Venue guide: Prague
Friday, 26 April 2013
Article top media content
The near 21,000-capacity Stadion Eden is located close to central Prague, in the suburb of Vrsovice. The newest arena in the Czech Republic offers spectators, who are seated close to the playing surface throughout, a stunning viewing experience. The venue, completed in May 2008, replaced the old Slavia Stadium famous for its main wooden stand dating back to the early 1950s.
Stadion Eden is home to SK Slavia Praha, who celebrated their 120th anniversary in 2012. While Slavia have hosted the likes of LOSC Lille, Hamburger SV and Valencia CF in European competition, the biggest continental matches held here have involved domestic rivals FC Viktoria Plzeň, who played AC Milan and FC Barcelona in their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign of 2011/12. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick when Barça triumphed 4-0 in Prague on matchday four.
The construction of Stadion Eden, where the Czech national team have played three games to date, as a multi-purpose complex started in October 2006 with a ceremonial 'knocking' on the foundation stone. In the opening match, on 7 May 2008, Slavia faced Oxford University AFC, the club's first-ever English opponents in 1899.
The multistorey stadium, built on a site which took its name from a large amusement park called Eden, borders Slavia's training ground and includes 45 VIP boxes, a hotel, restaurants, office space and a fan shop. It has also staged concerts, with Metallica one of the first bands to appear shortly after its inauguration.
There are plenty of delights elsewhere in Prague to enchant supporters. Those wishing to embark on a sightseeing tour may wish to begin at the majestic Prague Castle, former residence of Czech kings and current seat of the president, and continue on to the famous Charles Bridge, commissioned by Emperor Charles IV in 1357.
The Old Town Hall boasts a medieval astronomical clock containing wooden apostle figures which parade on the hour. St Nicolas Church, Týn's Church, Lesser Town, Jewish Town and Loreta are also worth perusing.
Those who have visited the historical centre may like to take in Prague Zoo, in Troja, and the nearby Baroque chateau, or climb Petřín hill, which offers stunning vistas of the city from a small-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower. No trip to Prague would be complete without tasting the local beer, renowned among the best in the world, or sampling Czech delicacies such as pork, cabbage and dumplings (vepřo, knedlo, zelo) or sirloin steak (svíčková).
By air – Václav Havel Airport Prague is 30km, or a half-hour taxi ride, from Stadion Eden. There is a regular bus service to Dejvická and Letňany underground stations, from where you can travel to Strašnická, the nearest stop to Stadion Eden.
By train – Main Station (Hlavní nádraží) houses an underground stop which offers the easiest connection to Strašnická.
By public transport – The Prague underground system presents a fast and reliable service. Travelling to Strašnická and taking tram No22 or 7 for a three-stop journey to Stadion Eden is preferred by many fans.
By road – Prague is well-connected to all neighbouring countries. When coming from Jižní Spojka, take the exit to Vrsovice and continue to U Slavie, the street on which Stadion Eden is situated.
For more information, go to http://www.praha.eu/jnp/en/home/index.html