IN THE HEART OF PRAGUE: THE FAILED CIA MISSION
JON VOIGHT AND A SUNSET IN PRAGUE: PLATNÉŘSKÁ STREET
It is unlikely to imagine a movie, with the main setting in Paris and without a visual admiration toward the Eiffel Tower, the Arc of Triumph, or Notre Dame: one has only to recall ‘Bourne Identity’, another icon-like spy series. In the same manner, the very first movie of the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise wastes no time to bring us to understand the fact that the city of Prague is to become one of the key locations of the story. Followed by a brief prolog in the place, we can now see Jon Voight’s character while crossing a cozy narrow street and entering a building next to the river of Vltava. The most important river of the Czech Republic originates in the 0.5 heights of the mountains of the national park and, by reaching Prague, splits the city into two parts.
This welcoming entry scene grants us a panoramic view over Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad): the largest and the most recognizable fortress in the Czech Republic and one of the most iconic highly appreciated landmarks of Europe. In the course of the last ten centuries, this complex of monumental buildings has been the cultural, historical, and political center of the country, stretching itself lengthwise to the top of the hill on the left bank of Vltava. This incredible opening panorama with Jon Voight among other parts of the Prague castle includes another iconic Czech landmark: St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta, Václava a Vojtěcha). This masterpiece of gothic architecture traces its history from 1344, and the ongoing development lasted six decades until the start of the XX century. Such a long history of construction involved the best masters of Europe and the use of gothic, neo-gothic, renaissance, baroque and rococo. At present, that cathedral with the tombs of the kings of the last six centuries serves as the residency of the archbishop.
In wider means, the opening panoramic view of ‘Mission Impossible’ gives the viewer a clear picture of the exact location of the team’s safehouse in Prague. A place of planning and a later safe haven for Ethan. Platnéřská Street on the right bank of Vltava is considered to be one of the oldest streets in Prague, which connects its main square (former market) Staroměstské náměstí (The old Town square) with the river. It was given its modern name as early as 1870. Centuries ago, merchant ships used this part of the quay to have access to the market square, and today a small boat station of the neighboring ‘For Seasons’ hotels dominates the section of the bank. The hotel is left to the right beyond the scene. Platnéřská Street is home to several important institutions in Prague: the National Library of the Czech Republic, the Municipal Library in Prague, and the New Town Hall. Jon Voight’s character enters a building at Platnéřská 4.
THE EXTERIOR OF THE EMBASSY: LIECHTENSTEIN PALACE
As early as the tenth minute of the movie reveals a high-altitude photo of the part of Prague with one of the buildings named: EMBASSY. Four minutes prior to this shot, we could see the same structure on the screen during the video briefing on the plane. This is the place where the key events of the opening scenes are to happen, thus giving tone not only to the movie but the whole franchise in the future. Liechtenstein Palace, located just next to the waters of the Vltava on its left bank, granted its exteriors to the story in the role of the US embassy. It is recognized as one of the two buildings in Prague, once created as the residencies of the House of Liechtenstein. The family, which traces its history from the XII century and is well-known as the founders of the Kingdom in Europe, once used to acquire estate throughout Europe, including Bohemia, the modern Czech Republic.
Being the oldest preserved example of baroque architecture in Prague, Liechtenstein Palace was transformed into one architectural complex as early as 1620, particularly by being transformed into a hexagon, which leans over the river. In 1791 the palace witnessed the crowning of the King of Bohemia and for the occasion was added with elements of classicism, as well as a huge hall for the coronation. In early XIX the House of Liechtenstein lost the ownership of this palace and since that the palace changed hands several times as well as was reconstructed by adding an additional floor. In the aftermath of WWII, the Liechtenstein Palace was nationalized and since that witnessed another two restructurings: the first one in the 1980s and the second one after the 2002 flood in Prague, six years after the shooting of ‘Mission Impossible’. Nowadays, in the same way as four centuries ago, the palace is used to welcome VIP guests of the city. All while the palace gave no interior shots to the movie, it is worth noting that the old part of the building still has the preserved wooden ceiling and fragments of incrustation from the XVII century.
THE INTERIORS: NATIONAL MUSEUM
Without any doubt, Prague has become brilliant for the first movie with Ethan Hunt, yet the shooting process back in 1996 was far from cloudless. During the pre-production period, the local authorities decided to raise the rent price for the Liechtenstein Palace, which led to the fact that two separate locations were to play a role in a single building. In narrow cinematic means, Liechtenstein Palace granted only its exteriors, while the interior sequence of the ball was filmed within Prague National Museum (Národní Muzeum). A grandiose building with a front side of more than 100 meters in length and 70 meters in height, was built to the East of the city market square between 1885 and 1891. Josef Schulz (1840-1917), one of the most recognized masters of his times, known for his admiration of romantic historicism, was to become its architect.
The National Museum building faces Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí), one of the key squares in Prague. As early as 1995, one year before the shooting of ‘Mission Impossible’ in Prague, the building was included in a list of the cultural monuments of the Czech Republic. To be specific, the National Museum nomination means a complex of buildings with their collections and the most well-known building at Václavské námesti 68, the one from the movie, at present accommodates the collection of the Museum of Natural History as well as a library with 1.3 million books. This building may be appreciated as a Prague movie star due to its frequent appearances in cinema. Back in 2001, the museum played the role of the art gallery in London in one of the scenes of ‘FROM HELL’ with Johnny Depp. Two years later, the nazi march from the ‘HITLER: THE RISE OF EVIL’ in front of it depicted Hitler’s rise to power in Germany on January 30, 1933. In 2004 the interiors of its lobby played the role of the Vatican in ‘EUROTRIP’, and in 2006 the same luxurious lobby was meant as the reception of the Venetian hotel in ‘CASINO ROYALE’.
ETHAN AND SARAH TAKE A FRESH AIR
In the 19th minute of the movie, Ethan (Tom Cruise) and Sarah (Kristin Scott Thomas) leave the building of the US embassy in anticipation of their target. The couple gives the appearance of a lighthearted evening, while the rest of the team is to be killed one by one. The scene was actually filmed next to one of the entrances of the Liechtenstein Palace, just a few meters from the waters of the Vltava and the neighboring quay. Despite the night hours, the far background panorama included the front side of the three-floor neo-renaissance building with frescos: the former water tower. Nowadays it accommodates the Bedřich Smetana Museum, devoted to a famous Czech composer. A few moments later the scene is being dominated by a blue night fog, which was added to the sequence to create more drama and to add some mystery.
JON VOIGHT ON THE CHARLES BRIDGE
Followed by the death of one of the team members (within the elevator shaft), Jon Voight’s character is leaving the safe house at Platnéřská 4 and leads across the river of Vltava. The movie makes no secret of the fact that two buildings (the safe house and the Embassy) are located at arm’s end. In the course of the next few minutes, the movie makes the most of another iconic landmark of Prague: Charles Bridge (Karlův most). The date of laying of the founding stone in 1357 was determined by the astrologers. The bridge, which was to connect two vital parts of the city center of Prague: Malá Strana (The Western bank) with Staré Mesto (the Old Town, the Eastern bank), was built on the site of its foregoer, which had been earlier destroyed by a flood.
Charles Bridge is remarkable not only due to its impressive appearance, a length of 520 meters, a width of 9.5, and a height of 13. The sixteen bridge arches owed their endurance and reliability to a unique mortar mixture with war and boiled eggs, milk, cheese, and even wine. The construction of the bridge lasted for almost half a century until its inauguration in 1402. The Eastern passage to it is being guarded by an impressive gothic-style tower and the Western one with another two. The Charles bridge has become even more recognizable since the addition of thirty sculptures in baroque style, erected length wide on both sides between 1683 and 1714. It is worth mentioning that most of them today are replicas of the later XIX century, while the original statues are displayed in the National Museum. It is hard to imagine a Hollywood movie about Prague without a glimpse of the Charles bridge. Back in 2002, it made its appearance in ‘XXX’ with Vin Diesel. Two years later, the Western part of the bridge played the role of Budapest in ‘VAN HELSING’. In 2018 it gained its few seconds of glory in ‘SPY, WHO DUMPED ME’ and in 2019 made its appearance in ‘SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME’.
Getting back to Jon Voight’s character, he crossed the empty bridge from the West to the East. On the left hand, we could easily notice the quay next to the supposed US embassy, as well as the wooden gate, which would play its important role a few minutes later. After the fall of Jim into the waters of Vltava, we can see Ethan next to one of the statues on the bridge. This particular architectural composition is known as ‘Sv. Vincenc Ferrerský a sv. Prokop’ and it is located next to the Eastern bank of the river, just above the quay, where Sarah is going to die. The statue was erected here back in 1712 and depicts two saints, who tramp the evil spirits as well as the negativists of Christianization in Europe.
ETHAN AND THE KAMPA ISLAND
The next few minutes focused on Ethan Hunt, who is frustratingly moving between the locations in pursuit to save the members of his team. The absolute majority of the opening sequence was shot within the artificial Kampa island, well-recognized far beyond Prague and the Czech Republic. Prior to the XII century, this part of Malá Strana (the Lesser Town) had been no more than a part of the Vltava riverbank. Later, the monks of Hospitallers decided to dig out an artificial canal thus creating an island. The long-run objective of such grandiose construction was clear: to supply a steady flow of water for the purpose of the grinding mills. The artificial canal, which separated the island from the mainland, was later unofficially named ‘Čertovka’ (the wicked woman): according to a legend, it was named in such a way after a Virginian woman, who had been living here and arguing with the monks.
Throughout the first few centuries of its existence, Kampa island was planted with apple and wine gardens. At present, a reminiscence of such a green past may be seen within Kampa park in its southern part. In ‘Bourne Identity’ Matt Damon’s character faced the Swiss policemen here while having asleep on one of the benches in the park, in fact not in Zurich, but in Prague. In virtue of being a home for watermills, for centuries the local population of the Kampa island had been comprised of millers, craftsmen, potters (the site was famous for its annual potter markets), laundry women (they used to wash clothes in the canal), as well as bricklayers and carpenters, the latter were responsible for taking care of the Charles bridge. Liechtenstein Palace, which played an important role in the ‘Mission Impossible’ story, is located on Kampa Island.
The history of the Kampa island is important for understanding the nature of the location, which Ethan Hunt is crossing toward the Charles bridge. Due to the fact that for centuries the artificial island had been a home for a variety of service and trade jobs, as early as the end of the XVI century witnessed the construction of cozy small houses around the created market square. The new trading center of the Kampa island was to become a location for shopping festivals, where citizens of Prague and the travelers could purchase the fruits of the labor of the local craftsmen. In a short scene, Ethan is crossing this very market square known as ‘Na Kampe’ (on the Kampa island). In Fall and Spring, the site is known for trading fresh fruits and vegetables, for hot wine drinks. In the winter months, ‘Na Kampe’ welcomes its guests with a Christmas fair.
The opening sequence was evidently filmed at nighttime: the filming crew stayed away from confronting the crowds of curiosity seekers. More than that, by nature the Czech people usually are not late walkers. Ethan runs up the Charles bridge by means of a massive brick flight of steps. This staircase is a part of the bridge, created in neo-gothic style. For centuries the site had been dominated by wooden stairs until in 1844 the architect Josef Kranner created the grandiose stone pair of steps, preserved until today. From this point, Tom Cruise’s character witnesses the blowing-up of a car with the character of Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė, a British-Lithuanian actress. It is worth noting that the site of the explosion is known as the location of the annual Christmas tree on Kampa island.
The Western part of the Charles bridge is a frequent movie location. In ‘EUROTRIP’ it played both the role of the morning in Amsterdam (seating next to the canal, in fact, Certovka) and Rome with a digitally added panorama over the Coliseum. The same year this bank of the Vltava river was depicted in ‘VAN HELSING’ as Budapest and Danube.
TWO DEAD BODIES AND THE WOODEN DOUBLE-GATE
While Ethan does his running best to get back to Sarah, she is being stabbed to death next to their target. The scene is full of dramatism due to blue fog and cold lightning. This time, Ethan moves not from the direction of the Embassy (Liechtenstein palace): he runs out to the quay next to Charles bridge and finds two dead bodies beneath the wooden gates. In 2019, when I visited the site, these wooden gates looked pretty the same as in 1996: they serve as a portal to the backyard of one of the local hotels and an unobvious passage between the building to ‘Na Kampe’ square. A few seconds later we could see three Prague policemen, who went on shore a few dozens of meters from Ethan, forcing him to climb the gates. In actual terms, beyond the getaway he would find himself within the same market square he had visited a few moments before, with the character of Emmanuelle Béart.
ETHAN HUNT MAKES A PHONE CALL: CHILDREN ISLAND
In the aftermath of Sarah’s death, Ethan makes a decision to find the nearest phone booth to make contact with his CIA superiors. The distance between the previous location within Pampa island and the new one with the prop booth (put here for the purpose of the scene) is about 1 km and Ethan had all means to cover it without a problem and a significant gap in time. Some internet sources claim that the scene was filmed on Dětský Ostrov (Children’s Island) in Prague, which is only half true. The sequence was filmed on the bridge to that island, yet it did not appear in the movie. In total, there are eight picturesque islands on the Vltava in the city limits of Prague. Children’s Island, it gained its modern naming as late as the 1960s with the erection of playgrounds, which are now the dominant feature of the island with its 10 000 square meters of space. Prior to the correction of the river level in Prague, the island had been constantly submerged under the water of Vltava.
All while Dětský Ostrov is left beyond the scene, the movie depicts another artificial plot of land behind the phone booth. With the arrival of Ethan, we could see the magnificent tree, which is still here today. The night scene does not allow us to see Malostranská vodárenská věž (Malostranská Water Tower) behind it. As far back as the XV century, there was an old water mill here with wooden waterworks. As early as 1502 the former erection was dismantled to make space for the wooden water tower, which was destined to be destroyed in the fire. The present tower was constructed between 1582 and 1596 and similar to any water tower of its time, was considered a strategic object of the city infrastructure. Unfortunately, it faced a number of wars and damages, particularly during World war Two. Anyway, at the end of the XX century, it was reconstructed. The Tower is 34 meters in height and apart from the old staircase with a wooden banister, one could take an elevator for one person to reach the top floor. All that is left is to regret that such a building was not depicted in this scene with Tom Cruise.
A MEETING WITH KITTRIDGE: STAROMĚSTSKÉ NÁMĚSTÍ
During a phone call with his superior Kittridge, Ethan (Tom Cruise) gets an order to reach ‘Location green’ in one hour. Akvarium restaurant in the very heart of Prague on the right bank of the river happens to be a safe place for a meeting. We could see the frustrated CIA agent Ethan on his pace crossing the main city square: Staroměstské náměstí. In the course of the last ten centuries since the creation of the very first market here, the location has changed its naming a number of times and gained its present one as late as 1895. For centuries, the local market has played a significant role not only for Prague: the trade routes of Central and Eastern Europe used to cross here. More than that, it has been a place for the events of national importance, such as the crowning procedures toward the Charles Bridge and the Prague castle, the revolutions, and executions. Since XVII the square has been crossed with the Prague meridian (pražský poledník), the one used to define the exact noontime.
The area around the main square has always been characterized by dense urban development: dwelling houses, merchant stores, workshops, churches, and schools. While Ethan is crossing the square, the background reveals one of the most appraised churches in Prague. Kostel svatého Mikuláše’ (St. Nicholas Church) was built as far back as 1739. Already in the late decades of the XVIII century, it was closed according to the order of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, and during the Napoleon times, the church was used as a warehouse for grain and furniture. Later, the local authorities even discussed the possible destruction of the Cathedral, yet it survived and resumed its existence as a holy place after the declaration of Czech independence in 1919. The cathedral is well-known for its splendid acoustics and it serves as a place for orchestra musical performances. The music past is even more interesting concerning the fact that back in 1791 the people of Prague conducted symbolic last respect to Mozart, who had been overwhelmingly more appraised in Prague than in Vienna.
At the moment, when the camera shows us the square as viewed by Ethan, the few viewers come to understand that we have just left Prague for the filming stage at Pinewood movie studios to the West of London. It is important to note, that the filming crew erected not only the AKVARIUM restaurant itself but also the neighboring houses as well. For obvious reasons, the main role of this location meant its showy destruction by means of water, in fact, at least 16 tonnes of water. Followed by a few pilot cuts with a stunt, Tom Cruise volunteered to perform the scene personally, despite the risks of being hurt or even being drowned. Such a remarkable devotion to the process would later become a usual practice for Tom in the ‘Mission Impossible’ series with increasingly more dangerous performances.
Followed by blowing up the restaurant prop and a number of shots from the London stage, we are once again taken back to Staroměstské náměstí square in Prague to witness the tonnes of water. The left part of the scene is once again dominated by St. Nicholas Church and on the right, one could identify Jan Hus Memorial (Pomník Mistra Jana Husa). The grandiose monument devoted to the national hero of the XV century was placed here back in 1915 and it symbolizes the national unity of the Czech people. This brief scene lets us make assumptions in regard to the supposed location of the AKVARIUM restaurant. It is highly likely the Southern part of the square next to its junction with Zelezna street, which is known at least since the XV century. The one building on the square, which was left behind the scene is the Church of Our Lady before Týn (Týnský chrám), the main church in this part of Prague with its 80-meter high gothic peaked towers. In 2004 it played the role of Notre Dame in Paris in one of the scenes from ‘VAN HELSING’.
ETHAN GOES BACK TO A SAFE HOUSE
Followed by two escapes in one night, this time from fellow CIA agents, Ethan makes his way back to the initial meeting point and the safe house, where the team had previously planned the whole mission inside and outside the US embassy in Prague. The location has already made an appearance in the opening shot from Prague: we get back to Platnéřská street, the one, which Jon Voight’s character used to cross, leaving the Prague castle as a background. Now Tom Cruise emerges from the brick staircase, which connects the upper quay with the boat station on the river. It is interesting to remind, that the depicted US embassy, thus the site of intense searching for Ethan Hunt, is just across the river. At present, the building at Platnéřská 4 hosts Girls’ Catholic High School, which offers secondary education.
While Ethan is searching for the answers on the web inside the safe house, the movie reminds us once again that the primary location in the opening sequence is Prague. The altitude panorama of the dawn of the next day covers the left bank of the Vltava, the Charles bridge, as well as the Liechtenstein Palace (the embassy). The shot was highly likely taken from the Bedřich Smetana Museum (Muzeum Bedřicha Smetany) on the right bank, the one which had already been a part of one of the far backgrounds (Sarah and Ethan leave the embassy backdoor and kiss).
GIVING A LIGHT ON THE BENCH: NA PRIKOPE STREET
As a result of lettering with mysterious Max, Ethan gets an invitation to meet with a person, who may give him answers. The email included: ‘corner of Nekazanka and Na Prikopy’. The location is relevant to Prague with one small detail: the proper grammar of the naming is Na Příkopě. There is no bus stop within the corner of Nekazanka and Na Prikope, as well as the bench, was added by the filmmakers for this particular scene. Ethan asks a man on the bench for light and moments later finds himself inside the black automobile on the way to Max. The naming of the main commercial street of Prague ‘Na Příkopě’ could be translated as ‘on the ditch’. Centuries ago there was a ditch here, which had been used as a part of the city fortification system. Over time, the area was favored by numerous craftsmen, who used to run their workshops here within the ditch. Toward the XVI century, the area had become a dangerous and dirty place and the ditch was filled and later planted with trees. As early as 1875 the street witnessed its first horse carriages and in 1899 ‘Na Příkopě’ was electrified. Nowadays the street is appreciated as the heart of the city’s commerce and shopping.
It is impractical to speak about this filming location without paying attention to a distinctive gallery between two buildings, which dominates the background of the street junction. The building within the crossroad of Na Příkopě and Nekazanka was erected as far back as 1911 based on the project of the famous Czech architect Osvald Polívka, as a building of the Land Bank (Zemska) of Prague. In fact, what we see here is a complex of buildings under Polívka. Nekazanka 20 to the left was built earlier in 1896. Building number 18 with a distinctive ‘Bridge of Sighs’, it is known for the decorative front side and the figures on the roof. It is unlikely to stand next to the building and ignore its rich mosaics, which depicted both the rural and urban life of the Czech people.
Later on, the movie takes us to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. For obvious reasons, the interior shots of the location were filmed elsewhere. The corridors were shot inside one of the former government buildings in London and the famous scene inside the vault was recreated at the works of the Pinewood Studios.
A MEETING WITH MAX
THE INTERIOR: GRAND HOTEL EUROPA
To start with the next Mission Impossible movie location in Prague, it is worth noting that it has already appeared earlier in the story. One should recall the scene with Ethan Hunt inside the safe house building while looking up through the magnificent multi-floor staircase: the brief sequence was filmed at Grand Hotel Evropa within Wenceslas square. In 2002 the square would become a part of the ‘BLADE II’ movie in a night scene of the helicopter overflying Prague.
Ethan is being relieved from his mask to start a cat-and-mouse dialogue with a woman, who calls herself Max (Vanessa Redgrave). Similar to the way the US embassy had been depicted earlier, two different locations were used to depict one place. In this context, Grand Hotel Evropa was chosen for the interiors of the Max apartment and for the lobby with the CIA agents. In 2003 the hotel was to play a role in ‘Hitler: The Rise of Evil’ as a place of meeting supposedly in Munich.
The very first hotel in this place was built in 1872, yet as early as 1905 it was to be reconstructed in art nouveau style by a number of famous Czech architects of the time. Throughout the last century, the building has accommodated more than one hotel with the passing of the ownership every few decades. In the years between the two World Wars, the hotel was widely appraised in Europe with its service, gastronomy, and 90 suites. At the same time, it has gained its modern name as late as 1951 after nationalization. Over time, the hotel lost its shine and in 1989 was once again restored. The restaurant on the first floor has preserved the old furniture with incrustation, mirrors, and decorative elements from the early XX century. Already in 2016 the building once again changed its owner and when I visited the location in 2019, it was under another stage of reconstruction.
THE EXTERIOR: MUNICIPAL HOUSE
As a result of Ethan’s effort in sowing doubts, one of Max’s minions leaves the apartment for the balcony. The exterior shot gives us a clear understanding of the last Mission impossible 1996 location in Prague. Municipal House, a huge complex of historical buildings at U Prasne Brany 2, was chosen for the exteriors of Vanessa Redgrave’s character safe house. Back in XIV the area was chosen for the construction of the palace for the Kings of Bohemia, as an alternative for the Prague Castle on the left bank of Vltava. Centuries later, as early as the outbreak of the XX century, the now empty space was chosen for the huge Municipal house with a large concert hall. Osvald Polívka, the architect, who was the author of the complex of buildings at Nekazanka street, was chosen to implement a new urban development. The construction process lasted until 1912 and the new complex of buildings acquired the features of both neo-baroque and neo-renaissance. The greater part of the building today hosts the concert hall named after Bedřich Smetana, a Czech composer, whose museum has been previously mentioned in regard to the banks of Vltava. The Municipal House is famous as a place of declaration of Independence back in 1918.
With the arrival of the CIA agents, we could see one of the main entrances to the Municipal house, from the Western side and U Prasne Brany street. In 2002 the location would play its role in ‘XXX’ with Vin Diesel, depicted as the French restaurant in Prague. As for the distinctive balcony in the previous sequence with the mercenary, it can be found at the Southern part of the Municipal building, next to the crossroad of three streets: U Prasne Brany, Celetna, and Na Prikope. The right part of the shot on the balcony reveals another iconic historical landmark of Prague: the Powder tower. The preserved part of the former royal residence was erected as far back in history as 1475, yet it remained unfinished. Initially, the tower was to become one among the thirteen gates to the old city, but later it was used as a warehouse for gunpowder. After being damaged during the siege of Prague, in the early XIX century the tower was restored in pseudo-gothic style, and years later, in neo-gothic. The tower has a height of 65 meters.
Getting once again to the scene on the balcony, the first altitude panorama reveals Celetna street in the Western direction. The second angle included the Western access to the Municipal building. Apart from being used as one of the locations for ‘XXX’, in 2004, the area next to the building made its appearance in a movie, which I have already mentioned a number of times regarding Prague. In ‘Eurotrip’ a section of U Obecního Domu street further North was depicted as a street in Paris with a remarkable glimpse over the Eiffel tower.
Moments after the participants of a secret meeting leave the apartment, the movie gives us the high altitude panorama over the gallery, which connects the Municipal building and the Powder Tower. The balcony from the previous scene is visible to the left. Max and Ethan leave the area in black Mercedes. The panorama over the Powder tower allows us to identify the exact location of this shot with a car, particularly if we pay attention to the HYBERNSKA inscription to the right. The scene was shot while moving beside the crossroad of Hybernska and Havlickova. In the right part of the shot, we can see the building with an American flag: between 1952 and 1990 this very building accommodated a museum devoted to Vladimir Lenin.