A new cultural center just opened at an old military barracks in Prague.
Kasárna Karlín, or the Karlín Barracks, has been converted into a new cultural center. Located in Prague 8, there is a cafe, gallery, cinema, theater, and music stage all outdoors, in the central garden area.
The center opened Friday, June 23, with events happening all weekend. The large, re-purposed space is utilized to bring people together. Friday night’s inauguration included a film, followed by music and dancing. There were several bars and pop-up beer stands serving drinks at the event.
Trying to create a new public space, Kasárna Karlín is operated by a group of artists. The barracks are still owned by the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic. The artists have signed a three-year lease to use the area.
“We want to create a public space that everyone has access too. We don’t want it to be posh or overpriced,” said Matěj Velek, the production manager of Kasárna Karlín.
Walking in through the gates at night, entering the central area where soldiers used to train, you find yourself in an open courtyard filled with people and surrounded by the five-story, somewhat decrepit army barracks. Your eyes follow up the grey facades of the buildings, eventually meeting the black sky. Music is playing, and people are either standing by the stage dancing or sitting at tables conversing with drinks in their hands. The environment is intimidating, yet exciting. People are lively, and everyone is appreciating the fresh, summer air.
The Ministry of Defense is in the process of beginning renovations on the military barracks, planning to rename the building the Palace of Justice. The Kasárna Karlín will exist as a social and cultural hub until the renovations are completed.
The of the barracks’ construction was completed in 1849 and were in use until 2008. Passing through multiple governments, the barracks have also held multiple names. Originally named the Ferdinand Barracks, the buildings have undergone several name changes. During World War II the barracks were called the Hindenburg Barracks. The barracks have been given its current name because they are located in the Karlín neighborhood of Prague. The barracks are near the Florenc metro station.
Kasárna Karlín is open from 12:00-24:00 Monday through Sunday. The next scheduled event is a screening of Spring Breakers (2012), which will on Thursday, June 29th, at 22:00. The admission cost is 70 CZK, and minimum entrance age is 15. Find out more about the event here.