Prague’s Žofín Island lies in the very centre of the city and thus it has been hugely used for short-term recreation. Traffic noise cannot be heard there so much and grown greenery attracts for sitting down in the summer season. On 27th September 1840 the island was visited by Archduke Franz Karl. On this occasion he was asked for approving name of the island in the honour of his wife Žofie – Žofín Island. The archduke’s written approval dates back on 19th January 1841.
Central building in the island is a restaurant building no. 226, a freely standing two-storied, neo-renaissance building, which was constructed in 1884 based on design by Jindřich Fialka by extension and reconstruction of classicist house from 1830. In course of the years many important political and cultural events, often of patriotic character, took place there. In the island there are two sculptures; that of writer Božena Němcová by Karel Pokorný and of the principal masterpieces by sculptor Ladislav Šaloun, a sculpture called Harmony.
The island is not only connected with the embankment by a short bridge, but also by a white constructivist building of Mánes Association of Creative Artist from 1930, based on designs by arch. Otakar Novotný. There is also the ancient Šítkovská water tower.
As the island is open 24 hours even in the late evening it is possible to watch cruises of illuminated steamers on the river, New-Town weir, Smíchov, Střelecký Island, the Bridge of Jirásek and the Legion Bridge. And you cannot overlook the beautiful illuminated neo-renaissance National Theatre. There are also interesting views of mainly art-nouveau houses on the Embankment of Masaryk. Among them there is a dominant one; that big corner house no. 224 with art-nouveau facade by arch. Jiří Stibral from 1905, with plastic decoration by Ladislav Šaloun. Further in the south in the house line there is Hlahol Society’s apartment house no. 248. The art-nouveau building, from 1905 as well, based on the design by arch. Josef Fanta, spreads through the whole block. Statues on the facade were made by Josef Pekárek, ornamental decoration by Karel Mottl. And there are three memorial tablets in the honour of outstanding choir masters of the Hlahol Society, which was established in 1861. They commemorate Bedřich Smetana, Karel Bendl and Karel Knittl.