyone with limited mobility, such as parents with strollers, the elderly, etc.

Difficulty Rating: Moderate
Route Length:
3,5 km

Even though the Karlín area is flat in general and the sidewalks are dominated by smooth paved mosaic, in parts of the route the terrain can be more challenging. Somewhat steeply edged curbs make the gravest obstacles, along with rough pavement and uneven surfaces in the eastern part of the neighbourhood, especially around Lyčkovo Square. Some sidewalks slope to the side, including those on Pernerova Street and at the turn toward the Karlín Barracks. A companion can thus certainly come in handy on this walk.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION


|→ Karlín Square Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius → Křižíkova Street

Karlín is an interesting and diverse neighbourhood with a friendly atmosphere, lively streets, countless café gardens, as well as greenery, which is enhanced by its position at the foot of the wooded Vítkov Hill. Over the past decade, this former Prague suburb has undergone a dynamic rebirth. Numerous conversions of brownfields and industrial complexes with a clear effort to preserve the merits of the original architecture stand for good examples of sensitive urban regeneration. However, there are still shortfalls as to the the accessibility of public transport stops. Two underground stations located there still lack wheelchair access, and the local tram stops are not designed with regard to accessibility either.

Our walk starts at Karlínské náměstí tram stop, which has a partially accessible boarding platform in both directions. Using the adjacent crosswalk with lowered curbs, we reach a large green park graced with a marble fountain and shaded by tall trees. There is also a children‘s playground and accessible public washrooms. The paths are primarily mosaic paved.

From the southwest corner of the park we use another adjusted crosswalk to cross Křižíkova Street to get to a dominant of this neighbourhood, the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius. The construction of the Roman Catholic basilica, built between 1854 and 1863 in a Neo-Gothic style, was sponsored by Emperor Ferdinand V and the widow of his predecessor Empress Caroline Augusta of Bavaria, after whom the whole newly established Prague suburb was named. The portal and church doors alone, complemented with scenes by painter Josef Mánes, indicate that the church is worth visiting – the bright interior is decorated with fine works of art. A ramp on the right side helps us bypass the stairway leading to the main entrance.

From the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius we set out eastwards along Křižíkova Street. Until we reach the intersection with Thámova Street we can choose the left or right sidewalk – both options are good with flat mosaic paving. Both sides of the street also accomodate many cafés with barrier-free access, though many have at least one step at the entrance. From spring to autumn, however, there are many restaurants offering sidewalk seating.

Soon we encounter an interesting building on the right. The designer, Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, renovated the red-brick functionalist Karlín Palace and converted the former industrial hall Corso Karlín, too. Today, both buildings serve as administrativecommercial centres, but it is worth taking a peek inside. Those structures along with several other projects around demonstrate what unique opportunities Karlín offers to contemporary architecture.

Heading on, it is better to take the right sidewalk – it is wide and flat with mosaic pavement and lined with fully grown trees. There are only a few places where you need to watch for a lateral slant.

→ Kaizovy sady → Invalidovna → Lyčkovo Square

From Křižíkova Street we turn left onto Březinova Street, then right onto Petra Slezáka Street. Taking the right-hand sidewalks, we pass renovated apartment houses from the first decades of the 20th century up to the intersection with Urxova Street; the crosswalk has lowered, rather steep, curb and the lane surface is poor. Nevertheless, we continue along the left-hand sidewalk of Urxova Street onto Sokolovská Street, which eventually takes us to another park – Kaizel’s Park (Kaizlovy sady).

This park with a little pond and lush greenery is pretty enough in its own right, but the magnificent Baroque structure of the Invalidovna Building (a veterans‘ home, named after Les Invalides in Paris) makes it exceptional. The extensive complex, designed by illustrious architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, has undergone renovations lately. In 2018, Invalidovna got under the administration of the National Heritage Institute, which is busy restoring it, with public access on weekends. Between 1731–1737 it served to house war veterans. The building was originally designed to accommodate 4000 war veterans with their families, but the ambitious project was never completed fully. Together with the building, a military cemetery was founded here.

Going on, we exit the park onto Křižíkova Street and through the middle of Lyčkovo Square, dominated by a gorgeous Art Nouveau elementary school building, we head onto Sovova Street. Here we encounter the difficult part with uneven terrain. Right at the
beginning we have to cross using a crossing with rough cobblestone pavement with signifi cant gaps between the stones. As we continue along the right-hand sidewalk of Sovova Street, the surface is not good either. The asphalt is damaged in many places and deep puddles form on the sidewalk when raining. At the corner beer garden we can stop and get some refreshement before crossing Březinova Street. Though the sidewalks on both sides have lowered curbs, the road has an uneven surface made of rough cobblestones with a marked decline.

Things get much better at the nearby crossing of Pernerova Street to the recently fi nished Butterfly Complex. The technically and spatially interesting concept of the structure is based on four ellipses connected into two wings with a central atrium. The organic-like nature of the complex is underscored by the green facade and the wooded Vítkov Hill behind it. Not only is the architecture notable, so is the beer from the local small and barrier-free brewery.

→ Pernerova Street → Vítkova Street → Pobřežní Street → Karlínské Square →|

The next part of the route, which leads us along the calm Pernerova Street, offers a chance to admire two sensitively renovated industrial buildings – Machine House and Karlin Hall. On the way we may encounter a lateral incline on sidewalks with asphalt or paved surfaces.

We turn right onto Vítkova Street, from which we can take an interesting detour to the Negrelli Viaduct and Karlín Barracks (Kasárna Karlín). There, as a part of the temporary use before overall renovation, a number of cultural events and alternative projects takes place. The Negrelli Viaduct, a remarkable technical monument from 1850, is the longest railway bridge in Prague the longest railway viaduct in Prague.

We will continue along Vítkova Street on the left-hand sidewalk past another landmark in the Neo-Romanesque style, the Karlín Synagogue, which does not however have wheelchair access.

At its north end, the street is visually closed off by the building of Main Point – a good example of a modern structure with an emphasis on environmentally friendly design. Although Main Point primarily serves as an offi ce building, it is not closed to public. The Kooperativa Gallery with a café on the 1st fl oor is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday.

Taking Pobřežní and U Nádražní lávky streets we get back to the tram stop at Karlínské Square.

Recommended Landmarks on the Route

Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius (Kostel sv. Cyrila a Metoděje)
Karlínské nám., Prague 8, www.farnost–karlin.cz

  • entrance staircase (+7 steps) with three-branch ramp (11% slope, width 100 and 130 cm, length 290 and 180 cm)
  • access through main entrance (double-leaf door: width 2 x 110 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages: minimum width of 80 cm

Karlín Barracks (Kasárna Karlín)
Prvního pluku 20/2, Prague 8, www.kasarnakarlin.cz

  • access through main entrance (double-leaf door: width at least 200 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • rough surface in places due to damaged concrete or paving
  • passages: minimum width of 80 cm
  • barrier-free access only to outdoor attractions and ground-fl oor space (bar)
  • raised ground fl oor and upper levels only accessible by stairs
  • accessible toilet on ground fl oor (door width 90 cm; cabin: width 175 cm, depth 218 cm), steep levelling ramp (slope 26%, length 81 cm) at entrance to sanitary facilities (door width 2 x 54 cm)

Main Point – Kooperativa Gallery
Pobřežní 665/21, Prague 8, www.koop.cz/pojistovna-kooperativa/galerie-kooperativy

  • access by side entrance (single-leaf door: width 90 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages: minimum width of 80 cm
  • exhibition space and café on 3rd floor
  • two lifts (automatic doors width 90 cm; cage: width 110 cm, depth 140 cm)

TOILETS

Public washroom Karlínské Square

  • located in separate building
  • access by ramp (slope 8–9%, width 184 cm, length 215 cm)
  • access through main entrance (single-leaf door: width 90 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • accessible toilet (door width 80 cm; cabin: width min. 198 cm, depth 198 cm) in both women‘s and men‘s sectioni
  • sufficient space next to toilet bowl (width min. 133 cm)
  • toilet bowl equipped with one fixed handrail and one folding handrail

 

Detailed description on accessibility of marked buildings on the route are available at www.pragueaccessibilitymap.eu.

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Contacts

  • Karlín: Savouring the charms of a former suburb-turnedstunner
  • Praha 8- Karlín

Information source: Prague City Tourism