Čtyři dny | Four days

A tour of Wenceslas Square
with Václav Hájek

In the footsteps of prostitution in Prague

/ Walk, Festival program 2013
  • Tuesday Nov 26 / 16:00, Palác U Stýblů

Prostitution in Prague and many other European cities has a long tradition dating back at least as far as the Middle Ages. Brothels were marked by a mostly harmonious interaction of diverse social classes, a place where even poor visitors could enjoy a sense of luxury and the idle life. Sex did not play as central a role in the culture of brothels as one might think. Brothels also represented a form of entertainment, a way to spend one’s free time, a place for conversation, personal encounters and social life. Prague traditionally had several centres of prostitution. One popular place to make contact were the cafés on Wenceslaus Square, but the true Mecca of prostitution were the Old Town’s Kamzík Street and its famous Goldschmied brothel, where Franz Kafka occasionally came in search of inspiration. Today, the culture of brothels is in decline due to a lack of legislation and increased societal prejudices. Ve Smečkách Street has something to offer, but it is merely a shadow of prostitution’s past fame and stylishness.

The tour is led by Václav Hájek of Charles University’s Faculty of Humanities, author of the blog www.maly-teoretik.eblog.cz and of the book How to Identify a Garbage Can. Besides brothels, he is also engaged in the study of mass visual culture and the theory of art.

/tour in Czech language/