Modern covered passages appeared in European cities as early as the second half of the 19th century. The most famous are in Milan, Brussels, London, Vienna and Paris. Their original purpose was to create a space for the purchase of goods, various services, cafes and restaurants where visitors would be protected from bad weather. Originally, these were exclusively covered streets or extended gateways to palaces.
The golden era of covered passages began in the first half of the 20th century. Many beautiful passages were created in the Czech capital, especially in the area around Wenceslas Square and adjacent streets, and also in an area of streets and squares around the Old Town of Prague, where the former fortifications were replaced by luxury shopping avenues.
Important architects of the time, such as Osvald Polívka, Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár, Oldřich Tyl, Ludvík Kysela and others, took part in projecting these passages. Unfortunately, many covered passages did not survive until today and have either disappeared completely or are in a derelict state waiting for their reconstruction. On the contrary, some brand-new passages were built after several decades. The ‘Phenomenon of Prague Passages’ exhibition will allow you to visit these places via photographs and get to know what the passages of Prague looked like in the past and where their future lies.
The exhibition is open until the 20th of November 2020 in the Gallery on the seventh floor of the Securitas Palace at Vodičkova 18, Prague 1. Opening times are Mondays and Wednesdays from 8am to 6pm.