This year, the Prague Exhibition Centre together with the Industrial Palace celebrates 130 years since its opening.
When architect Bedřich Münzberg was tasked with building the Industrial Palace, he wanted to take the traditional bricks and plasterwork approach. But his plans were thwarted by the young architects who had just come back from Paris, brimming with ideas. In 1889 Paris hosted the World Fair, and there they had just seen the impressive Eiffel Tower for the first time.
This was such an inspiration that they badgered Münzberg to implement a similar concept. And that’s how the building came to be a half-iron, half traditional construction. This was quite unprecedented at the time.
Grand opening in 1891
The Prague Exhibition Centre construction itself was certainly not plain and simple. It had to contend with a tragic flood and workers’ strikes. Despite these obstacles, it finally opened its doors in 1891.
This event was preceded by the Jubilee Territorial Exhibition, which was very much a success. More than 2 million people came to see it, with some celebrities of the time making sure they would be there, too – for example, Prince Jiří Lobkowicz and Archduke Karel Ludvík.
The Jubilee Exhibition became a landmark moment on the cultural scene at the time, presaging a series of other important events, thanks to which Prague 7 became the Trade Fair centre of the city.
Since its opening, the Prague Exhibition Centre has seen some good and some bad times (such as the fire that caused huge damage in the western part of the palace in 2008). Despite all this, it is now a popular venue for various cultural, entertainment, and social events – including Prague Harley Days, the Prague Ice Cream Festival, the Metronome music festival, and many others.
The Industrial Palace complex has also come to life through a whole range of leisure activities. Visitors can enjoy a barbecue area, a spacious picnic meadow, or a fun rope-trail adventure playground.
The sports-minded will be sure to welcome the fitness zone, cycling park, or swimming pool. The possibilities are pretty well endless.
Among other things, you will find some popular tourist attractions, including the Lapidarium (Sculpture exhibits) of the National Museum, the Marold Panorama or the Sea World marine aquarium.
The Exhibition Grounds celebrate their 130th anniversary this year and have produced an original gift to the city – the grand opening of Expolab – a venue for hybrid events.
The Exhibition Grounds team are making their response to the Coronavirus pandemic, refocusing on the online world that has become an alternative way of organizing cultural events. The premises of the Industrial Palace will thus be available for regular and online events, in which people will be able to take part from anywhere in the world.
Participants can look forward to video-mapping, virtual settings and holographic transmissions, bringing a wholly unparalleled experience.
Thanks to these innovations, the monumental Holešovice venue is no longer just a historical, but also a modern technological landmark of today’s Prague.