Municipal House

The Prague Municipal House is a national cultural landmark. The building belongs among the most significant Art Nouveau buildings in Prague. It is located in the very centre of Prague, not far from the Vltava River and the Old Town Square.

The Municipal House is, and since the very beginning always has been, a multifunctional building. The halls and lounges are used for conventions and conferences, but also for concerts, balls and fashion shows. The House underwent a deep restoration in the years 1994 - 1997.

The Municipal House is adjacent the Powder Gate, a unique fragment of Prague's Old Town fortifications dating from the Gothic period. Czech King Wenceslas IV. decided in the late 14th century to establish his residence in this area, named King's Court. The Habsburgs who began their reign in Bohemia in 1526 were no longer interested in the King's Court and left the former royal residence unoccupied. After several changes in the ownership and character of use of the building, in late 19th century the building became a military academy. In the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the complex was torn down.

The former King's Court plot was proposed for the creation of a centre for Czech official and social undertakings and - in 1903 - an architectural competition took place. The Prague City Council commissioned the architects Professor Antonín Balsanek and Osvald Polívka for the project. In the summer of 1905 the construction works begun. Some of the sections were put into use as early as 1909-1910 while the entire building was officially opened on 22 November, 1912.
The building was equipped with all the modern facilities of the time, including central heating and ventilation, drinking and utility water supply system, suction removal of dust, cooling of the cellar, ice making, electrical as well as hydraulic elevators, steam powered laundry, laundry drying room, bottle washing facility, transformer station, accumulator station, tube post and an intercom network. Later, the Municipal House has undergone several partial reconstructions. The latest thorough renovation took place between 1994 and 1997.

The Municipal House is one of the most remarkable constructions of Prague Art Nouveau, with wide range of decorative styles and materials and high quality of craftsmanship. The monumental appearance of the building is crowned by the outstanding decor created by most of the prominent Czech artists of that time - the painters Mikolas Ales, Vaclav Jansa, Alfons Mucha, Jakub Obrovský, Jan Preisler, Josef Wenig, Karel Spillar, Max Svabinský, Josef Ullman, Frantisek Zenísek, and the sculptors Josef Maratka, Josef Vaclav Myslbek, Karel Novak, Ladislav Saloun, Frantisek Uprka, Bohumil Kafka and Cenek Vosmík.

For detailed information on the history and design of the Prague Municipal House please visit the website of the Municipal House, with nice photographs.

This information is based on the Prague Municipal House website.