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Official Review by Shishir Prasad, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Eden Arena, also known as Stadion Eden or Synot- Tip Arena, is perhaps the most modern football stadium in Czech Republic. Located in the capital city of Prague, the stadium is as picturesque, modern and bohemian as the city that it is located in.
The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 21,000 and plays home to SK Slavia Prague and the Czech National Football Team. All of the Czech Republic 2014 World Cup qualifying home games were played in Eden Arena.
The stadium is also used as a venue for concerts and sometimes for sports other than football.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The only aspect of the stadium experience that is disappointing is the food and beverage selection.
In a country that boasts to have some of the best beers in the planet 'Pilsner Urquell', 'Kozel', 'Radegast' and "Budvar' there was none on offer at the Eden Arena.
Fans had to be content with the alcohol free beer that was on offer. Even the people who were serving it were quite amused (or maybe not).
There are food kiosks inside the stadium with very limited and not so great selection on offer. Mainly there are hot dogs, chips, and burgers. With the exception of Pringles, everything else is unappealing. Water and soda are available, but you can't take the bottles inside the stadium and have to pour the contents in a plastic cup which are not large enough.
The stadium does have a McDonald's and a bar onsite, but on a match day without any other decent options available, they are super crowded!
The stadium also boasts of having a 4-star hotel, Exe Iris on its premises with a lobby bar in it.
The stadium is dazzlingly beautiful and modern. The pitch, the team pit and the seating are perfect. There are also big screens in all parts of the stadium where you can catch the game and replays. The PA systems are loud and clear. With a seating capacity of 21,000, this relatively cozy stadium comes alive when it is at full capacity.
The stadium does a great job of organizing the event and providing a great atmosphere for the visiting fans and home supporters alike. The atmosphere is equally electric when the Czech National Team plays there.
In and around the area there is Eden shopping center where there are a few places to eat and drink before and after game.
As a point of interest, Vršovice is also famous for St. Nicholas church which dates back to 1374 and well worth a visit.
SK Slavia Prague was founded in 1892, and they have developed deep roots with their fans. Originally a cycling club, the football squad began play in 1896. The team competes in the Gambrinus Liga, the top level of Czech football. The club has won three league championships, including winning in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009, a good way to open up their tenure at Eden Arena.
Most games, the arena is only half full. Sk Slavia Prague has led the league in attendance only once, their first campaign at Eden Arena when they averaged just under 12,000 fans per contest.
Eden Arena is located in District 10 of Prague in Vršovice which is southeast of the city center. The stadium is easily accessible by bus, train, taxi and tram. For those of you who are adventurous enough it is also quite walkable from the city center (approximately 4 km).
On a game day, if you are not familiar with the roads, avoid driving to stadium. There are multiple detours and roadblocks and the roads around the stadium are extremely crowded and chaotic.
Train (Prague Vršovice station) and tram (lines 4, 7, 22, and 24) are the easiest way to get to and from the stadium and highly recommended. Taxis are available and are generally cheap, but are also infamous for meter rigging, asking for way over metered-fare, and other petty issues. The details of the train can be found here.
Also, if you are planning to carry professional cameras (basically anything with a massive zoom lens) be ready to face some resistance from the stadium security. Small cameras and even DSLR's with 28-50mm lenses are ok. If you are not allowed to take your camera inside, the reception at Exe Iris Hotel is kind enough to hold it for you until the game is over.
The stadium does offer a great experience with its clean modern setup, good seating capacity and a great pitch all of which are key for a great game. Would certainly return to watch the Czech National Team play!
There is a fan store on site which mainly sells SK Slavia merchandise and also event specific merchandise. The merchandise is decently priced and you can buy anything from beer mugs to t-shirts to badges and pins.
There is also a standard Komerční banka cash dispenser onsite which accepts all major bank and credit cards.
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