Kotva was built between 1970 and 1975 designed by Czech architects, and a married couple, Věra Machoninová and Vladimír Machonin. It was constructed by a Swedish company which was very unusual that time. Its ground plan consists of many interconnected hexagons.
Kotva has five above-ground floors connected by ten escalators in total (two shafts, each with five flights) and roughly the same number of underground floors serving as garages and a supermarket. When opened – in 1975 – Kotva’s retail area amounted to 22,160 m², 2000 employees were supposed to serve 75,000 customers a day. After opening Kotva became the largest department store in the then Czechoslovakia and a trip to Prague to visit the store was for long time one of the main attractions for Prague’s visitors.
Until 1990's the store offered all types of goods almost equally. Later, however, its focus changed to clothing and fashion goods. Until 1987 KOTVA belonged in PRIOR department stores group. It became independent in 1988 and in January 1989 Kotva was granted a status of a state-owned enterprise. On 1st January 1994 Kotva, joint-stock company was established and all tangible and intangible property of the state-owned enterprise passed to the newly-emerged entity.
In 2007 Rostislav Švácha, architecture historian, proposed the building to be designated cultural monument since it at the top level represents the Czech architecture of early 1970's and its visual and structural concept distinctively incorporates several post-war worldwide architectural trends. Similar character can be seen in Frank Lloyd Wright's pre-war architecture.
Thanks to tradition, good name, pleasant atmosphere, strategic address in the centre of Prague, and well done refurbishment Kotva retained its fresh style and elegance even after 35 years of operation. Its a place in the centre of the capital where you can find both traditional Czech brands and products of well respected international manufacturers – be it fashion goods, accessories, cosmetics, or even electronics. Kotva’s specificity lies in open-plan retail areas that make orientation easy and facilitate access for persons with prams or physical disability.