Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fantova Kavarna: Waiting Patiently for Its Closeup

For romantic expatriate culture, many have said that the most wonderful time to come to Prague was when it first opened up to the West. Everything was possible and nothing was certain. I much prefer coming later, when much of romantic Prague has been restored and is ready for us to enjoy.

In the Main Train Station in Prague, known as Hlavni Nadrazi, the government is upgrading the facilities. One glorious corner, currently very much out of the way, is patiently waiting its turn for a return to greatness. Come, let's enjoy it for a moment before the restoration teams come in...

In the Main Train Station in Prague
known as Hlavni Nadrazi,
there is a cafe known
as the Fantova Kavarna.

It must have been a
beautiful cafe in its day.
The stained glass window with city light pouring in

People hustle to their trains underneath the dome
while others relax for a moment
above them in the coffeeshop (Kavarna)

A table for two

October 28, 1918:
Independence Day from
the Austrian-Hungarian Empire
The architect who inspired the name of the Cafe

The rotunda of the Fantova Kavarna
had a separate window for each of the most
popular destinations - like Moscow
Each ceiling shield represents
one of the grand European destinations.

The ceiling is rotting while it waits for restoration
but you can see its former glories
and what it can become again.
Your train has arrived on time
A beautiful city awaits you
The hallway leading to where the
grand railway station restaurant
once bustled with travelers
This glorious old restaurant room
is now full of tables selling secondhand clothes.
What will it be when it's restored?
Your elegant entry to the train platforms
Beautiful fence detail
In some places you really have to
use your imagination to see what's possible

but I have no doubt beauty will return.

This is the Czech Republic
where beauty is created everywhere.


Anonymous said...

Also known as the Wilson Station after Woodrow Wilson who was supportive of the first Czecho-Slovak republic. There is plaque to him on the wall of the passage that passes beneath the Fanta Café.

Karen said...

October 14, 2011 Here's an intriguing update. The Slav Epic may grace the train station. Brilliant idea, simply brilliant!

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