The National Museum (Czech: Národní muzeum) is a government institution intended to systematically establish, prepare and publicly exhibit natural scientific and historical collections. It was founded in 1818 by Kašpar Maria Šternberg. Historian František Palacký was also strongly involved. The National Museum houses almost 14 million items from the area of natural history, history, arts, music, and librarianship - located in dozens of buildings.
The National Gallery is the government institution for the display of artistic creation in the Czech Republic. It consists of many departments which each focus on a different aspect of art. The collection of pre-19th-century art is divided between:
- Convent of St. Agnes - contains Medieval art
- Šternberský Palace - dedicated to the Old Masters of Western European art
- Schwarzenberský Palace - focuses on works from the Renaissance to the Baroque created in the Czech Lands
- St. George's Convent - the main center for the display of Czech art from the 19th century
- The Moravian Gallery in Brno - the second largest art gallery in the Czech Republic. Its collection of modern art focuses particularly on the works of artists from the Czech Lands, both fine art and performance art.
Science Museums: National Technical Museum, Kbely Aviation Museum, National Museum of Agriculture, Stefanik Observatory, Prague Planetarium, Petrinska Hvezdarna.
Children's Museums: National Film Museum, Kralovstvi Zeleznic, Dum Vlacku, Rici Marionettes.
Art Museums: National Gallery in Prague (St. George's Convent), Mucha Museum, Mucha's Slav Epic Museum, St. George's Basilica, Sternberg Palace, Museum Kampa, Gallery of Art Prague, National Gallery (Salm Palace), Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (Galerie Rudolfinum), Prague Galerie Cesty ke světlu, House of the Black Madonna, Josef Sudek Gallery, The Václav Špála Gallery.
History Museums: The City of Prague Museum, Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, Strahov Monastery, Lapidarium, The Powder Tower, Charles Bridge Museum, Lesser Town Bridge Tower, Museum of Communism, Rosenberg Palace, Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, House of the Black Madonna, Franz Kafka Museum, Antonín Dvořák Museum, Bedřich Smetana Museum, Bertramka: Mozart Museum, Bertramka Museum, Gallery Spectrum z.u., Muzeum Kouzlo starych casu, Trabant Museum Praha Motol, National Zemedelske Museum, Náprstek Museum, Maisel Synagogue, Jewish Museum, Jewish Ceremonial Hall, and of course the Museum of Historical Chamber Pots and Toilets.
Military Museums: Czech Police Museum, Army Museum Zizkov, Mihulka Powder Tower, Kbely Aviation Museum, Cold War Museum, National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror, Stara Aerovka.
Specialty Museums: If you feel adventurous, you will also find various themed museums around Prague city center including: Czech Beer Museum, Choco Story Chocolate Museum, The Grevin Wax Museum, Museum of Alchemy, Museum of Music, Baby Jesus Museum, Czech Hockey Hall of Fame, Kingdom of Railways, Old Wastewater Treatment Plant, Prague Ghosts & Legends Museum, Museum of Communism, KGB Museum, Museum of Medieval Torture, Museum of Sex Machines, Museum of Love, Museum of Miniatures, Coffee Museum, Gingerbread Museum, Toy Museum, Lego Museum, and the Apple Museum.
The founding of the National Museum should be seen in the context of the times, where after the French Revolution, royal and private collections of art, science, and culture were being made available to the public. The beginnings of the museum can be seen as far back as 1796, when the private Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts was founded by Count Casper Sternberk-Manderschied and a group of other prominent nobles. The avowed purpose of the society was "the renewed promotion of art and taste", and during the time of Joseph II, it would be adamantly opposed to the King. In 1800 the group founded the Academy of Fine Arts, which would train students in progressive forms of art and history.
National Museum Exhibits in Prague
National Museum (Main Building)
The Building is closed for reconstruction.
Václavské náměstí 68, 115 79 Praha 1
National Museum (New Building)
Vinohradská 1, 110 00 Praha 1
Náprstek Museum of Asian, African, and American Culture
Betlémské náměstí 1, 110 00 Praha 1
Czech Museum of Music
Karmelitská 2/4, 118 00 Praha 1
Bedřich Smetana Museum
Novotného lávka 1, 110 00 Praha 1
Antonín Dvořák Museum
Ke Karlovu 20, 120 00 Praha 2
Lapidary of the National Museum
Výstaviště 422, 170 00 Praha 7
Ethnographic Museum of the National Museum
Kinsky Folly, Kinského zahrada 98, 150 00 Praha 5
National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill
U Památníku 1900, 130 00 Praha 3
Jaroslav Ježek Memorial (The Blue Room)
Kaprova 10, 110 00 Praha 1
František Palacký and František Ladislav Rieger Memorial
Palackého 7, Praha 1
National Museum Exhibits in Czech Republic
(NOT in Prague...)
Antonín Dvořák Memorial in Nelahozeves
č. p. 12, 277 51 Nelahozeves by Kralupy nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
Bedřich Smetana Memorial in Jabkenice
294 45 Jabkenice, Czech Republic
Josef Suk Memorial in Křečovice
č. p. 3, 257 56 Křečovice u Sedlčan, Czech Republic
Museum of Czech Puppets & Circus in Prachatice
Velké náměstí 43, 383 01 Prachatice, Czech Republic
Vrchotovy Janovice Chateau
257 53 Vrchotovy Janovice, Czech Republic
History of The National Museum in Prague
The National Museum in Prague was founded on April 15, 1818, with the first president of the Society of the Patriotic Museum being named Count Sternberk, who would serve as the trustee and operator of the museum. Early on, the focus of the museum was on natural sciences, partially because Count Sternberk was a botanist, mineralogist, and eminent phytopaleontologist, but also because of the natural science slant of the times, as perpetrated by Emperor Joseph II of Austria.
The museum was originally located in the Sternberg Palace but it was soon apparent that this was too small to hold the museum's collections. The museum relocated to the Nostitz Palace but this was also found to be of insufficient capacity, which led to the decision to construct a new building for the museum in Wenceslas Square.
The museum did not become interested in the acquisition of historical objects until the 1830s and 40s, when Romanticism became prevalent, and the institution of the museum was increasingly seen as a center for Czech nationalism. Serving as historian and secretary of the National Museum in 1841, Frantisek Palacky would try to balance natural science and history, as he described in his Treatise of 1841. It was a difficult task, however, and it would not be until nearly a century later until the National Museum’s historical treasures equaled its collection of natural science artifacts.
However, the importance of the museum was not in its focus, but rather that it signaled, and indeed helped bring about, an intellectual shift in Prague. The Bohemian nobility had, until this time, been prominent, indeed dominant, both politically and fiscally in scholarly and scientific groups. However, the National Museum was created to serve all the inhabitants of the land, lifting the stranglehold the nobility had had on knowledge. This was further accelerated by the historian Frantisek Palacky, who in 1827 suggested that the museum publish separate journals in German and Czech. Previously, the vast majority of scholarly journals were written in German, but within a few years the German journal had ceased publication, while the Czech journal continued for more than a century.
In 1949, the national government took over the museum, and spelled out its role and leadership in the Museum and Galleries Act of 1959. In May 1964, the Museum was turned into an organization of five professionally autonomous components: the Museum of Natural Science, the Historical Museum, the Naprstek Museum of Asia, African, and American Cultures, the National Museum Library, the Central Office of Museology. A sixth autonomous unit, the Museum of Czech Music, was established in 1976.
National Museum: Lapidarium (1905)
Lapidarium is a part of the National Museum in Prague, Czech Republic. It was opened in 1905. It has been located in a summer palace on the exhibition area Výstaviště in Prague 7 - Holešovice. It houses valuable stone sculptures dating from the 11th to the 20th century. The museum has a collection of around 2000 artefacts, 420 of which are on permanent display in eight halls of approximative area of 1500 square meters. In 1995, the Lapidarium was named one of the 10 most beautiful museum exhibitions in Europe.
The oldest Romanic fragments from the crypt of St. Vitus basilica of the Prague Castle are dated to the late 11th century. Romanic stove tiles decorated with reliefs of lion, gryphon, sphinx or emperor Nero. Eight tombstones with engraved figures of abbots well as various architectonical fragments of 11th to 13th century originate from the Benedictine abbey Ostrov (Insula), founded in 999 near Prague.
Six original gothic statues from the Charles Bridge Tower (Emperoro Charles IV, his son King Wenceslas IV, patron saints Vitus, Adalbert of Prague, Sigismundus and a lion can be seen here.
The Krocin's water fountain from Old Town square was moved here between 1911-1914. Several tombstones come from destroyed Prague cemeteries.
Seven original baroque groups of statues include the largest monuments: Ecstase of sainte Ludgardis, made by Matthias Bernard Braun, and The Apotheose of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Ferdinand Brokoff, which fell into the river in 1890 and was never recovered.
Fragments of five statues made by Johann Georg Bendl for the Old Town Square in Prague in 1650 after the idea of Emperor Ferdinand III (Maria Victoria) and destroyed by anarchists in 1918.
It houses the first statue of the Bohemian patron saint Wenceslas, made by Johann Georg Bendl in 1680 for the Horse Market (later Wenceslas Square).
Roccocco is represented before all by a set of allegorical statues from the garden of a summer palace America projected by Kilian Igna Dienzenhofer. Statues made by Ignac Platzer originate from the Palais Kinsky in Prague. Models of statues show decoration of the historical building of the National Museum (round 1891).
Monuments of the Austrian emperors Franciscus I. and Franz Joseph I. were cast from brass for public spaces, as well as the monument of mareschall J.V. Radetzky. Busts of Franz Joseph I. and his wife, Elisabeth (called Sisi) of white marble sculpted by Antonin Wagner in 1891 come from Pantheon of the National Museum.
Czech Museum of Music
Prague is a city steeped in musical history, a tradition documented in the The Czech Museum of Music based in the baroque former Church of Saint Mary Magdalane. The museum allows visitors in free from 2-6:PM on the first Thursday of each month.
Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral (929)
The Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral (Czech: Svatovítský poklad) is a collection of ecclesiastical treasures of the Prague Cathedral and is in the property of Prague Cathedral Chapter. It is the largest church treasury in the Czech Republic and one of the most extensive in Europe. The Treasure contains more than 400 items, 139 from them have been displayed since 2012 in a new exhibition in the Chapel of the Holy Rood in Prague Castle.
The Treasury includes many holy relics and reliquaries. Famous are the Sword of Saint Wenceslas or Coronation Cross of Bohemia. One of the oldest items in the Treasury is a relic of the Arm of Saint Vitus, acquired by Czech Duke Wenceslas (Saint) in 929 from German king Henry the Fowler. Duke Wenceslas built a new church to preserve this relic in honor of Saint Vitus – today St. Vitus Cathedral. The Cathedral and its treasury was richly donated by many rulers, e. g. by Emperor Charles IV or King Vladislaus II.
St. George's Convent (973)
The Convent of Saint George was a Benedictine convent located in the Prague Castle in the Czech Republic. Founded in 973, the convent was next to the seat of ecclesiastical and state power in Bohemia and occasionally the entire Holy Roman Empire, and played an important historical role. Although no longer active, the convent's building and the attached Bascilica dedicated to Saint George still exist and the building houses the Czech National Gallery's collection of 19th-century Bohemian art.
National Gallery in Prague (1796)
The National Gallery in Prague (Czech: Národní galerie v Praze) is a state-owned art gallery in Prague, which manages the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic. The collections of the gallery are not housed in a single building, but are presented in a number of historic structures within the city of Prague, as well as other places. The largest of the gallery sites is the Veletržní Palác, which houses the National Gallery's collection of modern art. It is one the largest museums in Central Europe.
The history of the National Gallery dates back to the end of the 18th century (namely February 5, 1796), when a group of prominent representatives of Bohemia patriotic aristocracy (Kolowrat, Sternberg, Nostitz) and Enlightened middle-class intellectuals decided to elevate what they called the "debased artistic taste" of the local population. The institution, which received the title Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts, established the Academy of Fine Arts and the Picture Gallery. In 1918 the Picture Gallery became a central collection of newly formed Czechoslovakia.
In 1995 a new gallery dedicated to modern art opened in the refurbished Veletržní Palác (Trade-fair Palace). It is one of the first and largest functionalism building in Prague, built in 1925-1928.
St. George's Convent (Hradčany) was formerly used to display Art of the Middle Ages in Bohemia and Central Europe, Baroque art, and 19th-century art of Bohemia.
The international collection includes numerous works by artists such as Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, Gauguin, Cézanne, Renoir, Schiele, Munch, Miró and Klimt; many of these are donations from the collection of art historian Vincenc Kramář.
Picasso, who has a spacious room to himself in the gallery, has two self-portraits there, and two of his nudes in addition to more abstract work. Works by Rodin, whose exhibition in Prague in the early 20th century had a profound impact on Czech sculpture for many years afterwards, include a series of busts and full-sized figure on a variety of subjects in the gallery.
The vast collection contains a large number of Czech and Slovak paintings and sculptures, including works by Alfons Mucha, Otto Gutfreund, František Kupka, Rudolf Fila, Vincenc Beneš and Bohumil Kubišta. Along with the Black Madonna House and the Museum Kampa, the Trade fair palace collection is one of the most notable collections of Czech Cubism in Prague. Notable works include Don Quixote by Gutfreund, Military Funeral by Beneš, an array of paintings by Kupka, covering almost all of the styles with which he experimented and the Slav Epic, a cycle of 20 large canvases by Mucha.
The National Technical Museum (Czech: Národní technické muzeum) (NTM) in Prague is the largest institution dedicated to preserving information and artifacts related to the history of technology in the Czech Republic. The museum was founded in 1908 and has been in its current location (adjacent to Letná Park) since 1941.
The museum has large exhibits representing approximately 15% of its total collection. The museum also manages substantial archives consisting of approximately 3,500 linear shelf meters of archival material and about 250,000 books. In 2001 the NTM opened a Railroad Museum that contains about 100 railway vehicles.
Among the forerunners of the NTM, we can rank the collecting activities of the Professional Engineering School (founded in 1717 in Prague), continued by the Polytechnical Institute (founded in 1806) and finally the opening of the Czech Industrial Museum, founded by Vojtěch Náprstek in 1874. Parts of his collections were even transferred to today's NTM later in the 20th century. Jan Kašpar donated an aircraft, in which he had flown his flight from Pardubice to Velká Chuchle in 1911; his aeroplane is still on display at the museum.
The Military History Institute Prague is a military institution, governed by the Ministry of defense of the Czech Republic. The Military History Institute consists of the headquarters and three specialized departments (the museum and administration department with the restoration section, the history and documentation department that manages also the military history library, and the operational/economic department. The research activities focus particularly on the issues of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd resistance, and the personal issues of top military personalities. The Czech and Czechoslovak militarism, especially in the 20th century, is subject to the thorough and long-term research.
U Památníku 2, 130 05 Praha 3
Phone: +420 973 204 900
The Army Museum Žižkov is open every day except Monday, from 10.00 AM to 6 PM. Admission is free of charge. To get to the museum, take bus 133, 175 or 207 from the Florenc underground station, stop U Památníku or 10 minutes walk from Florenc station.
Mladoboleslavská ul., Praha 9 – Kbely
Phone No: +420 973 207 500.
The museum is open in the summer season, i.e. from May until October, every day except Monday from 10.00 AM to 6 PM. Admission is free of charge. To get to the museum take bus No. 185, 259, 280, 302, 375, 376 – 10 minutes from Letňany underground station (stop Letecké museum).
Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely (Letecké Muzeum Kbely) is a major aviation museum located at Prague's original airport at Kbely, 8 km (5.0 mi) north-east of the town centre near Route 10 (E.14). Kbely was the first Czechoslovak military airfield, and during the inter-war period was the venue for several major public air shows. The first scheduled flight operated by CSA Czechoslovak Airlines (now CSA Czech Airlines) departed from Kbely for Bratislava in October 1923. Kbely airfield is not now used as a front line Czech Air Force base, but it is utilised by military transport aircraft of the Czech Air Force, and the VIP aircraft which transport Czech politicians.
Lešany near Týnec nad Sázavou, Post Office Krhanice, 257 42
Phone No: +420 973 296 161.
The museum is open during the summer season in the following hours: in June and September 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM (weekends only), in July and August 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM (daily except mondays). Admission is free of charge. How to get to the museum: by car Prague – highway D1 direct to Brno – exit Velké popovice – Babice – Lešany u Týnce nad Sázavou. By train: from station Praha Hlavní nádraží, direction Týnec nad Sázavou, to the Krhanice station. Then walk 500 meters over the bridge to the museum.
Ke Karlovu 1, 120 00 Praha 2
Czech Police Museum – (in Czech – Muzeum Policie České republiky - Museum of Police of the Czech Republic) is a museum located in the historical centre of Prague dedicated to the history of law enforcement on the territory of the Czech Republic and former Czechoslovakia. The museum is located on the grounds of the former Augustinian monastery in Karlov neighbourhood in the New Town of Prague, which was founded in 1350 by Charles IV. Its natural dominant is the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Charles the Great. When monastery was abolished by Emperor Joseph II, it passed into the possession of the state, and served at first as a warehouse, later as hospital for the treatment of infectious diseases, almshouse and during World War I a centre for army convalescents.
In the 1960s it was acquired by the Ministry of the Interior, which set up in it a state regional archive and later a museum. The current exposition documents the history and activities of the state security corps, presenting their specialised departments including criminal investigation, from 1918 to the present. This museum documents and presents the history, development and operation of law enforcement forces on the territory of former Czechoslovakia since its inception to the present. Museum organises temporary exhibitions, the museum also has permanent exhibitions with for instance an interesting exhibits concerning forensic science, criminal investigation, borders protection or history of petty crimes in Old Prague. The museum is open daily except Monday.
The Clementinum (Klementinum in Czech) is a historic complex of buildings in Prague. Until recently the complex hosted the National, University and Technical libraries, the City Library also being located nearby on Mariánské Náměstí. The Technical library and the Municipal library have moved to the Prague National Technical Library at Technická 6 since 2009. It is currently in use as the National Library of the Czech Republic. In 2005, the Czech National Library received the UNESCO Jikji prize (Memory of the World).
Its history dates from the existence of a chapel dedicated to Saint Clement in the 11th century. A Dominican monastery was founded in the medieval period, which was transformed in 1556 to a Jesuit college. In 1622 the Jesuits transferred the library of Charles University to the Klementinum, and the college was merged with the University in 1654. The Jesuits remained until 1773, when the Klementinum was established as an observatory, library, and university by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
The National Library was founded in 1781 and from 1782 the Clementinum was a legal deposit library. In 1918 the newly established Czecho-Slovak state took over the library. Since 1990, it has been the National Library. It contains a collection of Mozartiana, material pertaining to Tycho Brahe and Comenius, as well as historic examples of Czech literature. The architecture is a notable example of Baroque architecture and Clementinum, covering 20,000 square meters, is the second largest complex of buildings in Prague after the Prague Castle. For several years before 2006, there was an ongoing debate on the possibilities of expanding the space for future library collections, as space in the current Clementinum buildings was expected to reach its limit by 2010. On Jan 10, 2006, the Prague authorities decided to sell the city-owned property located in the area of Letná near the Prague center, to the National Library. In Spring 2006, an international architectural design competition for the new building was put up. An architect who won the competition is Jan Kaplický, but his winning was infirmed, so the Czech National Library is still waiting for its final project.
- At one time the Clementinum was known as the third largest Jesuit college in the world.
- The oldest weather recording in the area of the Czech lands started at the Clementinum in 1775. The weather recording continues through the present day.
- The Clementinum is mentioned in "The Secret Miracle" by Jorge Luis Borges. The main character has a dream of the library of Clementinum where the librarians look for God in the books of the library. One of the librarians says: God is in one of the letters, of one of the pages, of one of the 400,000 books of the Clementinum. My fathers and the fathers of my fathers have looked for this letter; I myself have gone blind looking for it. So, a reader enters and delivers an atlas for the main character, saying that this atlas is useless. The main character opens the book at random, and find a map of India, touching one of its minimum letters and, then, finds God.
- The Baroque library hall inside Clementinum is known for its beautiful interior, including ceiling artwork by Jan Hiebl.
The City of Prague Museum is located behind the McDonald's by Florence metro station. Langweil's Model of Prague is exhibited in the main building of the museum.
National Pedagogical Museum &
Library of J. A. Comenius in Prague (1892)
The National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius (Czech: Národní pedagogické muzeum a knihovna JA Komenského) is an institution in Prague that was created in 2011 by merging of two institutions: Pedagogical Museum (Valdstejnska 5) and Pedagogical Library of J. A. Comenius (Jeruzalemska 12).
The museum was established in 1892 in Prague as an expression of the Czech teacher's efforts to preserve and document traditions of Czech school system and pedagogy. It is one of the oldest museums in the Czech Republic. Since 1991, it has belonged to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. The museum is a research and resource centre focused on the history of Czech education, pedagogy, teachers and educatedness, referring to the life, work and legacy of John Amos Comenius.
The Pedagogical Library of J. A. Comenius in Prague is a public specialized pedagogical library contains books and magazines of education, upbringing and related sciences. The beginnings of the library are closely linked with the modern history of the independent Czechoslovak state. It came into existence in 1919 as a part of Czechoslovak Comenius Pedagogical Institute.
The National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius was in 2011 entrusted to build Memorial of Roma Holocaust in Hodonin near Kunstat in the Czech Republic.
Kinský Palace (Czech: Palác Kinských) is a former palace, now an art museum, located on Old Town Square in the Old Town area of Prague, Czech Republic. The palace's name refers to its former ownership by the Kinský noble family.
The palace was originally built for the Golz family between 1755 and 1765. As a result, the palace is also known as Golz-Kinský Palace (Palác Golz-Kinských).
The building was designed by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer and is Rococo in style. The exterior is stucco and is painted in pink and white. There are statues by Ignaz Franz Platzer on the exterior, which are of the classical elements. In 1768, the Kinský family purchased the home from the Golz family.
Franz Kafka's father, Hermann Kafka, was a haberdasher. He had his store at the palace, which was located on the ground floor. Franz Kafka attended secondary school at the palace, from 1893 until 1901.
The palace was used by Klement Gottwald in 1948 to address an audience from the palace's balcony. This led to the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état.
Since 1949, the palace has been under the administration of the National Gallery, and the building is currently used as an art museum.
Bertramka (Mozart Museum)
Bertramka (Czech: Muzeum W.A. Mozarta a manželů Duškových) is a villa in Prague notable because of visits by Mozart. Now it is a museum dedicated to the memory of Mozart and to the former owners and Mozart’s hosts: František and Josefina Dušek.
It is little known that Mozart's visits to the Bertramka are actually very scantily documented. No contemporary observer ever reported seeing him there, and Mozart himself never claimed to have stayed there in any of his surviving correspondence from Prague. There is furthermore no documentary basis to support widespread assertions that Mozart completed the operas Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito at the Bertramka, or indeed ever even worked on them there. Claims of frequent visits are not recorded before the 19th century.
For his first visit to Prague (in January and February 1787), Mozart is only recorded to have stayed in the palace of Count Johann Joseph Franz von Thun-Hohenstein in Malá Strana. For the other two extended visits (October to November 1787 and August to September 1791), it is difficult to see how continuous residence at the Bertramka would have been practical for Mozart, since it was located far outside the city walls of Prague at the time, and it would have been necessary to "commute" daily into the city by some sort of conveyance in order to participate in the musical commitments that were expected of him. Only occasional visits are likely.
Bertramka is where Mozart likely stayed during his 2nd visit to Prague in October and November 1787. The best evidence that he ever stayed there at all (and only during his 2nd visit to Prague in October and November 1787) comes from his son Karl Thomas Mozart in a reminiscence of 1856. Karl Thomas was not present for the incident reported, rather only heard about it from friends of Mozart he met in Prague as a boy in the 1790s.
Museum of Communism (2001)
The Museum of Communism in Czech Republic (Czech: Muzeum komunismu), located at Na Příkopě 10 in Prague, Czech Republic, is a museum dedicated to presenting an account of the post–World War II Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in general and Prague in particular. Situated in an 18th-century aristocrat’s palace above a McDonald's and next door to a casino just off Wenceslas Square, the Museum of Communism offers an immersive look at life behind the Iron Curtain. Genuine artifacts, informative text, and multimedia presentations keep alive the memory of what the Museum calls "Communism: the Dream, the Reality, and the Nightmare".
The Museum was founded by an American businessman, Prague bagel mogul Glenn Spicker. Spicker, educated in political science at the University of Connecticut and Essex University, himself gathered much of the museum's collection of artifacts of the communist era at flea markets and junk shops in the Prague area. The Museum first opened its doors December 26, 2001, featuring exhibits created by its curator, Czech documentarian Jan Kaplan, and annotated by retired Charles University professor Čestmír Kráčmar.
Founded in 1885, the Prague Museum of Decorative Arts (Czech: Uměleckoprůmyslové muzeum v Praze or UPM) is housed in a Neo-Renaissance edifice built from 1897 to 1899 after the designs of architect Josef Schulz. It opened in 1900 with exhibitions on the first floor. The Museum’s rich collections include decorative and applied arts and design work ranging from Late Antiquity to the present day with focus on European objects, particularly arts and crafts created in the Bohemian lands. The impressive interior of the permanent exhibition, “Stories of Materials,” offers visitors an excursion into the history and development of decorative arts in the disciplines of glass, ceramics, graphic art, design, metal, wood and other materials, as well as objects such as jewellery, clocks and watches, textiles, fashion, toys and furniture.
The museum in Prague collects and preserves for future generations examples of historical and contemporary crafts as well as applied arts and design—in both national and international contexts. The staff and directors believe in the harmony between function, quality and beauty; its claimed ambition is to inspire, educate and entertain in a unique way.
In 1885, the foundation of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague reflected the dramatic development of Czech society at the time. Following the establishment of a similar institution in Brno in 1873, the Prague museum soon became an important cultural and educational center in the Crown Lands of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The unfavorable impact of the Industrial Revolution on the aesthetic appearance and, consequently, the quality of products had for a long time been the subject of justified criticisms from artists, theorists and the public. The idea of establishing a permanent exhibition of decorative and applied arts in Prague was realised through an exhibition arranged by the Arkadia Association in 1861 at the Old Town Hall in Prague. Another source of inspiration was the founding of a similar institution—the South Kensington Museum (now Victoria and Albert Museum), which opened in London in 1852 and originally contained a collection of objects of applied and decorative arts. More important for the Czech public, however, was the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie, which opened in Vienna in 1864.
In 1868, in cooperation with the Vienna museum, the Prague Chamber of Trade and Commerce held an exhibition on Žofín Island of objects obtained from the Exposition Universelle d'Art et d'Industrie de 1867—International Exposition (1867)—supplemented by historical arts and crafts mostly from the collection of Vojtěch Lanna, who became the Museum’s most important donor and sponsor. In a period when funds and suitable buildings were hard to find, the promise of the exhibition area in the Rudolfinum (the House of the Artists) also contributed greatly to the birth of the museum.
The House of the Black Madonna is a cubist building in the "Old Town" area of Prague, Czech Republic. It was designed by Josef Gočár. It is currently in use as the Czech Museum of Cubism and includes the Grand Café Orient restaurant on the first floor.
The House of the Black Mother (U Černé Matky Boží), sometimes referred to as Black Mother of the Lord, was designed and built between 1911 and 1912 on the corner of Celetná Street and Ovocný trh. Josef Gočár built the house as the first example of cubist architecture in Prague, and it remains probably the most celebrated. Even without historical details of the baroque building surrounding it, the House at the Black Madonna maintains the atmosphere of the neighborhood. The house was given its name by the stone sculpture that originally adorned one of the two Baroque buildings on the same lot. After many years altered use in the interwar period and under communist rule, the house was closed in January 2002 and re-opened after extensive restoration in November 2003.
Gočár designed the house in mid-1911 at the age of 31 for the wholesale merchant František Josef Herbst. Herbst chose Gočár to build his department store in the Old Town along the old coronation route because of the architect’s earlier success with a similar shop in Jaroměř, built in 1909-1911. Because of its prominent location in the heart of the city, Gočár’s building was subject to strict harmonization rules requiring that the department store not conflict with its historical setting. The building thus uses the language of baroque architecture in a Cubist form, thus exemplifying the ‘contextualization’ of Cubist architecture.
Gočár’s first plans were not well received by the historical buildings authority in Bohemia. Subsequent designs incorporated more Cubist features into the building. The Prague City Council eventually approved the plans on August 4, 1911. Gočár’s early modernist orientation (as can be seen in the original plans for the building), gave way to new Cubist designs in the finished building. The angular bay windows, iconic capitals between windows, and cubist balcony railing took their place in the designs.
Like many of Gočár’s houses, the House at the Black Madonna was built with a reinforced-concrete skeleton inspired by the Chicago School (architecture). Cubist interiors have proven a challenge to architects. The use of a reinforced-concrete skeleton allowed for large interior spaces without ceiling support that were better suited to Cubist aesthetics. The Grand Café Orient, which encompassed the entire first floor without supporting pillars, was a revolutionary feat of engineering.
In some literature, Gočáris described as ‘decorativist’ because he was primarily concerned with creating a Cubist façade instead of a Cubist building. It is thus ironic that his design for the Grand Café Orient is the only surviving Cubist interior in the world. As for the façade, multiple changes in design and the requirements of harmonization forced certain compromises in the Cubist elements. The façade breaks with Cubist and modern traditions on the third story, and incorporates 'foreign' elements in order to reconcile the building with its surroundings. For example, the roof resembles baroque double roofs, and the third story also features flat windows and pilasters with Classical fluting between them.
The House at the Black Madonna was originally designed to house a department store. Herbst’s store occupied the ground and second floor of the building. Grand Café Orient was established on the first floor. Above that were apartments. Minor changes were made to this arrangement in 1914. In the mid-1920s the café and store on the second floor were converted into bank offices. Further alterations to the architectural integrity were made in 1941, when functionalist architect V. Kubik refashioned the wooden frames on the ground floor windows with steel. During the communist period, the building was subdivided internally into more office space and then designated the state exhibition agency.
In 1994, the building was made a center for Czech art and culture. After heavy renovation works between 2002 and 2003, the building was made home to the Museum of Czech Cubism. The fourth and fifth floors are dedicated to a permanent exhibition of Cubist art curated by the Czech Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition focuses on Czech artists in the period from 1911 to 1919, when Cubism was in its heyday in both the visual arts and in architecture. In March 2005, the Grand Café Orient was re-opened after extensive renovation works. Although only a few original plans had survived, black-and-white photographs documenting the café's interior décor and atmosphere from 1912 were used during renovation. Replicas of café furniture and brass chandeliers were constructed to revive the café and showcase the many forms of Cubism present in the Czech republic.
The Villa Müller (Czech: Müllerova vila, German: Haus Müller) is a building designed by Adolf Loos in 1930. The villa is located in Prague, Czech Republic. The house was designed originally for Mr. František Müller and his wife, Milada Müllerová.
The building was commissioned by František Müller and his wife, Milada Müllerová. Mr. Müller was an engineer and co-owned a construction company called Kapsa and Müller. The company specialized in reinforced concrete, developing new construction techniques. Loos' method of design was also in transition, making the timing of the project appropriate. Soon, the architect Karel Lhota set František Müller up with Loos to design the villa. Lhota also contributed to the design due to Loos' poor health. After the building was completed, Loos celebrated his 60th birthday there with a few friends.
The couple freely inhabited the house for 18 years before Communists seized control of it in 1948. In 1968, after the death of Milada Müllerová the most important parts of the Villa fittings and collections were purchased by the Museum of Applied Arts and the National Gallery. The Villa was then pronounced a Cultural Monument of the Czechoslovak Republic. It was user as a storage, library, and later as a location for the institute of Marxism–Leninism. After the fall of Communism in 1989, the house was turned over to the Müllers' daughter, Eva Maternová. She sold it to the City of Prague in 1995, who put it in the care of the City of Prague Museum. The house was restored in 1998 and finally re-opened as a museum in 2000.
Known as an innovative landmark of early modernist architecture, the Villa Müller embodies Loos' ideas of economy and functionality. The spatial design, known as Raumplan, is evident in the multi-level parts of individual rooms, indicating their function and symbolic importance. Raumplan is exhibited in the interior as well as the exterior.
The exterior displayed Loos' theory discussed in his 1908 essay, "Ornament and Crime". In the essay, Loos criticized decorated surfaces. For the exterior of the Villa Müller, Loos designed a white, cubic facade. He also wanted to distinguish between the outside, where the view could be seen by the public eye, and the inside, the private spaces of those who lived there. Consequently, the interior is lavishly decorated with comfortable furniture and marble, wood, and silk surfaces.
The Náprstek Museum is a museum of Asian, African and Native American art located in Bethlehem Square (Czech: Betlemske namesti) in Prague, Czech Republic. It is one of several permanent exhibitions of the National Museum. The museum is situated in the former brewing and wine-making compound of U Halanku in the Prague Old Town.
The museum, originally private, was founded in 1862 by Czech national revivalist politician Vojtěch Náprstek in his former family brewery, as the Czech Industrial Museum. After his death the museum became the Ethnographic Museum, and since World War II it has been focused on non-European cultures.
In the 19th century the museum was one of the cultural and educational centres of the Czech intelligentsia. Much of its collection comes from Náprstek and his friends who were Czech expatriates, travellers, and ethnographers. Only a part of the museum's large collection is available to the public.
The Villa Bílek (Czech: Bílkova vila) is a house designed by the Czech sculptor and architect František Bílek in 1911. The villa is located in Hradčany neighbourhood of Prague, Czech Republic, several minutes walk from Hradčanská metro station or Prague Castle. It was designed originally for Bílek himself as his residence and studio.
Located on site of former city walls (see preserved Písek Gate nearby) the villa has an unusual shape resembling trace of a scythe in a field. The brickwork masonry is articulated by pillars in form of corn sheaves which evoke Egyptian architecture. Through this building Bílek, who was a deeply religious artist, tried to express his view on substance of life.
Villa Bílek has been maintained by Gallery of the Capital City of Prague (Czech: Galerie hlavního města Prahy) since 1963. It houses a public exposition that introduces many works by Bílek, as well as original interior fittings and furniture collection which was made according to his design.
Trmal Villa or Trmalova Vila is a villa in Prague designed in 1902 by the Czech architect Jan Kotěra in the English Modernist style. The villa has been restored, and is now a museum and cultural centre open to the public and for research. Its architect has been described as the "founder of modern Czech architecture".
Jan Kotěra designed this villa for František Trmal, a leading teacher and inspector of schools, for whom it is still named. Construction began in 1902 and was completed the following year. The building stands on the corner of Vilová and U Nových vil. It was one of Kotera's early designs, and is therefore important since Kotera is regarded as a leading Czech architect and "the founder of modern Czech architecture". In 1911 the original owner sold the villa to Tereza and František Walek, who installed a winter garden and a terrace. The building was subsequently the property of Marta Wálková from 1925 until the end of the Second World War.
In 1945 the villa was recognised to be of national importance, and the State was given ownership in 1950. After this date it was painted red and used as a music school, which accounts for the loss of the original furniture. The villa was badly maintained after the Velvet Revolution until it became the responsibility of the City of Prague. In 2001 a three-year programme of repair was completed, and it was reopened to the public. Today it functions as a centre for architects studying Jan Kotera's legacy, and as a museum. The displays inside explain the architecture of similar buildings and other related themes.
Although the house has some Czech folk design aspects, its dormer windows, tall chimneys, gable ends with exposed beams and its complex tiled roof establish it as a design based on modern English traditions. The house also has Czech aspects, and ideas from the Arts and Crafts Movement due to the influence of Charles Voysey on Jan Kotěra's ideas. A key point of the design is the craft-built staircase which is decorated with floral-inspired geometric designs on the stairs and the painted beamed ceiling. The staircase gives access to a dining room and living room on the ground floor, and bedrooms and a children's room on the first floor.
The house is still set in the gardens Kotěra designed, although today it is surrounded by houses built after the Second World War. The house was not intended to be surrounded by other buildings, and was designed to allow the owner to keep farm animals in an outside shed. Today the garden still has Kotera's winding pathways leading to open porches, but the original picket fence is no longer there. Originally the house had three entrances.
As part of the European Heritage Days initiative this building was opened to the public in September 2012. In addition the council of Prague 10 and Wikimedia Czech Republic installed a QRpedia code to allow access to this article.
The Franz Kafka Museum is a museum located in Prague dedicated to the author Franz Kafka. The museum hosts a number of first edition Kafka books as well as displaying original letters, diaries and drawings created by Kafka.
Antonín Dvořák Museum (1932)
The Antonín Dvořák Museum in Prague is a museum dedicated to the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904).
It is part of the Czech Museum of Music which in turn is part of the complex of the National Museum. Since 1932, the museum has been housed in a baroque building which was designed by the famous architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer at the beginning of the 18th century, even though the house itself has no particular link with the Dvořák. It is situated in the north part of the New Town, about 15 minutes walk from the city centre of Prague.
The museum displays photographs, newspaper cuttings, programs and personal objects relating to the composer, including his viola and his piano. The building houses a unique collection of his manuscripts and correspondence, thus providing an important centre for research into Antonín Dvořák. Concerts are held there regularly, as well as seminars, lectures, and exhibitions.
The museum also organize an annual ceremony on the eve of the day of his death (May 1) at his grave in the Vyšehrad cemetery just south of the New Town district. There is also a matinee celebration on his birthday at his birthplace in Nelahozeves. The museum also takes care of the village house of his son-in-law, Josef Suk. There are also commemorative centres connected with Dvořák at other locations: there is a permanent exhibition at his country estate in Vysoká near Příbram, one in Zlonice and a memorial hall in Sychroy Castle near Turnov.
The Bedřich Smetana Museum (Muzeum Bedřicha Smetany) in Prague is a museum which is dedicated to the life and works of famous Czech composer Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884). It is situated in the centre of Prague in a small block of buildings right next to Charles Bridge on the right bank of the river Vltava in the Old Town (Novotného lávka 1, 110 00 Praha 1).
The building, which was formerly owned by Prague Water Company, has housed the Smetana Museum since 1936. It is a grand building in the Renaissance style. The main part of the museum exhibits are on the first floor. The upper floors house archive material relating to Smetana, providing a centre for research.
Exhibits include copies of letters, photographs and newspaper cuttings relating to Smetana’s life as well as various possessions including his earbone (Smetana suffered from deafness). There are also folders on music stands which contain material about some of Smetana’s most famous works. The visitor is able to listen to extracts from these works by zapping the required music stand with an electronic baton.
Smetana was the leading Czech composer at a time when Czech Nationalism was allowed to be expressed through the medium of the arts, which had so long been dominated by the official language, German. The Czech people were searching for their national identity and for the first time had the opportunity to perform plays and operas in the Czech language. The embodiment of this movement was the National Theater which opened in November 1883 with a performance of a specially written opera by Smetana, Libuše, which deals with the legendary story of the foundation of Prague. His six symphonic poems Má vlast (My Country) describe various aspects of his homeland: its countryside and legends. The second of these tone-poems, Vltava, is especially popular. The main tune is broadcast over the public address system at Prague’s main railway station.
The Josef Sudek Gallery (Czech: Galerie Josefa Sudka) is near Hradčany (Úvoz 24) in Prague, in a house where Josef Sudek (b. 1896 Kolín, d. 1976 Prague) lived from 1959 until his death. Part of his photographic output was transferred to the MDA in Prague in the years 1978–1988. Since 1989 the MDA in Prague has also administered his flat, where the gallery opened in 1995. Sudek had also a studio in Prague, Na Újezdu 28, which he continued to use for his photographic work (namely the darkroom) after moving to Hradčany, and where his sister and assistant Božena Sudková lived.
Sudek's flat was a popular place for friendly gatherings of many artists, among them the poet Jaroslav Seifert, painter Jan Zrzavý, architect Otto Rothmayer and many others. In the flat, which was gradually filled with numerous paintings, frames, goblets, boxes and photographic tools, originated many now renowned compositions in the series Aviatic Remembrances, Easter Remembrances, Labyrinths and Glass Labyrinths. This flat was also a departure point from which Sudek used to set off to roam the Prague gardens, parks and his beloved outskirts.
The Josef Sudek Studio (1901)
The Josef Sudek Studio is a gallery bearing the name of the renowned Czech photographer Josef Sudek. This single-story pavilion of only 61 square meters and located in the courtyard of the apartment buildings at no. 432 Újezd, Prague, is a replica of the original that Sudek used from 1927 to 1976. In 1990, the studio was listed as a national heritage site.
This is the last existing example of this kind of photography studio built at the end of the 19th century. It was moved here in 1901 from what would later become the Prague district of Vinohrady. This kind of building was erected in the second half of the 19th century thanks to the boom in commercial and art photography. It is a unique piece of the national heritage not only in Prague, but in the whole Czech Republic.
For Sudek the studio was not merely a place to work. It was also a source of inspiration and a frequent subject of his art photography. He photographed it at all times of the day and night and in every season, inside and outside, together with the neglected garden, particularly the strangely twisted tree in front of his now famous studio window.
In 1985, a fire broke out in the studio, destroying the already derelict space. What remained after the firefighters had put out the blaze was unusable. The only solution was to make an exact replica of the original.
A partner on the project and an investor in the construction and subsequent operation of the replica studio was PPF Art, part of the PPF Group investment company. The replica studio was built in 2000 under the aegis of the then mayor of Prague, Jan Kasl, with the participation of the photography historian Anna Fárová, the Borough of Prague 1, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, CMC Architects, Květinový servis, Konstruktiva Branko, Terra Floridus, and Gema Art.
PPF Art operates several art galleries and is the curator of unique collections, including Czech and Slovak photography. The basis of the photography collection is the photographs of Josef Sudek, including a set of photographs salvaged from his burnt-out studio. In addition to the Josef Sudek Studio, PPF Art also operates The Václav Špála Gallery and is the curator of a collection of paintings (and other works of art), which provides a cross-section of Czech painting from the late 19th century to the present.
Ss. Cyril & Methodius Cathedral
The Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic, is the principal church in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
The existing structure had its origins as a Roman Catholic church built between 1730 and 1736 by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, dedicated to Charles Borromeo, archbishop and cardinal of Milan in the 16th century.
In 1942, during World War II, the cathedral was the scene of the last stand of a number of Czech and Slovak patriots who, in Operation Anthropoid, had assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi SS Obergruppenführer and General of Police. Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld was in command of the troops that stormed the church on June 18, 1942. After a fierce gun battle, they committed suicide to avoid capture. There is a museum in the church crypt dedicated to them as national heroes.
The Jewish Museum in Prague (Czech: Židovské muzeum v Praze) is a museum of Jewish heritage in the Czech Republic and one of the most visited museums in Prague. Its collection of Judaica is one of the largest in the world, about 40,000 objects, 100,000 books, and a copious archive of Czech and Moravian Jewish community histories.
The Jewish Museum in Prague was founded in 1906 by historian Dr. Hugo Lieben (1881–1942) and Dr. Augustin Stein (1854–1937), who later became the head of the Prague Jewish Community. Its purpose was to document history and customs of the Jewish population of the Czech lands, as well as to preserve artifacts from Prague synagogues demolished at the beginning of the 20th century.
When the Nazis instituted the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in part of the former Czechoslovakia, the museum became the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration. (Its name was later changed to the Central Bureau for Arrangement of the Jewish Question in Bohemia and Moravia.) Karel Stein (1906–1961), an employee of the Jewish community in Prague, suggested that properties of the community be stored in the museum. These properties were considered valuable works of art by Nazis and therefore acceptable for preservation. Because of the initiative of the Jewish community, many objects were collected, and the Museum was professionally led by Josef Polák.
Around 80 000 Czech and Moravian Jews fell victim to the Second World War and so afterwards there was almost nobody to claim the confiscated objects, preserved in the Museum. Endowed with a new vocation, ensuing from the historical fact of the Holocaust, the Museum re-established its activity on 13 May 1945, under the administration of Jewish Religious Communities Council and under the leadership of Hana Volavková. Its first exhibition after the War took place on 26 June 1945.
On 25 February 1948, after less than 3 years of post war freedom, the Communists staged a coup d'état and took over the government of Czechoslovakia. Out of the Communist regime’s initiative the Jewish Museum became state property on 4th April 1950 and its name was changed respectively to the State Jewish Museum. During the Communist dictatorship, until its very fall in November 1989, the raison d’être of the Museum was constantly disputed on ideological grounds. The topics seemingly related to the “campaign for peace and against fascism“ (favorite clichés of the Communists) were allowed. Nevertheless, pretensed campaign against another adversary, Zionism, restrained the functioning of the Museum nearly to the point of preclusion, regarding research, exhibiting, publishing and cooperation with foreign experts alike. Moreover, activity of the Museum was followed closely by the state organs. However, the concern of the state did not include conditions of the Museum collections and buildings.
After the Velvet Revolution, in 1994, the buildings used by the Museum, as well as the Old Jewish Cemetery, returned to possession of the Jewish Community of Prague and the Museum's collections were restituted to the Federation of Jewish Communities as the legal successor of the ceased Jewish Communities. In the same year Mr. Leo Pavlát became the director of the successively re-established Jewish Museum in Prague.
In these buildings of considerable historical value the Museum lets its visitors explore the actual as well as the spiritual history of the Czech Jews through exhibition of artefacts from its collection. This is unique among collections of other museums of Jewish heritage, as it comprises the whole area of the Czech lands. The singular collection was not harmed even during the floods in 2002, although the buildings, especially the Pinkas Synagogue, received significant damage.
The Spanish Synagogue (Czech: Španělská synagoga) is the newest synagogue in the area of the so-called Jewish Town, yet paradoxically, it was built at the place of the presumably oldest synagogue, Old School (also known as Altshul). The synagogue is built in Moorish Revival Style. Only a little park with a modern statue of famous Prague writer Franz Kafka (by Jaroslav Róna) lies between it and the church of St. Spirit. Today, the Spanish Synagogue is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The Spanish Synagogue is not the first synagogue at the site. Before it there stood probably the oldest synagogue in Prague, Old School. In the second half of 19th century, capacity of the Old School did not suffice. The Reform Jewish Community, which used it by the time, therefore decided to demolish the synagogue in 1867 and one year later it was replaced by the new, Spanish Synagogue. Its name presumably refers to the style in which it was built, Moorish Revival style, which was inspired by the art of Arabic period of Spanish history (this name was not always prevalent, in the beginnings it was usually called by German-speaking Jews Geistgasse-Tempel, i.e. Temple in Spirit Street). The architectural plans were designed by Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann and Josef Niklas (an imposing interior decoration).
In 1935, a functionalistic building, designed by Karel Pecánek, was added to the synagogue. until the Second World War it served to the Jewish Community as a hospital. The synagogue used the space of the new building as well; there was a vestibule and a winter oratory in it. Since 1935, the appearance of the synagogue remained essentially unchanged.
During the Second World War, confiscated properties of Czech Jewish Communities were stored in the synagogue. Ten years after the war, the synagogue was handed over to Jewish Museum and in 1958–1959 it was completely reconstructed inside. In the following year an exposition of synagogue textiles was opened there. Since the 1970s the building was neglected and in 1982 it was definitely closed. The reconstruction started only after the Velvet revolution. Completely restored to its former beauty, the synagogue was opened with a ceremony in 1998.
The synagogue itself is two storys high. Its ground plan is square. The main hall with a dome is surrounded by three built-in balconies. At the south balcony, there is an organ. In the eastern wall there is a great round stained glass window with a central ornament of Magen David (hexagram), installed in 1882–1883. Underneath it there is a monumental aron ha-kodesh. The most impressive decorative element in the synagogue is a gilded and polychromic parquet arabesque. Its designers, Antonín Baum and Bedřich Münzberger, were inspired by Arabic architecture and art. The synagogue was decorated according to their design in 1882–1893. The disposition of the synagogue is reform – the reading platform, bimah, is situated at the eastern wall, not in the central space as in older synagogues. Benches (not original, by the way) stand in rows (as in a church), not around the walls. The aron ha-kodesh, in the style of mihrab, has no curtain (parochet).
Since the last reconstruction in 1998, an exposition about modern Jewish history in the Czech lands can be seen there. It begins with reforms initiated by enlightened Emperor Joseph II, which started the Jewish emancipation and inclusion of Jews to major society. Many personalities, which have attributed to its economy, science and culture, are mentioned here. Traumatic events of the 20th century are also commemorated. The themes of modern times accords well with the relation between the synagogue and Reform Jewish Community. The European Cantors Association held the concert for their 11th Annual Convention in the Spanish Synagogue in front of a packed crowd on 19th November 2016. Arranged as a tribute to ECA Convenor, Alex Klein, the concert was led by the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute Choir conducted by Cantor Naftali Herstik.
The Klausen Synagogue is nowadays the largest synagogue in the former Prague Jewish ghetto and also a single example of an early Baroque synagogue in the area. Today the synagogue is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague.
In 1570s a renowned businessman and benefactor of the ghetto, Mordechai Maisel, decided to build in the area of the present Klausen Synagogue a complex of buildings, probably including synagogues and a private Talmudic school. The famous Prague rabbi and scholar Maharal taught at this school. The complex was called Klausen (German term originating from Latin claustrum, closed space). In 1689, the great fire of the ghetto burned down all the Klausen and the synagogue is named after them.
Shelomo Khalish Cohen, a rabbi of the burned down synagogue, which had been part of the complex, then initiated construction of a new synagogue in early baroque style at the site. In 1694, the building was finished and two years later monumental three-tiered aron ha-kodesh, the Torah Ark, was added, thanks to the endowment of Samuel Oppenheimer, an affluent and influential personality of the Austrian monarchy, part of which Prague was at the time. Many important rabbis, for example Eleazar Fleckeles, are also connected with the synagogue.
In 1883–84, the synagogue was reconstructed by an architect Bedřich Münzberger, who also partook in decorating the Spanish Synagogue. Massive urban renewal of the ghetto at the turn of the 20th century left the Klausen Synagogue intact, while other baroque synagogues such as the Zigeuner, Great Court and New Synagogue were demolished. Nowadays, the Klausen Synagogue is thus the only example of a baroque synagogue in the former ghetto.
During the World War II a depository as well as an exposition was located in the synagogue. As soon as one year after the war, an exposition about Jewish festivals and customs was opened there. The synagogue was reconstructed in years 1960, 1979–81 and 1983 (aron ha-kodesh only). One year after the last mentioned reconstruction, a new permanent exhibition of Hebrew manuscripts and early prints was opened.
About a decade later, during years 1995–96, the synagogue was restored again and the topic of Jewish festivals and customs returned to the exposition. Visitors are invited to get acquainted with the foundational texts of Judaism (Torah and Talmud), sacral space of Judaism (traditional components of the synagogue interior, order of synagogue prayer service and texts and objects used during it, etc.). Introduction of Jewish Festivals and Jewish family life in its dailiness as well as in its important milestones, for instance birth, circumcision, wedding, etc. follows. The exposition continues in the Ceremonial Hall with the topic of the end of life.
Maisel Synagogue (Czech: Maiselova synagoga) is one of the historical monuments of the former Prague Jewish Ghetto. It was built at the end of the 16th century which is considered to be the golden age of the ghetto. Since then its appearance has changed several times, its actual style is neo-gothic. Nowadays the synagogue belongs to the Jewish Community of Prague and is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague as a part of its expositions.
The construction of the synagogue was initiated by Mordechai Maisel. First, in 1590, this renowned businessman and benefactor of the ghetto gained the building site. One year later he obtained from the emperor Rudolf II, the current sovereign of the country, a privilege to build his own synagogue. Mordecai Maisel had an important position at Rudolf's court and that probably helped him to gain this favor. The architectural plan for Maisel synagogue, designed by Judah Coref de Herz, was realized by Josef Wahl and in 1592, on Simchat Torah, the synagogue was consecrated. For the next century it became the largest and most impressive building in the ghetto, also thanks to its abundant equipment. Maisel bequeathed the synagogue to the Prague Jewish community, yet after his death in 1601 all his possession, including the synagogue, was confiscated (in spite of another imperial privilege, allowing Maisel to write a testament). Maisel's last will was therefore fulfilled entirely only after a number of trials, several decades later.
In 1689 the synagogue was severely damaged by fire that affected the whole ghetto. It was reconstructed in a hurry and lost one third of its length. Then it was changed in the 19th century (in 1862–1864 according to architectural plan of J. W. Wertmüller) and again at the turn of the 20th century when all the Jewish Quarter went through a big urban renewal. Architect Alfred Grotte reconstructed the synagogue in Neo-Gothic style, and in fact it has not changed until now.
During the Nazi occupation of the Czech lands, properties of the Czech Jewish communities were stored in Maisel Synagogue. After the World War II the synagogue became a depository of Jewish Museum in Prague. During the sixties it was restored and between 1965 and 1988 an exposition of silver Judaica was located there. Then the synagogue was closed because of deplorable technical conditions, which could not be improved because of lack of financial means. Velvet revolution made necessary reconstruction possible and the synagogue was then opened for visitors in 1996, showing an exposition of Jewish history in the Czech lands from the beginning (9th century) until the age of Enlightenment which meant a turning point in Jewish social status. After the recent restoration of Maisel Synagogue, this exposition has been updated (modern and interactive elements added), its topic, however, has remained the same.
The recent reconstruction took place between April 2014 and June 2015. In opposite to previous unified white colour of outside and inside, the decorative elements were accentuated so the synagogue looks the same as at the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to the reconstruction the synagogue also provides more comfort to its visitors including barrier-free entrance. It will be opened for cultural events as well (concerts, author reading, one-man theater etc.).
The Pinkas Synagogue (Czech: Pinkasova synagoga) is the second oldest surviving synagogue in Prague. Its origins are connected with the Horowitz family, a renowned Jewish family in Prague. Today, the synagogue is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague and commemorates about 78,000 Czech Jewish victims of the Shoah.
An archaeological excavation has showed that in 15th century in the area of present Pinkas Synagogue there were wells, a mikveh and inhabited houses. By 1492 in one of those houses there was a private oratory belonging to a distinguished Prague Jewish family of Horowitz. In 1535 one of the family members, Aharon Meshulam Horowitz, decided to replace the house by a synagogue for his family. In this building we can find components in Gothic and Renaissance styles – for example the reticulated vault is made in the late Gothic style but its ornaments have Renaissance features and the portal is pure Renaissance. Between 1607 and 1625 an annex in Renaissance style was added and so the synagogue was extended with a vestibule, a women's section and a balcony. The architectural plan of the annex was designed by Juda Coref de Herz (the author of the plan to Maisel Synagogue, too).
The floor of the synagogue is below the ground level so it was repeatedly afflicted by floods and moisture. In the second half of 18th century it was necessary to restore aron-ha-kodesh and bimah damaged by flood and so they were changed to the Baroque style. About the same time (in 1793) successful businessman and communal leader Joachim von Popper donated the synagogue with a wrought-iron Rococo grille which adorns the bimah until now. The grille is decorated with an emblem of the Prague Jewish community – Magen David with a Middle-Age Jewish hat.
In 1860, a radical step was taken to solve the problem of floods – the floor level of the synagogue was raised by 1,5 m. The baroque bimah disappeared, the arrangement of the seats was modernized (seats surrounding the walls as in Old-New Synagogue were replaced by the church-like rows) and pseudo-Romanesque style dominated the space.
However, less than century later, during reconstruction in 1950–1954, the original floor-level as well as the appearance of the synagogue were restored. In following five years, walls of the synagogue were covered with names of about 78 000 Czech and Moravian Jewish victims of Shoah. The names are arranged by communities where the victims came from and complemented with their birth and death date. The memorial was designed by painters Václav Boštík and Jiří John. In 1960 it was opened to public, but it was closed after less than a decade, in 1968, after the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. It was said that the reason for closing was moisture. After the fall of communistic regime in 1989 the synagogue had been reconstructed for 3 years and then opened to public, but it took another three years to restore the inscriptions of the names on the walls that were damaged by moisture. Moreover, in 2002, an old enemy of the synagogue – flood – proved its power and the inscriptions had to be restored again.
On the first floor of the synagogue there is an exhibition of pictures drawn by children in the concentration camp in Theresienstadt. Children did not draw them accidentally but during drawing lessons led by Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898–1944), a painter, who studied at Bauhaus, Weimar. Dicker-Brandeis's experience from Bauhaus influenced the conception of her drawing lessons in Theresienstadt. She encouraged children to express themselves in drawing, to grapple with their grim experiences from the ghetto, as well as to capture their memories from home and dreams about the future. Their pictures therefore offer wide-ranged testimony about the daily reality of the ghetto and about individual children. Most of the children, as well as Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, died in Auschwitz. The only witnesses of their lives, their drawings, "survived" because Dicker-Brandeis hid them in Theresienstadt before her deportation to Auschwitz. After the war about 4,500 pictures were handed over to the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The Smíchov Synagogue is the only functionalist synagogue in Prague; it was reconstructed to this style in 1931. After the World War II, the building was used for secular purposes because the Smíchov Jewish community ceased to exist in the Shoah. In the present, the building is used for an archive of the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The first synagogue of the Smíchov Jewish community was in ruins and dangerous for its visitors after only three years of use. The Jewish Community, indebted since the original building project and totally unprepared for another expense, gained financial means to replace the ruin with a new synagogue from Franz Ringhoffer II, Smíchov mayor, businessman (founder of the important Smíchov railway car factory) and surprisingly enough, a gentile.
The building was finished on 30 August 1863. Its outside was built in Romanesque Revival style while the inner space was formed in Moorish Revival style. The Smíchov Jewish Community belonged to reform rite; therefore there was a pump organ in the synagogue, yet later it was replaced by more representative organ. Capacity of the synagogue was more than 180 seats for men and about 140 seats for women. As for size, the synagogue was much smaller than synagogues in traditional areas of Jewish settlement – for instance, the Spanish Synagogue in Josefov, former Prague Jewish ghetto, has about 800 seats and seats of the Smíchov Synagogue would fill only the women section of this synagogue. The reason is plain enough – development of Jewish community in Smíchov was tightly interconnected with a boom of industry in Smíchov in the 19th century.
In 1897, central government of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire failed to enforce a law which would guarantee equal rights to Czech- and German-speaking people. This unwelcome result caused riots in numerous Czech towns and cities including Prague and its vicinity. The violence was aimed against considerable German population of the Czech lands and also against Jews who were considered pro-German at large. Before the rampages were suppressed, also by the aid of martial law, the Smíchov synagogue had been severely damaged. The situation was apparently so grave that also the New York Times informed about it.
Since the 1920s the Smíchov Jewish Community had looked for a site to build a new synagogue but because they did not succeed, they decided to rebuild the existing one. A modern purist design of 1930-31 by Leopold Ehrmann gave the synagogue a functionalist outside; the inner space was probably designed in Art Nouveau style. However, the renovated synagogue served religious purposes for only a decade.
In 1941, Nazi administrative of the country decided to use the building for storage of confiscated properties. After the World War II, the Smíchov Jewish Community was not re-established and the building passed to hands of a near factory Tatra which used it as a warehouse. Some structural interventions were made (new concrete floor, change of story disposition and construction of elevator), they caused damage to the synagogue and in 1986 it was proposed that it be demolished. This decision was not carried out, only because the synagogue was enlisted among historical architectural monuments.
After the Velvet Revolution, in 1990, the synagogue became a property of the Prague Jewish Community which hired it to Jewish Museum in Prague in 1998. During following five years the synagogue was completely reconstructed. Nowadays, the Museum uses the building as an archive and a reading room. Self-supported structure provides space for this purpose, while the original disposition and decoration remains intact.
Quotation over the arcade attracts much attention. At the northern side there is "Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near" (Isaiah 57,19) in Czech, and at the western side "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4,6) in Hebrew. Gematrical value of the Hebrew inscription hints at date of reconstruction of the synagogue 691/1931.
Robert Guttmann Gallery
The Robert Guttmann Gallery is an exhibition space of the Jewish Museum in Prague in the capital city of Prague, Czech Republic. The gallery is located in a building of a former Jewish hospital, which was built next to the Spanish Synagogue according to an architectural design by Karel Pecánek in 1935. The gallery is named after a Jewish naïve artist and a fervent Zionist, Robert Guttmann (1880–1942). The activity of the gallery was launched with an exhibition of his works. The visitors can get acquainted with various aspects of history and culture of Jews in the Czech Lands through temporary exhibitions. Thanks to the temperature and light conditions, valuable and sensitive objects can be exhibited in the gallery.
Jewish Ceremonial Hall
The Jewish Ceremonial Hall (Obřadní síň in Czech) can be found in the Josefov or Jewish Quarter of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. It was built in 1911-12 under the direction of architect J. Gerstl for the Jewish Burial Society (Hevrah Kaddishah) and is in the neo-Romanesque style. Originally used as a ceremonial hall and mortuary it now forms part of The Jewish Museum of Prague holding exhibitions relating to Jewish history.
Ceremonial Hall of the Prague Jewish Burial Society
The Ceremonial hall of the Prague Jewish Burial Society does not serve its original purpose – the last service to the deceased members of the Prague Jewish Community – anymore. It is used as an exhibition space administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague. The building is an excellent example of Romanesque Revival Style.
The present Ceremonial Hall has replaced an older building serving the same purpose. It was constructed by A. Gabriel a J. Gerstel between 1906 and 1908. Its appearance, including the details like the bases and capitals of columns, the grille and the door, holds strictly to the Romanesque Revival style. As long as the Prague Jewish Burial Society used the space, the morgue was in the basement, on the first floor there was a room for the ritual purification of the dead (taharah) and on the second floor there was a meeting room, where the Society held its meetings as well as annual banquets. Since World War I the Burial Society has not used the hall for its original purpose. In 1926 the Society rented the building to the Jewish Museum in Prague, which has used it ever since.
In 1997 the Ceremonial Hall was reconstructed. The exposition which was opened there at the time is linked with the original usage of the space, introducing visitors to Jewish rituals held over the dying and the deceased (thus the exposition about the important milestones of Jewish life from the Klausen Synagogue is continued there), providing them with information about the Old Jewish Cemetery and other cemeteries in the Czech lands and the institution of the Prague Jewish Burial Society.
An important monument left by the Burial Society to posterity is a cycle of fifteen paintings, depicting rituals and customs performed by the Burial Society. An anonymous author fulfilled the order of the Society from around the year 1772 and followed the Baroque painting style. However, the motive of the Society, which hired him, originated probably from the new, enlightened, age: in keeping with the enlightened ideology it was supposed to show an important social role, which the Society had maintained for centuries. The paintings also depict the final period of the history of the Old Jewish Cemetery which makes the cycle even more valuable.
Old Jewish Cemetery
Old Jewish Cemetery is the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe and one of the most important Jewish historical monuments in Prague. It served its purpose from the first half of 15th century until 1786. Renowned personalities of the local Jewish community were buried here; among them rabbi Jehuda Liva ben Becalel – Maharal (ca. 1526–1609), businessman Mordecai Maisel (1528–1601), historian David Gans (ca. 1541–1613) and rabbi David Oppenheim (1664–1736). Today the cemetery is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague.
The Old Jewish Cemetery is not the first Jewish cemetery in Prague – its predecessor was so-called "Jewish Garden“ located in the area of present New Town of Prague. This cemetery was closed by order of King Wladislav II Jagello in 1478 because of complaints of Prague citizens. Later it disappeared under the streets of New Town. We know that the history of the Old Cemetery started before that, but the exact date when it was founded is unknown. The only clue is the oldest gravestone in the cemetery from 1439 which belongs to rabbi and poet Avigdor Kara.
Starting at the middle of the 15th century, the gravestones record is a continual time line of burials. The final gravestone is dated 1787; three years earlier, the enlightened sovereign Emperor Josef II had banned burials inside the city walls for hygienic reasons. Later Prague Jews used a cemetery in Žižkov, founded in the 17th century because of plague epidemic.
During the more than three centuries in which it was in active use, the cemetery continually struggled with the lack of space. Piety and respect for the deceased ancestors does not allow the Jews to abolish old graves. Only occasionally the Jewish Community was allowed to purchase grounds to expand the cemetery and so many times it had to gain space in other ways; if necessary, a new layer of soil was heaped up on the available area. For this reason, there are places where as many as twelve layers now exist. Thanks to this solution the older graves themselves remained intact. However, as new levels were added it was necessary either to lay over the gravestones associated with the older (and lower) graves to protect them, or else to elevate the stones to the new, higher surface. This explains the dense forest of gravestones that one sees today; many of them commemorate an individual who is buried several layers further down. This also explains why the surface of the cemetery is raised several meters higher than the surrounding streets; retaining walls are necessary to hold the soil and the graves in place.
There are two kinds of Jewish burial monuments (in Hebrew matzevot) – the older is a slab of wood or stone, basically rectangular, but with various endings at the top. Tumba (in Hebrew ohel – tent) appears later, in baroque times. It is generally more representative than the first mentioned kind and resembles a little house. Such tumbas commemorate on the cemetery for example Maharal or Mordecai Maisel. Tumbas do not contain the remains; they are buried underneath in ground.
The oldest gravestones on Old Jewish cemetery are plain, yet very soon the number of ornaments (pilasters, volutes, false portals, etc.) began to increase. Most decorated gravestones come from 17th century. However, on every gravestone there are Hebrew letters that inform about the name of the deceased person and the date of his or her death or burial. Copious praise of deceased' virtues appears beside brief eulogy ("of blessed memory") in Renaissance time. From 16th century the gravestones characterize the deceased also through various symbols, hinting at the life, character, name or profession of the people (see the tables below for details).
The New Jewish Cemetery (Czech: Nový židovský hřbitov) in Žižkov, Prague, Czech Republic, was established in 1891 to relieve the space problem at the Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague. It is about 10 times bigger than the Old Jewish Cemetery and provides space for approximately 100,000 graves, therefore having the capacity to serve for a whole century. There is also a specially designated area for urns, though the Jewish tradition does not allow cremation. The cemetery is still in use today and operated by the Jewish Community in Prague.
The cemetery is noted for its many art nouveau monuments, among them, two monuments for members of the Perutz family by Jan Kotěra, the monument to artist Max Horb by Jan Štursa in the form of a mourning peacock, and many remarkable works of the decorative and sculptural arts in florid art nouveau style by less well-known artists. One of the more elaborate tombs belongs to the Waldes family; the tomb is decorated with two busts, the last pieces of art made by the important Czech sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek, creator of the Wenceslas Square famous statue of St. Wenceslas. Franz Kafka is buried here.
Specialty Museums in Prague
First written references about the stone area at the current location of the museum dates back to year 900 AD which means that this house is probably the second oldest building in Prague.
The house in Haštalská street No. 1 is located near the most important European trade route Grand Via, which was thousands of kilometers long and it ran from the north of Spain, across whole Europe to the Far East. Merchants probably used to come to this house and they always brought exotic goods and information with them.
According to written reference there was a herbal pharmacy in the 15th century, in which alchemists sell their potions and elixirs. In the 16th century, the house became a place where the Emperor Rudolf II. established his alchemical laboratory and he invited many famous alchemists to work here.
There were discovered alchemical workshops under the building and also underground tunnels that connected the three most important places in the city - Prague Castle, the Old Town Hall and Barracks.
Over the centuries the house has undergone several changes and reconstructions. It belongs to one of the few preserved during the redevelopment of the Jewish Quarter, which took place in Prague at the end of the 19th century. This incident is covered with mystery because no one ever reliably explained why this building was removed from the reconstruction plan.
A lot of legends are tied to this house. The most famous one tells of a goat’s flaming chariot that used to emerge in front of this house.
For the first time in the world the things which belonged to the first persons of the Soviet state, the heads of the Cheka KGB, the senior functionaries of the soviet state security, are collected in one place. Quite unusual pieces, such as the death mask of Lenin, Trotsky murder weapon, the radio from Beria’s cabinet, the equipment from the laboratories of the KGB and many other things are in this collection in KGB Museum in Prague.
The bright part of the KGB museum is the photo exposition "Prague 1968 in the eyes of KGB officer“. Unknown history photo-pages from the KGB archives. There is also a great deal of NSC attributes (Sbor Narodni Bezpecnosti) - Special Service of the Czechoslovak People’s Republic.
Bottle Your Own Beer: We give you bottle and let you fill it up on our device. Then you create your own label and you have a unique souvenir from Prague.
Our unique exposition will show you what makes Czech beer great! You will learn about the history and secrets behind making Czech Beer. Our brewery model will explain to you how malt and beer is made. You can experience the real smell of hops and malt. Along the way you will learn from hundreds of historical artifacts. To maximize the experience, all of it is enhanced by authentic surroundings and video presentations. The tour would not be complete without beer tasting. In beautiful 13th century cellars, you can enjoy several types of Czech beers in two showroom pubs, one from the 19th century and another from communist times.
Eat as much chocolate, truffles, and pralines as you can! 270,- Kč
Choco-Story is in Prague since 2008. It belongs to a group of museums with branches in Belgium, France, and Mexico. Because of its unique private collection, the museum has no competition in the Czech Republic.
You spend first 30 minutes in the exposition, where you get information about history of cocoa and chocolate, about the cocoa tree and its growing and about the travel of cacao to Europe. During the tour you will taste our delicious chocolates.
Then you will move into the factory and you will watch live production of Belgian pralines with tasting, of course! (+10 minutes). Finally, we recommend to visit a cinema (+15 minutes). How much time you spend visiting our collections depends only on you. An average visit takes about an hour.
At the end of the 19th Century, Arthur Meyer, a journalist and founder of the famous daily newspaper Le Gaulois, conceived the idea of showing his contemporaries 3D representations of the front-page celebrities in his newspaper. At a time when the press did not use photography he thought of creating a place where the public could at last "put a face" on the people in the news.
To achieve this original project, he called on Alfred Grévin, who was a cartoonist, sculptor, and designer of theatrical costumes, and who became so involved that in the end, the project bore his name. When the Grévin opened its doors to the public on 5th June 1882, it was an immediate success!
In 1883, Gabriel Thomas, a distinguished investor who had previously backed the companies running the Eiffel Tower and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, gave the Grévin a business-like economic structure to enable rapid expansion. He also enriched the site with new decors which are today its very precious heritage, such as the Grévin Theater, which is listed on the inventory of Historical Monuments, or the Hall of Mirrors (Palais des Mirages) that had been part of the 1900 "Exposition Universelle".
More than a century later, still faithful to the spirit of its three founding fathers, this unique site continues to provide the public with the astounding possibility of "seeing with their own eyes" the celebrities in the news.
We can see some historic fabrics from the Infant Jesus' wardrobe and robes from exotic countries. We can also see his second crown. Around the stairwell are artistic life-size photographs of the statue dressed in robes of different liturgical colours. Nativity scenes from various parts of the world are also of great interest.
Enter the world of Prague legends and meet face to face with ghosts and phantoms of old Prague! We invite you to a world full of humour, poetry and mystery through an interactive exhibition that will appeal to both children and students, adults and seniors, as well as entire families or school groups. The mysterious underground street of ghosts, which is built at the level of former medieval streets, offers the atmosphere of midnight in Prague long years ago. Liberated from the noise of cars and neon lights it hides the most popular Prague ghosts in its dark corners. They are headless, skeletal, enamoured, exotic, just the way they have survived for centuries among us thanks to legends and stories handed over from generation to generation. And because ghosts are never bored, they will play hide and seek with you. Playful is also the entrance of the exhibition, where you can read a giant book of ancient stories, legends so much as you please, but especially with the help of interactive exhibits transferred directly into the world of legends. You can be sure that when you return to 21st century, you will agree with our motto "You come here with fear, you leave with a smile."
In the cellar, which includes the basement built in the 12th century, there is constructed a little street with several dark corners which evoke the atmosphere of Prague at midnight many centuries ago. In the street you meet twenty five most famous ghosts of Prague. Some of them you can see directly, but many of them are hidden around you. They are looking through the windows, they are hiding behind slightly open doors, casting a shadow on the wall, or flying somewhere under the ceiling. To find them, use the map on your ticket which suggests where and who you should search for. It would be a pity not to see everything before you go through the gate of the House at the last lantern, which is the threshold into another world - the world of cars, neon lights and bustle of the 21st century.
There are no ghosts without tales, as well as there are no tales without ghosts. Therefore, you should definitely read at least the most famous legends in the ground floor. They are written in Czech and English (the most important of them also in other world languages) and they are offered by a secret library of the Spirit of Prague - Genius Loci Pragensis. If you find the stories interesting or you want to read them in peace at home, you can find them in the booklet available at the ticket office. Besides the legends, the ground section of the exhibition also offers interactive exhibits that will delight playful visitors of all ages. You will see charming, original illustrations, objects belonging to individual ghosts, but also ghosts and figures coming out of the walls. Prague walls are in fact flooded with tales of people who lived here and who come back to this world. Look inside the water sprite´s mugs, meet yourself as a ghost in a magic mirror, or watch the vision of the legendary pagan princess Libuse. Your visit in your museum is definitely going to be an unforgettable experience.
The Museum’s Headquarters and Its Exposition of Musical Instruments Since 2002 the Czech Museum of Music (CMM) has had its headquarters in the former Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Prague’s Lesser Town. This church was built in the 17th century in Baroque style, apparently according to a design by Francesco Caratti.
After the Dominican monastery at this location was closed in 1783, the church was remodelled in stages, serving successively as a post office, police barracks, and an archive. The unusual synthesis of early Baroque church architecture with Neo-Classical utilitarian modifications and the modern adaptation as a museum overwhelms everyone who enters the building, with its monumental atrium and its special magic left here by the transformations over the ages. Little known until recently, the building lies on Karmelitská Street close to the Church of the Virgin Mary Victorious which houses the Infant Jesus of Prague.
There are hundreds of meters of tracks waiting for you at Smíchov, tens of models of trains or models of cars that give each other way at crossings. The unique atmosphere of changing day and night. You will also find an interactive model of Prague at more than 3 100m2 of fun for kids and adults. Our digitally operated cars give each other way at crossings and stop at traffic lights.
The former Count's Chambers of Prague Castle house an exhibition of unique examples of old European and American toys on 2 floors. In 7 large rooms containing 60 showcases, part of the family collection of Ivan Steiger, the film maker and cartoonist, can be seen. His Toy Museum in the tower of the Old Town Hall in Munich has already been in existence for 10 years and enjoys great popularity. Steiger's collection of classical toys concentrates on the 150-year history of toys made from wood and tin, of dolls, doll's houses and models of houses belonging to the middle-class and the nobility, reconstructed down to the smallest detail.
The history of the "Golden Age of Toys" begins with coaches drawn by teams of tin horses, with cars and motor cycles, continuing with aircraft, airplanes, paddle-steamers and ocean-going liners and closing with toy trains, including the oldest Märklin engines, train stations and every accessory possible. Farms are populated by animals from the woods and fields, exotic wild animals are presented in a zoo and in circus rings and clockwork tin clowns bring to life a world of swings and roundabouts.
In addition, the old teddy-bears deserve a mention, several hundred Barbie dolls, tin robots, steam-engines, Schuco cars, building bricks and games, physical, optical and musical toys and many other surprises, plus the most famous and most valuable tin toy clockwork wonders from France, Germany, and America.
Old Wastewater Treatment Plant
A unique monument, which is a testament to the history of architecture, engineering and wastewater treatment, is located near the Stromovka Royal Game Reserve. On the premises, you can look into the original spaces with remains of the original technology. During the tour you will see the still-functional steam engine room from 1903, photographs and historical documents, a collection of narrow gauge railway vehicles and an exhibition of historical "hygiene furniture".
The tour includes a visit to the underground operations building, where visitors can learn about the history of sewerage and wastewater treatment. One floor above, in the steam engine room, still-functional pump units from 1903 can be seen - these are put into operation on special occasions. Interpretation is complemented by photos and extracts from the original project documentation. The old sewage treatment plant in Prague - Bubeneč is an important document in the history of architecture, engineering and water management. It was built in 1901-1906 as the last systematic sewerage network in Prague. It was responsible for cleaning the majority of Prague’s wastewater until 1967.
In reconstructed cellar spaces in Celetná Street in the centre of Prague is located a unique exhibition of torture law and instruments of torture.The 400 m² area contains around 100 exhibits and dozens of period etchings.
The mystical atmosphere of the whole exhibition is enhanced by wax figures set in authentic surroundings with sound effects and two special audio-visual effects (a witch-burning and execution by sword), which add to the unique experience of visiting the dungeons and the whole exhibition.
Sex Machines Museum
Sex Machines Museum (abbreviated SMM) is a sex museum in Prague, Czech Republic which has a collection of sex devices. Established in 2002, it is located near the Old Town Square. The official website of the Sex Machines Museum describes itself as "an exposition of mechanical erotic appliances, the purpose of which is to bring pleasure and allow extraordinary and unusual positions during intercourse." It is the only sex museum in the world solely dedicated to sex machines.
The three floored museum has a collection of approximately 200 gadgets, many of which are accompanied by flexible dummies for better understanding. Some of the appliances were made as early as the 16th century. Its collections include body harnesses and "copulation tables" the purpose of which were to facilitate unconventional, even weightless, sex positions, instruments for the stimulation of "penile, scrotal, anal, vaginal and clitoral tissue" including a vibrator, wicked finger-spikes, "coercive" chairs designed for "absolute domination", an Asian "Magic Box" palanquin which has sliding peepholes, throne chairs with a hole in the seat to facilitate oral sex, chastity belts with clawed teeth which dates back to the 1580s, iron corsets etc. There is an anti-masturbation appliance for boys displayed in the museum which was made in France during the 1920s. It contained an electronic ring which was placed on the penis. The ring automatically switched on when there was an erection so that the boy's parents could become aware. Shoes worn by ancient Greek prostitutes are displayed in the museum. These shoes had the sentence "follow my steps" engraved on the soles so that they could leave an imprint on the ground. It also has a collection of erotic clothing. The art gallery in SMM has collection of images pertaining to human sexuality. There is a theaterette in the museum which shows some of the world's earliest pornographic films directed in Spain during the 1920s.
After the opening of the museum, city officials in Prague criticized it for what they viewed to be its "disagreeable" content. This increased the popularity of the Sex Machines Museum among tourists.
- The oldest functioning carousel in Europe is located in the Letná Park. The carousel was constructed in 1892 and was originally located in another part of town. It was moved to the park in 1894. Coordinates: 50°05′47.75″N 14°25′30.00″E
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