A few days ago my friend and I had a metro-oriented debate provoked by the name of I.P.Pavlova metro station. A friend of mine happened to move to Prague just a week ago, and not being familiar with Czech language‘s 7 cases yet, he associated Prague’s I.P.Pavlova station with the name of a former Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova (this same friend’s favourite dessert Pavlova was actually named after this Russian ballerina, by the way). However, I’ve been living in Prague long enough to know, that I.P.Pavlov is the name of the Russian (what an irony) physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. The one who researched human reflexes, remember? Nevertheless, this incident made me think it’s not the first time I’ve been wondering, what the names of certain Prague’s metro stations mean. As curiosity has been killing me, I started my own small research and here’s what I’ve found out.
Guide on how to name a metro station
The recipe of how to successfully name a metro station in Prague includes taking the name of the nearest main street / square or area in general and transforming it into a new metro station’s name. At least, this is how Vyšehrad, Pankrác, Budějovická, Chodov and I.P.Pavlova stations’ names were created. Same principal was used for the newest Prague’s A line metro stations: Nemocnice Motol and Nádraží Veleslavín, which names correspond to their location.
Moskevská = Anděl?!
Kosmonautů, Budovatelů, Leninova. Do these names ring a bell? No surprise, these were the former names of Prague’s metro stations before 1989. You can definitely sense the communist era background in these names. One can hardly imagine how confusing it was, when one day, on the 21st of February 1990, most of the stations’ names got changed. Gottwaldova metro station was transformed into Vyšehrad, Budovatelů became Chovov, Moskevská – Anděl metro station in Prague 5. An interesting fact, in Anděl metro station vestibule you can still see a bronze sculpture with a huge sign Moskva-Praha (Moscow-Prague). Another worth-mentioning fact is even metro stations projects were renamed back then. For instance, Invalidovna metro station was originally supposed to be called Hakenova and Českomoravská station should have been named after president Zápotocký.
Past vs. Future
The very last modification of Prague‘s metro map happened in April 2015, when 4 new stations were opened at the green A line. But what should we expect in the future? There have been speculations regarding a completely new metro line built from scratch – metro line D. This project first came to light several years before the Velvet Revolution, and naturally back then it significantly differed from the current project, which has already been approved by Prague’s municipality in 2013. The construction is supposed to start in 2017 with the final stage of the project scheduled for 2022. The current plan is to build this new metro line in two phases. The first stretch of 8 stations would connect the Pankrác station (line C) and Depo Písnice (line D). The second phase of the construction will only be 2 stations, connecting line D with Náměstí Míru station.
Safe travel around Prague
Fortunately, there has been no regime transformation and all the metro stations’ names remain the same. One can easily get familiar with a total of 61 metro stations on 3 metro lines in Prague. All you need to take care of is to get a valid ticket / transport pass to travel around Prague safely. Keep in mind, other means of public transport are highly developed as well, so if you get bored by metro trains, switch to trams or buses instead. Safe and fun travels!