Get acquainted with the CITY TOWER and become familiar, in brief, with the history of the Pankrác Plains as well as with the present appearance of the location and the building.
From the plains to the sky
Pankrác has been settled since primaeval times. Prehistoric people lived there in the Neolithic times, which is evidenced by archaeological finds of stone tools, ceramics and bronze objects.
St. Pankrác Church at Krušina
How did Pankrác get its name? The locality was named after St. Pankrác Church in the old-time municipality of Krušina, which dates roughly from 1100. Later on the church was rebuilt in the Gothic style and a medieval village with fields, meadows, gardens, orchards and hop-fields arose around it and the adjacent graveyard. This village was part of the Vyšehrad vassalage.
Settlements give way to vineyards
One of the most important provincial paths has led across the Pankrác Plains since ancient times. This path continues to the ford on the Sázava River close to Jílové and farther to Bechyně and Linz. The cadastre of the municipality is created by the villages of Krušina, Psáry and Nusle. The first two villages perish later on, due to the development of vineyards in the 13th century.
The Swedes besiege Prague, the locals tear down the church
After the Battle of the White Mountain, the patronage over the church passes to the Jesuit College of St. Clement. During the siege of Prague by the Swedes the local people tear down the church and the vineyard residence for strategic reasons so that they cannot serve to the enemy.
The Jesuits renew the church – it becomes a gun powder depot
Midway through the 17th century, the Jesuits partially renew the church (its old masonry), in its present early Baroque style. For military reasons, however, no civil structures are built in front of the Vyšehrad fortress, including the locality of the church. In 1786, the church is even deconsecrated and serves as a gun powder depot.
As late as 1818 the deconsecration is cancelled and the church begins to serve to its original purpose again.
Pankrác outskirts – an ideal place for a penitentiary
In the period about 1820, only a church, pub and two houses are on the Pankrác Plains. 20 years later, there are just 15 houses more there. The area does not develop too much.
As it was a locality free of any building activities, a penitentiary was built there between 1885 and 1889. In 1939, it was rebuilt and the whole locality comes alive. On the vast levelled Pankrác Plains a modern residential area grows rapidly. The Old Pankrác gradually declines.
Greater Prague and 6 years of stagnation
On January 1, 1922, the outskirts are united with the Capital and Greater Prague arises. Pankrác continues its development. Rows of not higher than four-storeyed apartment houses are built in open blocks. However, there are no plans for the creation of a local centre.
The vast Pankrác Plains are utilized as a goods station. At the edge of the Pankrác Plains, large colonies of detached houses arise in times of the First Republic. During the Second World War there was a ban on construction and a 6-year period of building stagnation follows.
Boom of the Pankrác Plains
In the middle of the 1950s, large social programmes were adopted and house building experiences a boom that was without parallel in Prague till that time. In 1947, the residential complex at Zelená liška is finished. 9 years later, six groups of renowned Prague architects take part in a large competition for the adoption of the urban conception of the Pankrác Plains.
Nusle Bridge and metro line C
The building development of the area is fostered, among other things, by interconnecting the Pankrác district with Prague’s centre through Nusle Bridge, at the bottom part of which metro line C is led.
By 1963, the largest housing estate of the then Prague was built at Pankrác. The original idea was to build it of brick, however, it is a housing estate formed of prefabricated houses in the end.
The first skyscraper – Motokov with a height of 104 metres
In 1972, the builders finish the 1st stage of the official building of Czech Television. 5 years later, a 104-metre high rise building of Motokov Foreign Trade Enterprise is built on the Pankrác Plains. Since 2005, when it was completely reconstructed, its name has been CITY EMPIRIA. The original building of Motokov was designed by architects Zdeněk Kuna, Zdeněk Stupka, Oliver-Honke Houfek, Milan Valenta and Jaroslav Zdražil.
24-storeyed Panorama Hotel
The second high rise building in the locality is a 24-storeyed prism made of cast reinforced concrete designed by architects Alois Semela and Vlad Alujevich – Panorama Hotel, which was finished in 1983, now Corinthia Panorama Hotel.
A long story of the ČRO building
The construction of the third high rise building and at the same time the highest building on the Pankrác Plains and in the Czech Republic too begins before 1989. After being finished, Pankrác is dominated by a 109-metre building of the Czechoslovak Radio by the architects belonging to the group of František Šmolík and Spojprojekt Company.
The original project started from steel load-carrying structures, but subsequently it was modified and the building began to be built of prefabricated parts. When, however, the 2nd overground floor was reached, this modification proved to be unsatisfactory. That’s why a new project was developed in cooperation with the Czech University of Technology. However, in this phase efforts to finish the high rise building of the Czechoslovak Radio failed – because of the split of Czechoslovakia and different needs of the Czechoslovak Radio. The building thus only acquired a jacket. In 1992, the construction is stopped and the unfinished building falls into disrepair.
2000: Richard Meier designs the CITY TOWER
The owners of the high rise building gradually change. As late as 2005, when it is owned by ECM Company, a large reconstruction starts. However, 5 years before the world-famous architect Richard Meier joins the project and leaves his significant mark on the Pankrác Plains. In 2008, after dozens of years of construction and numerous interruptions, the highest building of the Czech Republic is finished and is given the name CITY TOWER.
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