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AT THE SOVA’S MILLS

Lesser town - Prague 1

GPS: 50°5'2.04"N, 14°24'30.96"E

   Prague has numerous islands. Each of them is specific or was given an adjective. If we wanted to mark the Kampa Island in this way, we would have to use the word - the most romantic. There are many versions of origin of the name, but these are mostly mere guesses. Perhaps the most plausible explanation says that name of the island was derived from name of one of the local house owners, Rudolf Tycho Gansgeb of Kamp, the territorial judge and the Prague Castle marshal, who had lived there in the second half of the 17th century.  Officially this named has appeared since around 1770. Appearance of the island was changed the most during 1541-1542, when it was substantially reinforced with building debris, which was largely brought there from the Lesser Town houses after a great fire.
   In Kampa, opposite to the northern tip of the Střelecký Island, in a very prominent point, there is standing a group of buildings no. 503 and 527. These are buildings of the former Sova’s Mills. Their original use was that indicated by the name and they were used for living as well.  Big enemies for the Sova’s Mills, if we omit occasional war events, were two elements, fire and water. The mills burnt down several times and due to their location they were damaged by each big flood. At the time when part of the mills was transferred to steam-drive, great fire burst out there at night of 29th and 30th January 1896. It was the end of the local mill tradition. The damaged buildings were purchased by the city of Prague. These were used for various purposes after having been repaired.
   In 1997 the Prague city council signed a contract to lease them for 99 years with a benefactress and art collector, Meda Mládková. The formed Sova’s Mills were completely reconstructed with use of modern architectonic elements. The Museum of Kampa, a collection of Czech and central-European art, was opened there on 11th September 2003 and it was immediately ranked among the prominent galleries in the Czech Republic.