Štvanice is an island on the Vltava River between Prague districts of Holešovice, the New Town and Karlín, and is 1,250 m long and 190 m wide. The history of the island dates back to 1118, when it was called the Great Island.
It was also called the Great Venice, since it was surrounded by many smaller islands. Today’s name Štvanice – hunt, chase – is derived from the popular entertainment at the time - dog hunts on animals that were held here at here in the 17th and 18th centuries. There used to be wooden bridges from Těšnov leading to the island. In the mid-19th century and Austrian-Italian railway builder Alois Negrelli built a viaduct for the track Prague – Dresden, which was the second stone bridge across the Vltava River and is still functional today.
In the years 1908 – 12, Hlávkův Bridge was built according to a design by architect Pavel Janák. It connects the New Town with Holešovice past the Štvanice Island. Since the 20th century the island has been a place of sport. The winter Štvanice Stadium was built in 30s – a historically significant hockey stadium, where, in 1947, the Czech national team won the world championship for the first time. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 2011 due to emergency conditions, but it still serves as the major ice skating rink in Prague. In 1986 a modern tennis area was opened.
It has 9 outdoor and 2 indoor courts, central court has the capacity of 8.000 seats and it is the annual place of ATP and WTA tournaments. Moreover, there is the Štvanice skate park, established in 1993, famous not only in the Czech Republic but in the world as well since it hosts prestigious competitions such as the Mystic Sk8 Cup. Every year, about 200 skaters from 25 countries, including the USA, Brazil and Australia come to the Czech Republic to participate in the contest in front of about 10 000 people.