Wenceslas IV founded this residence known as the “Royal Court” in 1383 on the site of the present Municipal house. King Wenceslas IV started using it in 1383. His successors also resided here until 1483 when king Vladislav II Jagiello decided to move back to the Prague Castle. Later, the archbishop‘s seminary was situated here. The building has served many different purposes through the centuries – there used to be barracks till 1869, after which a military academy was established here.
Construction Of The Building
However in 1903 the Royal Court was torn down. The memorandum by the Prague Civic Society to use the former King’s Court plot as a site for the construction of an outstanding and representative building for the Czech kingdom’s capital was submitted to the Town Hall authorities in 1901. The architects Osvald Polívka and Antonín Balšánek were entrusted with the construction works. They both served as much as artistic coordinators as designers. The construction began in 1905 and the building was opened in 1912.
Art Nouveau Architecture
The Municipal House is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Nouveau architecture. At the time of its creation the style was criticized by some architects. The house was well equipped with all the modern facilities of the time, including central heating and ventilation, steam-powered laundry, laundry drying room, bottle washing facility, transformer station, accumulator station, drinking and utility water supply system, suction removal of dust, cooling of the cellar, ice making, electrical as well as hydraulic elevators, tube post and an intercom network. The Municipal House contains numerous beautiful halls and rooms.
The interior of the house is decorated with the most prominent work of famous Czech artists from the first decade of the 20th century. The most beautiful and well known throughout the world is the Smetana Hall, one of the main concert halls in Prague which has become famous for its fabulous glass dome as well as its elegance. The interior of the hall is dominated by the chandeliers above the stage and balcony which were originally equipped with arched lamps made by F. Krizik which were later replaced by replicas made to designs from photographs taken in 1912. The hall has on its front side a stage lined with two stuccoed groups of sculptures made by L. Saloun which represent Vysehrad and Slavonic dances. The ceiling and wall frescos depict the allegories of Music, Dance, Poetry and Drama and were created by K. Spillar. The most important concerts of the classical music festival, Prague Spring, take place in the Smetana hall.
Important Historical Events
The Municipal House has already hosted several important historical events such as the proclamation of the independence of Czechoslovak Republic on October 28, 1918 as well as the meetings between the Civic Forum and the communist regime in November 1989. It also hosts some of the best classical concerts in Prague, there are many regular exhibitions, and you will also find the first-class Francouzska Restaurant.
If you want to sleep few minutes from the Municipal House, book one of our cosy private double rooms!