Strahov is the biggest dormitory in Prague, housing over 4000 students distributed in 10 buildings. To these 10 buildings (or blocks, as they are known), we have to add a hostel (block number 12) and the reception building (block 1). In Strahov, the student environment is as good as it gets. Let’s take a look at why:
These 12 blocks are old 5-story buildings with between 30 to 40 double rooms per floor. Each floor has two kitchens equipped with oven, microwave and a four-spot stove, as well as 2 bathrooms with 3 showers each. Your first thought might be “that’s nearly not enough showers!”, but in our experience, we’ve never had a hard time finding a free shower. On top of this, there are two washing machines per block which might be used 24/7, but here’s a piece of advice – try and use them on weekdays if you don’t want to queue up for one of them on the weekends. Keep in mind that there are, at least, a couple hundreds of people living in a block, on a normal week.
The rooms are nothing fancy. At about 13 square meters, they fit 2 single beds, two desks and two wardrobes – a big one and a smaller one. Again, your first impression might be that of imprisoning yourselves, but the good vibes of the place will kick in as soon as you settle in!
As an exception, block number 8 is a bit newer (both in the inside and the outside), and rooms there are a tad bigger, not to mention that there is a kitchen per every 2 rooms, making the sharing experience way more comfortable.
The most important thing to do once you arrive in Strahov is to get your hands on a fridge as soon as you can. The blocks are not equipped with them, and you need to keep your fresh food somewhere, right? There is a Facebook page to solve this, where you can get second hand fridges of small and medium sizes for a reasonable, student-friendly price. Furthermore, you should not expect any kind of kitchen tool upon your arrival, so get ready to organize a shopping raid in order to acquire pots, pans, cutlery and such utensils.
Each block also sports an extra laundry room, with drying and ironing purposes (again, no equipment) but, in our experience, it is better to dry your clothes in your own room, since you never know when your underwear can disappear from said room!
The dormitory is located atop the Petrin hill, rather close to well-known Prague Castle. The ride to Strahov from the airport is quite easy, as bus lines number 191 goes straight to the complex. Downtown Prague is a bit farther away, taking about 20 minutes by bus, and a bit less by tram.
The closest university is the Technical Faculty, CTU – both bus lines 143 and 149 will take you there in 10 to 15 minutes if traffic conditions are decent. In case you will attend a different university, your commute will take at least one transfer from these bus lines in order to jump in whichever bus, tram or metro will take you to your faculty.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
There are several bars in Strahov, so enjoying a nice Czech beer with friends or that someone special won’t be an issue at all. The most renowned bar is located in block number 1, which is open until 03.00 (3AM) and fashions a huge screen where they televise big sporting events, usually football. This bar also has a games zone where you can play pool (billiard) and darts.
The other bars are located in blocks 7 and 8, and a fourth bar is next to the supermarket, about which you can read more in a few paragraphs.
Even though some of these bars serve easy food such as pizzas or burgers, the best eating place in Strahov is Menza. You can find this Menza place behind blocks 4 and 8, and it is divided in 2 parts. On the left hand side as soon you enter the place, you can find the actual Menza – this means 4-5 different, decent-sized dishes for about 2 euros (you read that right – two euros). On the right hand side you will find the restaurant part, with a fixed menu of about 15 and desserts as well as a smaller daily menu. If you are an ISIC holder, you will be able to get these dishes for less than 100 CZK / 4 EUR. (ISIC is the international student card that most of your universities will offer you, DO say yes and take it, even if you have to pay a bit, trust us when we say that you will get the investment back with a huge extra on top over your Erasmus time!)
On top of all these facilities, Strahov has its own supermarket which sports low prices and all kinds of item you might need – from school supplies to shower gel, not to mention all kinds of food, of course. This place is conveniently named Market, and you can easily find it next to block number 7.
At Market, you can also find alcoholic drinks as well as all the basic products for your daily life. Oh, wait…
Another good feature in Strahov is the hairdressers studio located on Menza’s second floor – you can get a fancy haircut for no more than 5 Euros.
In case you like to stay fit, Strahov will give you no excuses – each block has a small gym in their ground floor. As a typical Strahov exception, block number 2 has a bigger and better equipped gym. You can get your membership for about 30 Euros per semester – cheap!
To wrap it up, we would like to acquaint you with the name Silicon Hill, a group in charge of managing the gym access, the Wi-Fi service all over the complex as well as the rental of the leisure rooms in each block. These rooms are free to rent, but you must book them in advance online. The Wi-Fi has a price tag of 30 euros per semester.
Original by: Asier López y Pedro Méndez
Translated by: Jorge Garnelo