Renovation work begins at Prague’s main station
Prague’s main station, Hlavní nádraží, is getting a facelift. In the first stage of a complete reconstruction, two glittering new shops have opened in the station’s entrance hall. The developers are calling the stores a first step in the hub’s transformation from a grotty and dangerous interchange into a ‘shopping mecca’. But there’s still a way to go:
Hlavní nádraží has built up a reputation for dirt, prostitution, drugs and petty theft. Rats run about in the park in front of the station – nicknamed ‘Sherwood Forest’ by locals for the high chance you have there of being robbed.
All this sounds a far cry from the ‘trade and services mecca’ that the station’s new developers want to create. But work is underway to transform the station into an inviting place to shop, eat and travel from.
“The shop has been open since Tuesday, at some times of day we have quite a lot of customers, but there are quiet times too.”
But what about those perusing books in-store? Are they impressed by the station’s new shops?
“Well, I am interested in Star-Trek books, so I am here looking for sci-fi.”
And are you going to buy something here today, do you think, or are you just waiting for a train?
“Well, I was looking to see whether there were any new books in the collection, but there aren’t. I have all of the star-trek books in Czech, so I don’t need any more. We are waiting for a train which leaves in half an hour, so we are killing some time here.”
So, it seems that people are not making a bee-line for Prague’s main station as a shopping-venue just yet. But the new shops which have appeared are offering travelers a pleasant place to wait for their train, and stock up on some holiday reading in the process. More shops are set to join them at the beginning of next year.
Photos: Kristýna Maková