A working colony called Budanka grew up at the beginning of the 19th century as a part of a village called Kosire not far from Prag’s walls. Right next to Pilsner‘s trading path, on the spot of an abandoned quarry, from 1800-1840, there were built over twenty houses. Budanka was probably built by local employees of vineyard farm-house Zamecnice, workmen from a local brick factory, stone quarry and by local craftsmen.
There was a flour mill on the Motol’s stream flowing in front of the colony at the very centre of Budanka there used to be a public house of called Brantovna (later U Trunecku). It is possible that the Czech writer Jakub Arbes used to sit in this pub as a customer. He situated two of his novels to Budanka’s area.
The colony stayed as a whole til recent time. Despite the expanding city the colony has reserved its greenery and up-country nature where the local people kept their privilegy of neighbourly living, vegetable growing and domestic animal keeping.
The name origin
It is not known where the name Budanka came from. It may be related with a former manor or with a name of its owner. It could also came from the world „budka“ which is a Czech word for shelter.
Seventies and eighties
Families of two political prisoners hanging around a music band The Plastic People from the Universe bought a house nr.143. One of the family lived here until emmigrating.
Not long after, the Hradilek family bought this house. People from the underground scene gathered here, especially
after the Na klamovce pub’s closing time. Music bands Narodni trida, Pulnoc and Plastic People of the Universe had their studios here.
The modern History of Budanka shows it to be deeply under threat. Rental houses separating the colony from surrounding parts were demolished because of an expansion to the main road to Pilsner. A Flourmill was replaced by a junction, Kosire square was made into a car park, and the Motol stream was led underground. Despite all this, the colony continued to be a quiet place, right by the busy main road.
During the eighties the communist officials started to buy up the houses from their owners. The colony was meant to be demolished, and a tower block to be built. The mostly old house owners, were forced to sell up for very little money. Only a young married couple (Hradilkovi) stayed and refused to seĺl. The house was seized by the regime on the 16th of November 1989. Thanks to political changes they stayed there, and after the Velvet revolution, the house was given back to them.
The conservation area
With the new regime, a new hope for Budanka arose. The place was pronounced a conservation area.
However the original inhabitants haven’t returned to the colony. They were either too old to fight or they lost their
fight. The argument was that they sold their houses for an inadequate amount, because they were pressurized. The
colony was taken over by the City Council of Prague 5.
Budanka started to decay, houses were plundered and the weather conditions had a bad effect. After the eviction of the legendary squat Ladronka, some people moved to the only private house. Again the colony is a refuge for „unadaptable“ people at the edge of society. Thanks to them some of the houses are preserved in habitable state.
From 2002 the existence of the colony was looking bad again.
Although the City Council’s duty, according to the law, is to take care of the houses in the conservation area, it actually works towards the colony’s destruction. During the nineties fires were deliberately started. Then the Council entered into a contract with the development company Geosan Alfa. In 2006 they demolish several houses in the colony. The roofs were taken down from the rest of houses, leaving them vulnerable to weather erosion.
Budanka – present time
In 2006 the City Council rented the colony to the development company Geosan Alfa for 5 CZK/m/y. Straight after the town hall invested over 12 milion CZK in destruction of half of the houses and taking down the roofs from all of them. Geosan Alfa had the duty to propose a project on revitalization of the conservation area until 2007. Non of introduced proposals respected the heritage protection but he lease agreement was extended for an indefinite period.
In 2013 the Council decided to terminate the contract with Geosan and approve a project for reconstraction of the colony. This project doesn’t seem to be very transparent for the public, and it looks like it has been quickly made before the election.
In 2014 and 2015 there has been made some extensive tree and bush cutting, and also several walls where demolished.
Does it mean another missed chance for such a place as Budanka?
Friends of Budanka – civic association
The Friends of Budanka (Přátelé Buďánek) is a civic association of inhabitants of Budanka, its neighbours, supporters and specialist who want to make Budanka lively and natural part of Prague 5 in continuity with its unique spirit.
Contact us for more information.
Přátelé Buďánek, z.s.
address: U Zámečnice 134 , Praha 5, 15000
For photo viewing click here.