Kampa Island – the origin of Prague Venice

Today we will learn about the origin of one of the most sought places which is located close to the Charles Bridge. It is the Kampa Island – a very  popular place for walks. The history of Prague Venice is very interesting so we will find out more about it now.

Kampa Island

Name of the island The Kampa Island  and the Čertovka canal
The Kampa Island is separated from the Lesser Town banks by a branch of the stream of Čertovka. The records related to Kampa from 1169 can be found in the gift certificate of the king Vladislav II. The island got the name Kampa in  the 18th century. It was called according to the owner of a local house Tycho Ganznebe of Kamp. Kampa had been simply called the Island before. It was also familiar as The Island under the bridge or The Lower island in order to distinguish it from the nearby Střelecký island which was called The upper island.

The Kampa Island - Lichtenstein Palace(Lichtenštejnský palác) History of Kampa
The island originated artificially during the construction of the Čertovka canal. The ditch served as a mill-race for three mills which used to stand here. The Prague Lesser Town was affected by a huge fire in 1541 which destroyed a great number of buildings. The fire was followed by another big problem – where to move the ruins of the buildings, bricks, rubble and other remains of the damaged houses. Finally it was decided to bring all the material from the ruined and burnt down houses to the Kampa island because there were no houses at that time. The backfill gradully elevated the island which prevented it from regular floods that used to trouble the island everytime the level of the river Vltava had risen. No big buildings were to be found in the island before the second half of the 16th century. There were just a vast garden and the vineyards there and only fishermen lived here.

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g>PRAGUE  MONUMENTS  CENTRAL

Remarkable personalities related to Kampa The Kampa Island, the Čertovka canal and the mill-wheel
Kampa was connected to the inland part of the Lesser Town by small footbridges. The transfer to the other bank of Vltava was possible with help of ferries. The ferrymen lived there in the house Nr. 134/1 from the second half of the 17th century. Another important house is the house Nr. 501/7. A tannery used to be there which was modified by the count Nostic for the writer and national revivalist Josef Dobrovský who was staying there btw. 1798 – 1803.  Between 1929 – 1940 the art historian Zdeněk Wirth lived here. In 1946 the actor and writer Jan Werich moved into the first floor of the house while the poet Vladimír Holan was occupying the ground floor.

The Kampa island was a residence of another remarkable cultural great artists: the painter Soběslav Hyppolit Pinkas, the remarkable writers Alois Mrštík and Karel Matěj Čapek Chod and of the actors Eduard Kohout and Jiří Voskovec.

Lucie Niebauerová

Address:
Na Kampě 512/11,
110 00 Prague-Malá Strana

Connection:
Tram: 12, 20, 22, 91 Malostranské náměstí
Public transport
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GPS: 50°5’6.225″N, 14°24’30.303″E

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