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Komenského Square and the first Žižkov School

In 1872 and 1873, a generous Neo-Renaissance school building was constructed in the southern part of Komenského Square to finally absorb the ever-increasing numbers of children in the rapidly developing town. It was Žižkov’s first modern school. It was initiated by the Žižkov citizens’ association headed by Karel Hartig. His construction office completed the building in a relatively short time to the design Hartig made himself and on a land lot originally owned by him, too. His sand quarry and brick factory opposite the construction site proved to be useful as well. The first pupils enjoyed the classrooms in November 1873. The final completion of the building, i.e. extension by another wing in 1881, was the work of the master mason František Saller. The building could fortunately be saved from demolition within the blanket razing of this part of Žižkov in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the school has been used for its purpose to this day.  

November 2, 1873 was the climax of the Festival of Dedication of the Žižkov Schools. The festival was attended by the Sokols, not just from Žižkov, and Vinohrady Council members. The parade went through the Husova and Poděbradova Avenues and was welcomed at Komenského Square by Karel Hartig himself. Historian Miloslav Mikota wrote about it: The year 1865 when Hartig completed the regulatory plan is considered the year when Žižkov was founded, as documented by the inscription on the bell in the Komenskeho Square School turret: To celebrate St. Wenceslas, patron of the Czech nation, A.D. 1873 in the eight year after Žižkov was founded, donated by Žižkov citizens to the first school. Karel Hartig was originally from Sedlčany and obtained his education in the nearby Příbram where he qualified as a mason. He passed his exams in 1854 and became a certified builder. His career continued in Linz, Vienna and Prague where he was involved in the construction of the Joseph Barracks in today’s Ná­městí Republiky. His license for construction work was approved by the Prague Magistrate in April 1861.

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