Prague will host its first Roma center next year

The new institution will be located in a 1930s villa in the Dejvice district of Prague. The building is currently undergoing renovation after a redesign led by progressive architecture studio Adam Rujbr Architects.

The center’s director, Dr. Olga Vlčková, says it will operate as a sub-branch of the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno.

“It should open in autumn 2023. At the moment we are working on the multifunctional room, which will offer a rich program of topics associated with the Roma community.”

The room will be able to accommodate 50 guests and will be located partly underground in order to preserve the gardens of the villa. The interior spaces of the building will also include a cafe and, on the upper floor, an exhibition space of 120 square meters.

Although the villa is undergoing a major overhaul, much of the interior furnishings will remain authentic to its First Republic roots, the architects told Czech radio.

Lety u Písku Holocaust Memorial |  Photo: Jana Šustová, Radio Prague International

In addition to hosting events and exhibitions, the villa will also serve as a Roma community center, where members of the minority can meet, organize various activities and use its library. According to the head of the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno, Jana Horváthová, one of the main objectives of the new center will be to organize debates on cohabitation.

Besides the Roma and Sinti Center in Prague, next year will also see the opening of the Roma Holocaust Memorial in Lety, located near a former Nazi labor camp. Dr. Vlčková says that in a more immediate time horizon, the center also offers other events.

“We are preparing an exhibition which will focus on the Roma Holocaust. I would also like to point out that Prague residents can already visit an exhibition on Romani art called “Phundrado Drom/Open Road” which is taking place at the Ethnographic Museum in Kinský Garden and will be open until next year.

Those interested in celebrating International Roma Day this Friday can also visit the Archa Theater in Prague, where many of the country’s leading Roma musicians will perform under this year’s theme focusing on the proud cultural heritage of the minority.

Berta D. Wells