If you look over the panorama of Prague from the Old Town, you will see a picturesque old building standing near the river Vltava, to the left of the Charles Bridge. This is Sova’s Mills, situated on 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
The oldest mill in Prague probably stood at the site of the present Sova´s Mills in the Middle Ages. There were many mills on Kampa Island at the time, and they changed their names according to their owners many times.
Vaclav Sova of Liboslav, the late alderman of Prague, gained a desolate area of the present mills in 1478 and built a house, mills, sawmill and other workplaces. 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 17th century. The originally Gothic Sova´s Mills were then modified in the Renaissance style and later rebuilt several times, especially in the 19th century. The Mills were often threatened by fires and floods, with the last big fire occurring in 1896. The demolished building then became the possession of the City of Prague.
The idea to make it into a gallery emerged between World War I and II, but it wasn’t realised until recently. The Sova´s Mills were rebuilt to house a unique collection of modern art, collected by Meda Mladkova. She got to know Frantisek Kupka personally in Paris in the 1950s and recognised his importance for abstract art. She then bought many of his works and the 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, but it was finally completed in 2003. An artefact in the shape of a huge glass cube was installed in the building, and a symbol of the Museum Kampa, a 6-metres-high wooden chair, was placed in front of the house.