Vozová 1567/8: The North Pole

Vozová, Prague

To reach the North Pole became a worldwide obsession in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The American Robert Peary’s arrival there on 6 April 1909 made international headlines, and could well be the explanation for the unusual name of this town-house: ‘U Severní Točny’ (‘The North Pole’)*

The house was built according to a design by the prolific architect Josef Pospíšil in art nouveau style: its applied decoration and the delicate tracery of its balconies are its oustanding features.

*That said, as every Czech patriot knows, it was actually the polymathic and endlessly heroic Jára Cimrman who got there first (well, almost…) What is certain is that in 1928 the physicist František Běhounek became the first real-life Czech to make the hazardous attempt, as one of a twenty-strong team on board Umberto Nobile’s airship Italia.  The expedition ended in disaster when the airship crashed into the ice. Běhounek was one of only nine survivors.