OLD TOWN HALL
Petit Futé's opinion on OLD TOWN HALL
The construction of the Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice) was authorised in 1338 by Jean de Luxembourg. The inhabitants raised funds for its construction, but not enough to build a new building. So they bought an existing house, which was renovated and then expanded over the years with the acquisition of neighbouring homes.
The first, Gothic, was purchased in 1338 and a tower with a chapel was later built just next door. The second floor of the house has remained intact until today and it is in this room that weddings are celebrated. The next one is the one that bears the Renaissance window with the inscription Praga caput regni (Praha, the head of the kingdom). The next two houses were purchased much later. In front of the tower, on the mosaic of the sidewalk, twenty-seven crosses are drawn. They symbolize the twenty-seven leaders of the revolt against the Habsburgs, beheaded in 1621 after the Battle of the White Mountain.
The tower of the old town hall. It was built to symbolize and reinforce the political role of the whole. It is 70 m high. It is possible to climb up and dominate the district while enjoying a wonderful view. A sloping access ramp or elevator can be used. The summit is therefore easily accessible
The house "to the minute" (Dům U minuty). As part of the complex of buildings making up the town hall, the "à la minute" house (Dům U minuty) - so called because it housed a pharmacy accessible from all parts of the Old City in less than a minute - is remarkable for the sgraffiti that covers its façade. They date from the Renaissance and are one of the most beautiful examples of this technique of wall decoration. In 1896, it was the last acquisition to expand the Town Hall. The Kafka family lived there for seven years.
If you now return to the side of the Old Town Square and carefully observe the facade, you will notice that the building lines seem to be suddenly interrupted. This is explained by the disappearance of a part of the building, blown by a bomb during the Second World War, and which was never rebuilt. These successive additions on one side and this amputation on the other explain the wobbly character and in any case the very contrasted and totally atypical aspect of the Town Hall.
Go to the northwest corner of City Hall, where there is a small brewery where it is said that the Prague executioner had his habits. The latter is represented in a large pre-war painting on the wall of the restaurant. You can also see the Town Hall in its original state in the background, before the damage caused by the bombardment.
Prague Astronomical Clock (Pražský Orloj). What holds the public's attention (a crowd of curious people, their eyes fixed on a video camera screen) every hour is the Orloj, a 600-year-old astronomical clock whose mechanism, originally, operates characters (the twelve apostles, Death, the Miser, the Vanity, the Turk). These figures are recent as they date from 1948 and replace those destroyed by the Nazis in 1945. The central dial indicates, thanks to three hands, the position of the sun, the moon, the planets and still... the time.
Information on OLD TOWN HALL
Every day from 9am to 10pm. 250 Kč. City Hall, consult the website (schedules available at 7 days).
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