Monday, 30 November 2009

Charkovská, Vršovice

Sloping cobbled streets lined with period housing are typical of this part of Vršovice. What isn't so typical is their emptiness. The stance of the man about to get into his vehicle says it all. Where are all the cars? Vršovice, unlike Vinohrady, still has unrestricted on-street parking, and normally Charkovská looks more like the image in the thumbnail below which I've edited from Google Street View. The reason for the ghost-town look is simple: street-cleaning is about to take place, and sensible residents have removed their cars before the police do it for them...

Most of the apartment buildings in this street were constructed between 1908 and 1910 for the expanding middle classes (the dates are often beautifully sculpted high up on the walls). The prevailing artistic movement of the time was the so-called Secessionist or Art Nouveau style, and it's evident here in some of the exterior architectural detail, and often inside the buildings too. Under communism, families' living space and conditions were drastically restricted, and houses such as these became neglected and dilapidated. The fall of that system has meant freer movement of capital and many of these buildings, like the yellow one on the left - are being restored or developed.

Even in current economic conditions, new businesses are sprouting up in this area: cafes, interior design centres, saunas and sports shops, to name but a few. There's still a slightly run-down, 'bohemian' feel to this quarter, which one hopes will not be entirely lost with increasing investment and creeping gentrification from Vinohrady, just one street away.


4 comments:

Julie said...

Hello Alex
I have just discovered your blog on the new additions list. I like the aspect of today's photograph of Charkovska street and will follow your blog for a while to learn more about your city.

Julie said...

Me again ...

Just read through more of your posts. In this latest one you give a very inviting description of the street and the area. I wonder if you would care to go into more photographic detail about the buildings re the bohemian feel and how this might be changing. This is happening in my city too.

Tanya said...

Interesting post and love the look of the building fronts. Wow, it is a huge difference when they aren't getting ready to clean the streets!

Kris said...

It's such a lovely looking place! The best holiday I've ever had was spent there!

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