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Jewish Ovens, Ohrada and Pražačka

The natural rock area with a strange name associated perhaps with caves that might have provided shelter during anti-Semitic pogroms, constituted a distant, exotic wilderness for the population of the “original” Žižkov.  However, the sprawling city soon took a great slice of the distance away. Already in 1910, there was a tram terminal by the nearby Schiller Factory, and a depot was established there as well. In 1931, the tram was extended as far as Hrd­lořezy along Poděbradova Avenue. After 1918, Poděbradova Avenue and parallel streets were lined by modern residential buildings which later gave way to small buildings in Jarov and Vackov. The Jewish Ovens were also the last location of the Žižkov gallows – the scaffold. The last execution was performed in 1866.

There used to be a number of poor people’s slums in Žižkov. There were “carriage” and “shack” colonies, sheds made of planks below the top of Jewish Ovens, and there was another group of huts on the bottom of a hole near the Žižkov end of the caps plant boundary wall.  Below the slope in Jeseniova Street, there was a gathering of circus carriages and decommissioned railway carriages. Even in summer 1925, they looked rather sweet with their tiny gardens but as they dilapidated later the whole colony acquired a rather glum look. Another Žižkov colony was situated in Krejcárek, at the terminal of tram no. 13. The wooden huts with gardens provided a home to poor people trying to save every penny (Kreuzer – this probably gave the colony its name). The land was part of the Pražačka estate. In 1922, Václav Stome released the lots for the construction of small houses to help the poor.

The Pražačka Homestead
Pražačka was a part of the thin settlement of today’s Žižkov when it was still an agricultural area. There are records of a vineyard dating back to the 16th century, and a building, later expanded to a farmstead, is mentioned in 1785. From the beginning of the 19th century, the farmstead and large areas of farmland in the was surroundings were owned by the Stome family. In the mid-1860’s, Marie Stomeová, Karel Hartig’s mother-in-law, started selling land lots as construction land. This started rapid building in the area south-east of Pražačka. The continuing construction of new homes as well as new roads ultimately caused the end of Pražačka itself. The farmstead, building no. 10, was demolished in 1947 and is now only commemorated by the street name.

The Ohrada Homestead
Ohrada, which was also associated with a large vineyard, does not exist anymore either. The name Ohrada (Fence) derived probably from the fencing around the vineyard is mentioned already in the 15th century. Nowadays, Ohrada evokes the busy crossing of Koněvova, Jana Želivského and Pod Krejcárkem Streets. The straight line has been in operation since 1910 when the new line along Poděbradova Avenue (today’s Koněvova) to the Vápenka depot opened. The perpendicular line in Mladoňovicova (today’s Jana Želivského) Street has been in operation since 1937. The crossing acquired its typical and distinctive appearance in the early 1930’s – builder Václav Drnec built two rounded corner houses opposite each other then. Trolley buses used to drive here between 1951 and 1966, and there was a two-way turn-around loop which meant trolley buses went both to Vysočany and on to Žižkov (particularly along the long Roháčova Street) towards Slezská Street in Vinohrady. Tram lines to the centre along Koněvova were cancelled in 1977. Ohrada is the beginning of the tram line towards Libeň, which was built on an overpass in 1988–1990.