Stroll through Pilsen for street art
For many years, Pilsen was shrouded in a grey coat of totalitarian buildings and industrial factories, which led many a Pilsen native to gloomy thoughts. However, all this has changed in recent years. The historical centre has undergone renovations and once unwelcoming places have gained a unique atmosphere thanks to the festival of street art, Wallz. This festival breathed a new and more colourful life into many of Pilsen’s streets. Today, the city shines thanks to the talented artists from all over the world, who transformed at least some of these formally abandoned locations with their graffiti and murals. Let’s take a look at a few of them here.
Coffee and cake with a view of Titans
Don’t worry. You haven’t found yourself in mythical Greece but at Pilsen’s river embankment, which was created to liven up the banks of Radbuza River. The paintings of Titans were created as part of the celebratory opening of the Náplavka embankment by artists Obras and Akrobad, whose other works you’ll find both in Pilsen and elsewhere. But if you’re coming straight here, then you can enjoy the artistic duo’s Titans painting with a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or a slice of cake from the adjacent café Šálek a Špunt. And if you want to see more similar artwork, you can simply set off on a stroll along the embankment, which is also home to various events, including music, art, and the beloved street food, in the spring and summer months. Also in summer, Náplavka offers a nice place to sit and relax, where you can lay your head down, close your eyes, and listen to the hum of the river.
Who are Obras and Akrobad?
This artistic pair who met while studying at the university in Pilsen and have worked together ever since, essentially paints with the same brush. Their signature is the combining of colours, mural art, and graffiti. Their work blends industrial elements, motifs of the city, and what it’s like to live in that place. Akrobad is distinguished for deploying the abstraction and deformation of writing, while Obras leans more towards comic-book elements. Akrobad is also the author of the newest collection of souvenirs, which can be purchased at the Visit Pilsen Tourist Information Centres or online.
Portrait of Václav Havel at Mill Race park
Surely anyone who knows Pilsen like the back of their hand has noticed the picture of Václav Havel, which appeared on the wall of the current guesthouse, seemingly growing out of the pond. This image is meant to represent Havel’s well-known motto “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred”. The artist responsible is the UWB Faculty of Art and Design student Tereza Fialová. She created the image using small hearts, which we all attribute to Havel in some way. If you like modern art combined with street art, then you can stop by here and also use it as an opportunity to order something sweet at café Strouha. The café even has a terrace with a perfect view over Mill Race. The café is only open during the warm season from April to October, however, the To-Go window is open during the winter months.
A paradise for creative souls – DEPO2015
Since 2015, the former transportation hub has served as a sort of “city square of art and culture” in Pilsen. All year long here you can see multiple street art pieces whether directly in the building or somewhere nearby. Inside DEPO2015, you’ll find the observation tower by Čestmír Suška and the booklet of the band Jananas. Different events are also held here throughout the year, including street food markets and various festivals. Temporary exhibitions, whether from UWB Faculty of Art and Design students or freelance artists, also appear here sporadically. And the café and many designer boutiques open year round are a plus, not to mention the connected bike path, which leads straight to the city centre
Observation tour at DEPO2015
The meshed observation tower, standing 15 metres tall and made of discarded steel cisterns, was created by sculptor Čestmír Suška. It first appeared in the courtyard at DEPO2015 as part of the event Restart in 2015, when Pilsen was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. The designer’s goal was to allow visitors to see into the old bus hall and facilities. The tower succeeds in this but also provides a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in the country.
The Thinker at Paluba Hamburk
Right next to the Pilsen Railway Station and not long ago, a new gateway to the city was erected, known as Paluba Hamburk. Here you’ll find stands with food, an Information Centre, as well as an observation tower. From the top you’ll discover a view over the hustle and bustle of the railway station but also the city centre and the unusual statue The Thinker. This piece was placed near Paluba Hamburk during the 2022 Wallz festival and it was created by Michal Trpák, who was inspired by the problems of today’s society and nature. The statue is a revision of famous sculptor Auguste Rodin’s work of the same name: The Thinker.
Symbol of love and acceptance
Two embracing figures have recently appeared on the façade of a home on Korandova Street in Pilsen’s broader city centre. The author is one of the most prolific Lithuanian artists, Tadas Šimkus. He created it during the Wallz festival in 2022 as a representation of the city Kaunas, which was selected as the European Capital of Culture that same year. The work is called Acceptance and it represents our constant need and desire for love and understanding. Both figures are a play of colours, thus creating a feeling of peace. Their colourfulness brightened up the area and breathed a bit of harmony into it. The artist’s goal was to make the painting as simple as possible while also bearing a multi-coloured symbolism.
Brush or cement?
The artist Pavel Dušek created an art piece for Pilsen worthy of your attention. That’s because his work is reminiscent of classic paintings, but then upon closer inspection, we discover it’s actually cement reliefs. It’s so convincing, that Pavel managed to fool more than a few passers-by. The art piece’s goal was to represent street art that flows as much as possible with city life. You can see one of his works in the very heart of Pilsen on Sedláčkova Street. The relief can be found right on the façade of the university café Družba.