The communist régime in the then Czechoslovakia did not do much to ease the life of people with different disabilities, just in the contrary – travelling was one of the things that were not regarded as important for anyone, no matter whether you went just to a lake 30 km from Prague, or to an area along the borders, or even across the borders! There were no facilities neither routes adapted for people with impaired moving, seeing or hearing, just nothing to help them to get through the country and towns… Getting through the streets of Prague – and especially the historical centre – was – unless you had someone to help you – literally impossible.
On the way to improvement
Much has changed since those days (and a lot has been done with the help of different European Union funds and subsidies), but unfortunately there is still a large gap between our country and other European countries in terms of accessibility or easing the moving across the country for people with some kind of impairment. And all those visiting Prague should be aware of some troubles they might encounter when trying to explore the city – whether it is the cobblestone streets, or the lack of tactile signs.
Seeing the historical centre on a wheelchair
It is the Prague´s geographical relief that contributes to the difficulties as well – part of the historical city is located on a hill and its slopes, filled with tiny little curvy streets, old pavements and stairs that simply make it impossible to move along. However, the city representation has made a lot to make it easier for a tourist to make their way through the city – there are platforms for wheelchairs in all major sights and historical buildings, oblique ramps on many crossroads in the city centre, etc. An accessibility map has been issued showing the sights that can be visited on a wheelchair, you can find it here: http://www.mapapristupnosti.cz/en/index.html.
Using the public transport in Prague?
Within the last three decades, much has been done to open the different means of Prague public transport to people on wheelchairs: about 2/3 of all the metro stations have got lifts connecting the platforms with the streets – and vice versa. You can find a simple plan of Prague´s underground stations with facilities for wheelchairs here: https://www.dpp.cz/en/travelling/barrier-free-travelling/status-of-elevators-and-platforms
Many streetcars, as well as many buses are low-floor (the city transport site reports that 70% of all bus transportation is made with those low-floor buses.)
For the streetcars, one in two or three is guaranteed as a low-floor on almost all routes. You can easily check the routes and the actual state and time-tables of low-floor trams here: https://pid.cz/en/find-a-connection/ (the little wheelchair sign means the tram or bus at a given time are operated by a low-floor vehicle.).
Facilities for people with impaired vision
Also people with impaired vision can get through the city much easier today – all crossroads are equipped with the audio sounds, there are tactile dots and lines along many pavements, stations etc., and for those, who lice in Prague, or stay here for longer time, there are special appliances available which inform them – in acoustic signalisation – about the entrance doors to the metro stations, about the numbers of the arriving streetcar etc. More to be found here https://www.sons.cz/.
For short-time visitors
For covering most of the historical Prague, i tis certainly better to stay in the centre: and i tis valid not only for the people with disabilities. There are several really centrally located hotels which make your Prague´s trip enjoyable and most informative, as they are located very close to the main historical sights – and have all the facilities necessary to be able to care for all those who need it. One of them is our hotel – Hotel Rott, situated just 2 minutes walk from the Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock, or the Jewish town of Prague, Charles Bridge etc… Well acquainted with all the particularities of travelling with disabilities, hotel staff makes everything to make your stay comfortable, safe and unforgettable!
The author of the article and the manager of the hotel in one has many years experience with writing texts, she has been working as a free-lance journalist contributing to different Czech daily newspapers and other periodics of all kinds. She has spent a part of her career working as a city guide, and her articles are therefore providing a highly informed insight of a person, who was not only born in Prague, but who has crisscrossed the city streets countless times, has read hundreds pages of literature about Prague, and who constantly strives to contribute to the good reputation of the city from her todays workplace. Hopefully with a success…