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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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All Aboard the Retro Metro

Published on November 14th, 2013 in Entertainment

  • Metro Driver c.1970s (photo courtesy of metroweb.cz)

  • Too bad disatchers are a thing of the past... (photo courtesy of DPP)

  • 1974 test run of metro (photo courtesy of metroweb.cz)

  • Waiting for metro c.1970s (photo courtesy of metroweb.cz)

  • Náměstí Republiky c. 1970s (photo courtesy of metroweb.cz)

 

There are two ways to experience Prague's historic metro. The first, more involved, of the two is to take the metro tour offered twice a month by the Prague department of transportation. The tour ends with a ride on one of the two remaining original 1970s Soviet-engineered metro carriages, the blueprints for which date to 1890 despite the fact that building didn't start until the 1960s and was interrupted by Moscow in 1973 when its Kremlin-approved carriages were sent to Prague. (These were phased out by 1997.) The trip takes about an hour and shuttles passengers along Prague's metro line C, stopping at points of interest—old signs from nuclear shelters, the massive doors between stations—along the way. I recently joined a tour group leaving from Depot Kačerov. The first half of the two-hour tour, which is conducted entirely in Czech, was spent mostly outside (should you visit during cool weather, dress appropriately). Nevertheless, transport enthusiasts will surely appreciate the general Cold War-era vibe of the train yard and, once inside, the sleeping-giant subway cars lined up in the depot. The metro ride itself was especially fun—the carriage fixtures and furnishings are a primer in Socialist-era design—and featured a conductor dressed in the drab brown uniform of the day, calling out each stop by its communist-era name.

 

Do not forget to bring cash: the last stop on the tour is a funny little “gift shop”, a bakesale-style table displaying books and other memorabilia. I picked up a wonderful mousepad, t-shirt, and postcards with an official stamp to commemorate my visit. Oh, and the second way to catch the retro metro? Check the tour schedule and plan to be on one of the C-line metro platforms as it rambles by! For further information in English, or to bone up before your tour, visit the transportation department's website, the Prague Metro Wiki page, or this wonderful resource for “metrophiles” which features an impressive collection of vintage photos.

 

For a closer look at the Socialist-era metro in action I greatly encourage you to watch this amazingly worthy video! Don’t miss the end – trust me you will regret if you do. Enjoy!

 

Historic Metro Ride

Sliačská 1150/1, Prague 4
hours Two Saturdays a month at 10:00 and 14:00 (next dates are Nov 16 and Dec 12)
tickets 150 CZK (kids under 10 free)
metro C Kačerov
 

Note: Reserve tickets on-line at www.prahatechnicka.cz
 

 

 

 

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