The owner of the houses in Prague, Hradec Králové and the Masaryk’s YMCA camp in Soběšín is a non-profit organization YMCA in the Czech Republic.
YMCA is the oldest (established in 1844 in England), biggest and widest youth organization. It has over 58 millions of members in 119 countries of the world. It seeks a harmonious development of man, his spirit, soul and body (as symbolized by a red equilateral triangle, which YMCA has as its emblem). It is open to all people regardless of race, gender, religion, social status, physical or mental abilities.
More information is to be found at www.ymca.cz www.ymcaeurope.com www.ymca.int
All proceeds from the commercial activities of the YMCA Palace s.r.o. (administrator of all the above mentioned real estates) are used to support working with children and youth, or for the repairs and maintenance of the administered objects.
History of the YMCA Palace in Prague
The challenging architectural ensemble of the YMCA palace in an urbanistically exposed location represents a valuable piece of the 20s modern classicism and one of the architect Eduard Hnilička’s masterpieces. It is a part of the Prague conservation area, which is enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The building, during the construction of which new materials were used, such as reinforced concrete, asphalt, glass fiber reinforced concrete and cork, was built as an accommodation facility. The opening ceremonial took place on the 28th April 1928.
On the first up to the fifth floor there were 170 rooms with a capacity of 300 beds, in the attic there were youth clubhouses, on the roof terrace a playground. In the mezzanine there were offices, cafes, clubhouses, a gym 30x13 m with a running track to a gallery and a changing room, workshops and classrooms. A sidewalk cafe, library, bar, reading room and cloakrooms were located on the ground floor. In the basement there was a spacious dining room, kitchen, swimming bath with a 25x7 m swimming pool, shower baths, a steam bath and a space for massages, in the arcade there were shops and services. There was hot water and heating in the wole building and a perfectly solved air exchange in the meeting and sport facilities. Even nowadays you can get to the upper floors with one of the oldest passenger lifts in the Czech Republic, see paternoster.archii.cz.
Even professor Stanislav Bechyně, similarly to te Lucerna palace, participated on the technological preparation of this reinforced concrete building. The construction of Na Poříčí was carried out by the companies of V. Nekvasil, J. Weigner, J. Štengl and other. The building hosted the YMCA headquarters in ČSR, Prague YMCA, lodging house for single men and a center of activities for physical and mental development of the youth. For the first time the activities of YMCA were interrupted by the World War II.
During the occupation period YMCA was occupied by Germans. In the days of May 1945 the YMCA palace was seriously damaged. Right after the end of the war the American YMCA helped with financial support to restore the house and initiate the YMCA activities. That worked well for the next couple of years, but in 1951 YMCA was abolished for being undesirable and its property in all ČSR was handed over to the Communist Youth. The ÚV ČSTV was then located in the building Na Poříčí. In 1991 the Palace was given back to the restored YMCA in ČR, however in a very miserable condition.
During the whole year 2015 we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the restored activity. An exhibition „Cesta z války“ in the YMCA Palace recalled the beginnings of the Czechoslovak YMCA among the legionaries. A press release about the exhibition was published in various periodicals, including MF Dnes.