If you look over Prague panorama from the Old Town, you will see a picturesque old building standing near the river Vltava, to the left of the Charles Bridge. It is the Sova´s Mills, situated on the Kampa Island. A remarkable collection of modern art, especially of Frantisek Kupka, is exhibited inside: it is called “Museum Kampa”.
History of Sova´s Mills
Probably the oldest mill in Prague stood at the place of the present Sova´s Mills in the middle ages. There were many mills on the Kampa Island at the time and they changed their names according to their owners many times.
Vaclav Sova of Liboslav, the later alderman of Prague, gained a desolate area of the present mills in 1478 and built a house, mills, a sawmill and other workplaces there. His descendants enlarged the complex and built the still existing main building with typical gables.
Swedish troops cannonaded the Old Town of Prague from this place during the Thirty Years´ War in the 17 th century. The originally Gothic Sova´s Mills were then modified in Renaissance style and later rebuilt several times, especially in the 19 th century. They were often threatened by fires and floods. The latest big fire came in 1896 and the demolished building then became a possession of the City of Prague.
Museum Kampa – modern art collections
The idea to make it a gallery emerged already between the World War I. and II., but it wasn´t realized until recently. The Sova´s Mills were rebuilt for a unique collection of modern art, collected by Meda Mladkova. She got to know Frantisek Kupka personally in Paris in 1950s and she recognized his importance for the abstract art. She then bought a lot of his works, and also works of Jiri Kolar and sculptor Otto Gutfreund. She eventually donated the collection to the City of Prague.
The reconstruction of the Sova´s Mills for the gallery “Museum Kampa” was delayed by destructive floods in 2002 and it was finally finished in 2003. An artefact in a shape of a huge glass cube was installed on the building. A symbol of the Museum Kampa, a 6-metres-high wooden chair, is placed in front of the house.