Smíchov is (since 1909) a district of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and is part of Prague 5. It is located on the west bank of the Vltava (Moldau) river.
Between 1945 and 1989, the district contained a monument dedicated to Soviet tanks in World War II, which was located in Štefánik square. The monument was removed shortly after the Velvet Revolution and a new glass-and-steel building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel became a symbol of the district. An angel (anděl in Czech) from Wim Wenders' movie Wings of Desire is etched into the glass on the façade. The local traffic hub was renamed to Anděl from Moskevská (after Moscow). The Staropramen brewery is located in Smichov.
The Ringhoffer factory, founded in 1852 by railway magnate Baron Franz Ringhoffer (1817-1873) and nationalized after World War II, was part of one of the largest industrial enterprises of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and later of Czechoslovakia). The Ringhoffer Works with more than 30,000 employees played a significant role in central European economy with global relevance, exporting railway carriages, cars ( Tatra) and trucks across the world. The factory in Smíchov produced court trains and famous saloon cars for European rulers and after 1945 trams for the entire Eastern bloc. It was moved to Zličín in the 1990s and is now operated by Siemens. The buildings were demolished and replaced by a hypermarket, two multiplex cinemas, two hotels and several other commercial structures.
After the first world war the company based in Bohemia and Moravia hold strong positions in Czechoslovak heavy metal industries. Under occupation by Nazi Germany the " Ringhoffer-Tatra" concern, consisting of wagon, automobile and electro-technical factories principally in Prague-Smíchov and Studenka (wagon construction), Koprivnice (Tatra-automobiles), Kolin and Ceska Lipa, succeeded in holding together despite attempts of the Hermann-Göring-Werke to absorb it. This struggle required a certain level of cooperation with the authorities of the "Third Reich". Ringhoffer-Tatra was nationalized and dissolved after the liberation and restoration of Czechoslovakia in 1945. The last owner and general manager, Baron Hans (Hanus) Ringhoffer (1885-1946) died one year later in detention, the family was expelled without compensation.
Founder of the firm was the coppersmith and inventor Franz Ringhoffer (1744-1827), native of Müllendorf (nowadays in the Austrian province of Burgenland near the Hungarian border), who arrived in Prague in 1769. He set up his workshop in the Old Town and produced brewery pans besides distillery and agrarian technical equipment. His son Joseph (1785-1847) established a hammer mill in Kamenice and extended the business by adapting it to the manufacture of special products for sugar factories and distilleries. Joseph's son Franz (II) (1817-1873), the first Baron Ringhoffer, obtained by government decree a concession for the manufacture of all categories of metal work and machinery for the whole country. He perceived the opportunity offered by railway development and started in 1852 the production of vehicles in Smichov, where he added an iron-foundry. The Works became the largest rolling-stock factory in the former Austrian Empire and then in Czechoslovakia.
- redirect Smíchov