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Different City Experience

Streets livened up by a neighbourhood festival

The Auto*Mat association has been organising the festival Zažít město jinak (Different City Experience) since 2006. This year it was held on 16 September at 68 places in Prague and in more than 20 other Czech towns and cities. These neighbourhood celebrations provide an opportunity to liven up various places and in particular to bring neighbours closer together. The streets become a stage for concerts, theatre performances, workshops, and children’s plays. There was a lot of good food, people could take part in creative activities or have a look at the fashion and design stands.

The programme of the event for the individual neighbourhoods is prepared by people who live there. The neighbour festival has a different theme every year – previous themes include “Food” and “Sports”. This year’s theme was “Stories from our District” and it introduced stories of heroes as well as ordinary people, present inhabitants, newcomers, foreigners, and also stories of houses and interesting places. People had the opportunity to learn about them through debates, expositions, guided walks, lectures, and screenings – e.g. a short films screening at the Prague 7’s Trade Fair Palace.

Different City Experience is a multicultural event and a lot of foreigners actively participate in its organisation every year. They present their culture through tasty food, dance workshops, music performances, and storytelling. This year we had an opportunity to get closer to Mexico for a while.

La Calle Mexicana

16 September is Mexican Independence Day and that is why there was a lot of celebrating on Americká street. There was a diverse programme from the very beginning. People were able to listen to Latin American music performed by DJ Cesar Chunk or the Mariachi Azteca de Praga band which played and sang famous serenades. The Mexican ambassador Rosaura Leonora Rueda Gutiérrez came to greet people on this festive occasion.

There was Mexican food as well as Mexican drinks. Daniel Ramos, the owner of Agave Partners, prepared drinks which included tequila, mescal, and Mexican rum. Daniel comes from Mexico and he has been living in Prague for 8 years. He thinks that these neighbourhood celebrations represent a great chance to share one’s habits and traditions and to learn about those of other people as well. And that’s precisely what Different City Experience is all about: to meet a lot of interesting people, to share various cultures, to learn new things, and to start cooperating with local people. It is an event which breaks down barriers and prejudice.


An article originally written for the Slovo bulletin issued by the Slovo 21 organisation. Text and photos by Simona Badžová.