Sovovy mlyny – Let´s visit the oldest mills of Prague

Pha1 - Sovovy mlýny011

Our today´s learning about interesting landmarks of the city of Prague will take us to Prague islands of the Old Town. For our next excursion we have chosen the noted Sovovy mlýny (Sova´s Mills), a very popular tourist attraction and frequently visited place. Let´s visit the very first Prague mill right now.

Sovovy mlýny (Sova´s Mills) – panorama picture
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Sovovy mlyny

How did it all begin? Sovovy Mlýny (eng: Sova´s Mills)
Based on the extant historical sources the mills date back to the 14th century. However, from this period the first references and records come, but the historians assume that the mills are much older. Originally, they belonged to property of St. George´s monastery. The Hussite wars were very bad time because the building was affected by great fire and burnt down completely. At the end of the 15th century Václav Sova of Liběves took care of their reconstruction. So the new building apparently had to carry the preserver´s name.

The mills were originally constructed in Gothic style but they were reconstructed in the Renaissance period. Some more remarkable reconstructions were performed in 1862 and in 1867. In this time the mill courtyard was rebuilt and newly a Neo-Gothic two-storeyed residential wing was constructed. The new owner František Odkolek introduced steam in the mill, after the American fashion. In oder to fulfil his vision he had to build a high chimney.


Sovovy Mlýny (eng: Sova´s Mills) Unpleasant historical moments
The first already mentioned fire was not the the last by far. Some of the mills caught fire also in the 16th century and it resulted in revolutionary decision to remake the mills of stone. There were even more hard knocks – another devastation of the landmark took place as a result of the siege of Prague by the Swedes in the 1740´s.



The 18th century was a period of great changes and reconstructions and the new owner arranged complete modernization of the machine part and also entire reconstruction of the building, this time in Neo-Gothic style. The fire which affected the mill in 1896 had immense consequences. The building was so badly damaged that it was impossible to restore the operation of the mill again. The burnt down remains of the building became the property of the community. The front part of the mill on the river side was pulled down in 1920 and the residential building became the place of Československá akademie věd (Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences). A reconstruction started here in 1998 which was meant to turn the mills into a modern art gallery.

Lucie Niebauerová

U Sovových mlýnů 2/503
Praha 1 – Malá Strana (Prague 1 – Lesser Town)
Kampa (Kampa Island)

GPS: 50° 5′ 0.99″N, 14° 24′ 31.59″E

Tram – 6, 8, 22, 57, 58, 59 – Újezd

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