Article published November 2016 and updated September 2023.
Every now and then we’re catching up on our mission to explore abandoned sites that once represented marvelous examples of contemporary architecture but are now in a dilapidated state.
We call this series
…because visiting those abandoned places feels like traveling back in time.
Our experience shows that the majority of abandoned buildings is located in the countryside and in surroundings which are difficult to access. However, abandoned sites can also be found right in the city.
We have a mysterious obsession for ruins and forgotten places. Fences and locks cannot keep us away from exploring the secrets left behind.
This article features a collection of all the abandoned places in Prague which have crossed our path.
To kick off, let us introduce you the abandoned resort Barrandovské Terasy in Prague. A place that evokes a mysterious atmosphere to those, who are capable of letting their thoughts wander and embracing the spirit of an ancient time.
The modern complex with the lookout tower dates back to 1929, marking a glamorous era for the Czech movie industry. At that time, the Barrandov film studios in the neighborhood were flourishing, attracting famous actors and film makers from all over the country.
The high society used to spend recreational weekends and holidays amongst lush nature, far off the city. Following the ups and downs of history and economy, the appearance of those buildings in the sky began to crumble until there was nothing left but time and nature, taking over what mankind once created.
With the push of Communism, the days of noble dinner parties, once held on the Terraces vanished and got replaced by neglect and isolation.
The hotel as well as the swimming pool below were shut down without knowing what their future would look like.
After a decade of complete desolation, the building was finally returned to the family of Vaclav Havel, the well admired father of the former president of Czech Republic.
However, a construction corporation showed interest in the site and bought it, promising to rebuild it according to the style of Max Urban, who originally designed the Barrandov Terraces as well as the nearby film studio. Unfortunately, construction is already underway and the site no longer seems accessible to visitors.
Travel back in time and enjoy the splendid view of the valley, exposing the Vlatava riverside. If you’re up for a little hike, explore the abandoned swimming pool. In these days the basin is filled with colorful autumn leaves, making it a unique snapshot.
Abandoned House with Panoramic View
Before heading to Barrandov Terraces, we discovered an abandoned house. The floors are partially demolished, so be careful where you step.
On the top floor your courage will be rewarded with a very green view of Prague.
Abandoned railway freight yard at Nakladové Nádraží Žižkov
For a long time the freight station in the district of Žižkov served as a retails and storage space as well as a venue hosting music and arts events. It holds the status of a national cultural monument and thus cannot be torn down or significantly altered. Last year the city announced plans to transform the site into a new neighborhood with living spaces, offices, stores and schools. One part of the complex will accommodate the headquarters of the national film library. The revitalization project will preserve the cultural heritage of this place.
In 2017, we spent a wonderful summer day in this special location, where nature partially took over. There will come a time when these photos will evoke nostalgia. At the latest, when reconstruction is going to alter the look and feel of this place forever.
Vyšehrad Train Station
Despite the poor state of the train station in Vyšehrad we were happy to stumble upon another adventure of urban exploration. We were not able to peek inside as all doors were shut closed. Since the 1960s the train station in the Art Noveau style is not in use anymore. The latest repair attempt dates back to 1990.
After the complex was acquired by a foreign company it was left abandoned until the present day. It is a shame that the city cannot reclaim this precious historical monument and try to save it. The loss of cultural heritage is at stake.
Abandoned building on Petřín Hill
The next time you make your way up to Petřín keep an eye open for some really cool ruins. The building is hidden behind a fence and can be easily missed. Especially in summer when this place is overgrown with shrubs. Nature has reclaimed a big part of the roofless building. It definitely makes for some great photos.
There is a database of empty buildings in Czechia connected to an interactive map. For each registered building you can find information on the date of establishment, as well as an archive containing key information about the development of the building over time. If you spot an abandoned building in Prague, go and check the database for more details.
The name of the building originates from the owner of the site František Xaver Turba, a former royal councilor of the Czech Chamber. In 1756 he laid the foundation for a baroque homestead and additionally rebuilt the vineyard house based on the medieval vineyards that used to flourish in this area.
On top of Petřín lies one of the largest and most bizarre remnants of the Communist era: Stadium Strahov. Built in 1926, it grew to fame during Communist rule, when mass gymnast formations were held as a celebration for the liberation of Czechia from the German perpetrators. Known as the Spartakiada it was watched by millions of people live or on TV.
After the Velvet Revolution, the site became mostly abandoned. The eight football fields are still used by the Prague football team Sparta. In 2003, the complex was proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage, which protects it from investors turning it into another shopping mall or fancy apartment block.
Today, the dilapidated stadium has a spooky post-apocalyptic atmosphere.
The fate of the stadium is yet undecided. When you take the bus and get off at the stadium, you will be captivated by the spirit of a dark past.
Emil Kolben plant – Kolbenova
In the early 19th century the Kolbenova plant in the Vysočany district was one of the leading electrical machinery plants in the country. After studying at the Technical university in Prague, the graduated engineer Emil Kolben went to America where he had the chance to collaborate with some of the most genius engineers of its time, Edison and Tesla.
During this time he was involved in the development of the generator and alternator. However, he decided to return to his home town and establish his own plant.
The ČKD (Českomoravská-Kolben-Daněk) initially produced all kinds of electric motors until the first world war broke out and war supplies were high in demand. With the second world war on the brink, the ČKD was occupied by the perpetrators and continued to be used for armory. Emil Kolben being of Jewish descent lost ownership and sadly did not survive the Holocaust.
Communism followed which brought the nationalization of all private property. During this time, the ČKD became a world leader for trams. The logo can still be seen on trams.
Today, the legendary Tatra T3 is still in use.
The Velvet revolution marked the end of a thriving business. The Kolbenova plant was privatized and lost its wealthiest clients from the former block states. The plant could not withstand the new order and started to decay.
While the area around the factory is undergoing construction in the last years, the Kolbenova plant itself remains untouched. There is a Vietnamese textile depot still in use.
Opposite the site a new district “Nová Praga II” is being developed. Mostly housing units are being put up. It should also become an art district.
The Cibulka (Košířy) homestead dates back to the 14th century. However, it had its greatest peak in the 17th century thanks to the bishop and prince of Passau, Count Leopold Linhart Thun-Hohenstein, who built himself an extravagant residence here. After his death the homestead fell gradually into despair.
Squatters have taken over for a while until they were banned by the police.
In 2021 the complex was acquired by the Vlčkový Family Foundation who announced to transform it into a children’s hospice. Additionally community spaces are planned.
The first project of the reconstruction is a cafe in the gardener’s house which is planned to be finalized in 2023.
During the 2023 Open House Praha event, an annual architectural event in Prague, we had the chance to get a peek of the premises and see some of the progress that has been made since the start of the reconstruction.
It was announced that the hospice will be completed by 2026. The main idea is to provide a retreat for seriously ill children and their families on the outskirts of Prague. The historic estate will be transformed into a modern palliative care facility while being preserved as a monument at the same time.
Deteriorating villas in Bubeneč district
Opposite the Letenská plain, between Letná and Stromovka, you can marvel at a range of historic villas: two of them are in a dilapidated state.
Kočí’s villa on the corner of the street, a neo-Renaissance house from 1906 with a corner bay window, next to it Roškot’s villa, an example of constructivism (functionalism) architecture which originated in Soviet Russia between 1920 and 1930.
There have been plans to tear the villas down and build office buildings and shops however this was not approved by the town hall due to the historical value of the monuments. Apart from the two abandoned villas there are three further villas which are still in use.
As long as there is no final decision whether to preserve the monuments or demolish them, the city needs to ensure the safety of pedestrians and residents.
Located right across the Czech National Gallery in Holešovice district you can find an abandoned building which is revived by artworks from street artists.
The Karlín barracks, which used to belong to the Ministry of Defense, have been partially revived. The five-storied buildings are mostly abandoned from the inside. However some sections have been turned into art galleries, pop-up food stores and a cultural outdoor venue. If you want to explore more, we have featured Karlín barracks in our 14 Unique places to enjoy summer in Prague.
Natural park Košíře-Motol
Taking a walk through the park Košíře-Motol we came across an abandoned building with an open roof and wall ruins. The interior space was completely taken over by nature.
It is located not far away from the old military bunker, bunkr protiletecké obrany Prahy. We could not find the original purpose of this building but it seems that it could be part of a former military areal.
Stay tuned until our next Urbex adventure.