Steve Gove is the founder and director of the Prague Fringe festival, which has just got underway in the Czech capital for the 15th time. The Scot has been living in the city since 1997 and is an infectiously enthusiastic guide to “his Prague”. Our tour begins at Malostranská Beseda, an historic venue on the main square in the Lesser Quarter that has been the hub of Prague Fringe since the building’s extensive renovation in the 2000s.
Václav Havelka leads the guitar band Please the Trees, whose fourth LP Carp picked up the prestigious Apollo prize for Czech LP of 2015. The Krkonoše-born singer and songwriter also collaborates with lots of other musicians and regularly promotes concerts by major independent artists. Our tour of “Václav Havelka’s Prague” begins in a passageway between the streets Spálená and Opatovická that many residents probably have no idea exists. It’s home to Super Tramp Coffee, a newish café with wonderfully peaceful outdoor seating.
Currently running the arts website Proti šedi (Against the Grey), Jana Kománková has been a well-known figure on the Prague music scene for over two decades. The critic and Radio 1 DJ was born in the city and has lived her whole life in the Žižkov district. But our tour of “Jana Kománková’s Prague” starts in the adjacent neighbourhood of Vinohrady, specifically at the airy and stylish La Boheme café on Sázavská St.
Jan Valenta and Zuzka Daňková run Taste of Prague, a food tour company taking visitors to some of the city’s best cafés and restaurants. The couple also have a very impressive Prague Food Blog offering insider tips on the most happening spots in the Czech capital. Our tour of “their Prague” begins at EMA espresso bar, a cool, modern café just across the street from Masarykovo nádraží train station in the downtown area.
Alex Went is the man behind the Prague Vitruvius, a very impressive and useful website dedicated to the city’s architecture. Indeed, the Englishman, who works as head of communications at Prague College, probably knows a lot more about the Czech capital’s buildings and history than the vast majority of natives. In the first part of our tour of “his Prague”, Went gives me some fascinating into Moskevská St., the main drag in his Vršovice neighbourhood – beginning across the street from the “Rangherka” mansion.
Lukáš Houdek is a man of many activities. The coordinator of the government’s anti-racism Hate Free Culture project, he is also a photographer and curator as well as heading a publishers specialised in Romany literature. Houdek is from furthest West Bohemia and now lives in a village outside the capital. But for many years he called the Smíchov/Prague 5 district home – and it is there we begin our tour of “his Prague” at Cibulka, a rather hidden park.
Marek Hovorka is only based part-time in Prague. The rest of the time he lives in his hometown of Jihlava, where he has been running the Czech Republic’s most important documentary film festival for nearly two decades. When we caught up Hovorka was super busy, putting the finishing touches to the programme before the start of this year’s Jihlava in under a fortnight’s time. So instead of the usual My Prague format of visiting various spots, we discussed his relationship to the city at a café at Letenské náměstí in Prague 7, the district where he
The frontman of Prague band The Prostitutes, Adrian T. Bell this year picked up the Apollo critic’s award for best Czech LP of the year for his solo debut, Different World. The Newcastle-born singer moved to Prague in 1993 and for most of the intervening period has lived just off Jiřího z Poděbrad square in the Vinohrady district. And it is there – beneath the shade of some trees on a sweltering day – that we begin our tour of “Adrian Bell’s Prague”.
TV journalist Nora Fridrichová presents the irreverent political programme 168 hodin (168 Hours), which famously unearthed the video of Václav Klaus pocketing a pen that became an international hit. From Pardubice in East Bohemia, Fridrichová came to the capital to study and today lives in the leafy Troja district. But our tour of “her Prague” begins in Karlín, which like several other districts near the city centre has become increasingly hip in recent years.
For nearly a decade Camille Hunt has been co-running Hunt Kastner, a private Prague gallery that represents leading local artists such as Eva Koťátková and Dominik Lang. In 2013 the gallery moved to Žižkov from the Letná district, which the Canadian-born Hunt has long called home. Our tour of “her Prague” begins with a drink on the terrace of the Letná Chateau, which is adjacent to a beer garden with stunning views of the city.