Feminist route

How Czech women changed Prague

A walk with the subtheme of feminism will take you to places associated with women’s emancipation and education in our country. Each stop represents the journey of Czech women toward the right to vote, study, have fun, or generally make decisions about their lives. Discover the stories of feminists, architects, or writers who, with their perseverance, transformed social norms. We can expect a journey from the struggles for women’s rights to modern expressions of political, economic, and social equality.

Open in Google mapsIn cooperation with GENDER STUDIES o.p.s.
Feministicka Trasa Mapa

Info about road

Duration: 1 hour

Number of stops: 8

Lenght: 3,7 km

MHD start: Jiráskovo náměstí

MHD end: Jiráskovo náměstí

Jiřina Šiklová library

Architect: František Jiskra

Year of completion: 1906

The tenement houses on Masaryk Embankment are undoubtedly one of the architectural treasures of Prague. In our case, a beautiful, neo-Gothic-inspired house number 8 is a jewelry box hiding a real treasure. We are talking about a library that boasts the largest collection of feminist and gender literature in Central and Eastern Europe. It was founded in 1992 in the apartment of sociologist, dissident, and founder of the Department of Social Work and Gender Studies, Jiřina Šiklová, when initially it was just her private collection. Over time, the library acquired valuable publications from individual donors, laying the foundation for its future archive. Today, the library offers a diverse range of books and magazines focused on gender stereotypes, discrimination, feminism, gender, and queer studies. It also houses the archive of Eliška Krásnohorská, which provides the public with valuable archival documents from the history of the Czech women’s movement.

Knihovna Jiřiny Šiklové
Masarykovo nábř. 8, 120 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

The Hlahol Association house

Architect: Josef Fanta, František Schlaffer

Year of completion: 1905

An important place on the feminist map of Prague is the Hlahol Association house, which was established as the new headquarters of this mixed choir. The first meeting of active women in the Czech women’s movement, led by Karla Máchová (a Czech politician and writer), occurred here. It was also the first celebration associated with International Women’s Day, then called International Day for Women’s Suffrage. The association house consists of three interconnected parts: tenement houses leading to Masaryk Embankment and Vojtěšská Street, and a connecting neck inserted into the inner block between the two houses. The author of the initial designs was František Schlaffer, a member of Hlahol. However, the construction was ultimately completed by Josef Fanta, who brought together renowned names from that time’s artistic scene. The early Secessionist facade stands out with its sculptural decoration by Josef Pekárek and ornamental patterns by Karel Mottl.

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Most notably, the attention is drawn to the grand arched roof with a painting by Karel L. Klusáček, depicting a group of people listening to a lyre performance. The concert hall unquestionably dominates the interior decoration. The glass roof is complemented by a gallery of paintings by K. L. Klusáček and busts of choir conductors from the Hlahol singing society. A significant part of the decoration is a large lunette named "Czech Song," the last major work of Alfons Mucha.
Spolkový Dům Hlahol
Masarykovo nábř. 16, 110 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

Grammar school Minerva

Architect: Jan Voráček

Year of completion: 1906

In the close vicinity of the Church of St. Adalbert in New Town, you can find the Pštrossova Elementary Art School. Although the unassuming corner building has been used for teaching singing and dancing since the 1990s, its history is most commonly associated with the first girls’ gymnasium in Austria-Hungary, Gymnázium Minerva. Discussions about establishing a public girls’ school with secondary education leading to university education have been ongoing since the early years of the first half of the 19th century. However, the idea took concrete shape in 1890 with the so-called Petition of Czech Women to the Imperial Council, which included attachments on establishing a state girls’ gymnasium and women’s studies at the philosophical and medical faculties. Then, the publication of the Manifesto followed: For Czech Education, and in the same year, education at Minerva was launched, initially only in two rooms in the above building near the Church of St. Adalbert.

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Later, the gymnasium acquired the entire building, but the continued interest of new female students prompted the construction of a new school on Lazarská Street. The gymnasium existed until 1953 when an educational reform abolished all gymnasiums.
Gimnázium Minerva
Pštrossova 15, 110 00 110 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

The birth house of Karolina Světlá

Architect: is not known

Year of completion: renaissance, baroque reconstruction in the 1st quarter of the 18th century

Karolína Světlá was one of the most famous Czech writers and a significant feminist. In her works, she focused on social issues, moral values, and the position of women in society. She wrote several works set in the Prague bourgeois environment. Still, she achieved success mainly with those set in rural areas, where she emphasized the rural people and strong, moral female characters. In 1865, she co-founded the American Ladies’ Club with Vojtěch Náprstek, which became an educational and cultural center for women. With Eliška Krásnohorská, she established the Czech Women’s Production Association in 1871 and led the Women’s Journal for many years. She spent most of her life in Prague on Smečkách Street and later in the house of U Kamenného stolu (at the corner of Karlovo náměstí and Ječná Street).

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Her birth and childhood years, however, are associated with a small three-story house known as U Tří králů or U Bílého preclíku. It was initially a Renaissance terraced house reconstructed into a Baroque style in the early 18th century. After World War II, a memorial plaque commemorating the famous writer was added to the house. The plaque was created by the sculptor Marta Jirásková.
Rodný Dům Karoliny Světlé
Karoliny Světlé 22, 110 00 110 00 Praha 1 – Staré Město

Higher girls’ school

Architect: Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann

Year of completion: 1867

Only in the mid-19th century was women’s education in Bohemia very neglected, and the highest level of girls’ education was in elementary school. The change was brought about by the efforts of progressive Czech national revivalists and female revivalists around Vojtěch Náprstek and Marie Riegrová-Palacká, as well as the year 1861 when the Czechs gained a majority in the city council. In the same year, the establishment of a higher girls’ school under the leadership of Vilém Gabler was approved, who introduced a previously unseen concept of class teachers ensuring discipline among the students. The original three classes of the school initially resided in Jungmannova and Navrátilova Street, but discussions on building their premises began right from the start of teaching in 1863. The project was entrusted to the architect Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann, who created a remarkable piece inspired by the Italian neo-renaissance. At first sight, the three-winged building with a prominently projecting central bay catches the eye with richly profiled decoration, including sgraffito ornamentation according to Josef Scheiwl’s design.

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The majestic entrance hall with a central staircase dominates the interior, leading to the side wings with classrooms. Due to immense interest right from the start, there was a shortage of classrooms, leading the institute to expand into neighboring buildings on Školská Street. Over the following decades, the curriculum expanded, gradually favoring theoretical subjects such as mathematics or natural science over practical "feminine" subjects. Perhaps due to these changes, the school can boast of distinguished alumnae like Ema Destinnová, Bohuslava Kecková, Hana Kvapilová, or Jaroslava Vondráčková.
Vyšší Dívčí škola V Praze
Vodičkova 683/22, 110 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

Association House of the Czech Women’s Club

Architect: Milada Petříková-Pavlíková

Year of completion: 1933

On Ve Smečkách Street, we can find a building created as a symbol of independence and emancipation of Czech women. We are talking about the Association House of the Czech Women’s Club, built at the beginning of the 1930s at the initiative of this feminist-oriented association. To finance the construction, the club members established a cooperative and contributed from their funds and a loan repaid from membership fees. Significant help also came from Senator Františka Plamínková, Alice Masaryková, and the first Czech female architect, Milada Petříková-Pavlíková, who was a member herself and designed the house for the association free of charge. In the early 1930s, a multifunctional functionalist building was thus created with club rooms, a library, a lecture hall, housing for women, and a restaurant. The restaurant was the only place in the house where men were allowed. Otherwise, the spaces were exclusively for female members and other female visitors.

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The entire building is centered around a central atrium, which blends the distinctive octagonal shape of the internal staircase. This staircase runs through the whole structure and is one of the last places where original details have been preserved, including railings made of bent pipes. Even the lecture hall did not escape modifications; after the club's activities were forcibly terminated in 1949, it was adapted for theatrical performances – today, it is home to the renowned Činoherní Club. The rest of the building, formerly serving as a hub for many women's organizations and a base for ladies of the First Republic, now serves as accommodation.
Sídlo Ženského Klubučeského Ve Smečkách
Ve Smečkách 26, 110 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

The birth house of Františka Plamínková (The Black brewery)

Architect: Karel Kotas

Year of completion: 1934

Františka Plamínková, a politician, journalist, teacher, senator, and fighter for women’s equality, was born in 1875 in the house “U Tří vlaštovek.” This significant and often overlooked pioneer of emancipation advocated throughout her life for the abolition of mandatory celibacy for female teachers, the acquisition of women’s suffrage, and the establishment of the Women’s National Council, of which she remained the chairwoman until the end of her life. In 1938, she wrote an open critical letter to Adolf Hitler, for which she eventually paid a price. In 1942, after previous imprisonment and persecution by the Gestapo, on June 30th of the same year, she was shot at the Kobyliska shooting range. The mentioned house, “U Tří vlaštovek,” is no longer found on Charles Square, as it gave way to the construction of a modern functionalist palace designed by architect Karel Kotase. The sternly designed facade of this six-story colossus is mainly clad in travertine.

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The ground floor, separated by a cornice and a darker shade of cladding stone, used to house a restaurant until 2000, reminiscent of the brewing history of the original buildings. Today, only shelves with goods from a local supermarket stand on the ground floor, behind which you can still find the original stained glass windows.
Rodný Dům Františky Plamínkové (Černý Pivovar)
Karlovo nám. 14, 120 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

Czech Women’s Production Association

Architect: Josef Blecha

Year of completion: 1895

One of the key events in the journey of Czech women towards emancipation was the establishment of the Czech Women’s Production Association in 1871. In contrast to other women’s associations such as the American Ladies’ Club, primarily associated with wealthier classes, the Czech Women’s Production Association aimed to reach out to the poorest. Its significant ambition and goal were to improve the fate of women so that they could support themselves, take care of their children, manage money, and not be dependent on men. Under the auspices of the association, a craft and trade school was opened for these women, initially operating in the building of a former elementary school on Spálená Street. Soon, due to unprecedented success and a good financial situation, there were considerations for constructing their own building. During Eliška Krásnohorská being in charge, the association acquired a plot of land in 1894 from the decommissioned St. Wenceslas Prison and approached architect Josef Blecha for the design.

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The newly constructed corner building is built in the style of Neo-Renaissance and besides its rich décor, it is particularly notable for three important details located in the central bay. In semicircular niches between the windows of the first and second floors, there are busts of women representing the presidents of the association: Emílie Bártová, Karolina Světlá, and Eliška Krásnohorská. Above them, there is the name of the Women's Production Association, and at the very top of the triangular pediment, there is the date 1896, indicating the year of the school's opening.
Ženský Výrobní Spolek český 5
Resslova 1940/5, 120 00 Praha 2 – Nové Město

Stops out of the road

We Should Have a Talk

Architect: Praho! project

Year of completion: 2024

What is the role of women in modern Czech society? Should father be the breadwinner and mother be at home with their children? And why do women have less free time than men? These and many other questions are raised by Praho! project with its new realization focused on feminism and gender inequality. After a revitalization of the underpass beneath Fügner Square and the Vychovatelna tram stop, PRAHO! project is moving to the grounds of Prague 5 to revitalize another public space. The installation in the underpass beneath V Zářezu and Radlická streets is called We should have a talk and it focuses on the perception of emancipation, feminism and inclusion. The aim of the project is to liberate these sensitive topics from prejudices and to draw attention to the complexity of the problem and the impact of inequalities that can affect all of us.

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The themes presented in the artistic intervention are divided into several subsections: stereotypes, work, relationships, health, safety, education, time and the city. Praho! project talked about these topics with a number of experts and laymen as well whose testimonies, graphically designed by illustrator Lucie Lučanská, are now a permanent part of the underpass at the Jinonice metro station.
V Zářezu, 158 00 Praha 5

In cooperation with GENDER STUDIES o.p.s.

The feminist route was created in cooperation with Gender Studies, o.p.s. Thank you for the incentive to create the route and all the materials provided. For more information on this topic, follow the website “Women can” created as part of the project From Eliška Krásnohorská to Jiřina Šiklová – in the footsteps of women’s education.

In cooperation with GENDER STUDIES o.p.s.