This magnificent building was built between 1906 and 1911 according to the plans of Antonin Balšánek and Osvald Polívka on the site where the royal court was located in the 14th century. That is why the Royal Route began here, because the crowned heads started from Prašná Brána, the Powder Tower, which adjoins the town house, their crossing from the city to Prague Castle via the Charles Bridge. It is a monumental building, a pure product of the Secession, decorated by the greatest Czech artists of this movement, including Mucha, Aleš, Preisler, Švabinský, Šaloun and many others. It is entered through a rotunda from which two large wings develop. A lot of care is taken in the details: drawing of curtains, light fixtures, door handles, etc. The building, which is sometimes used for congresses or conferences, is home above all to the Czech Philharmonic, which offers a varied programme almost every evening in the impressive 1,500-seat concert hall, known as the Smetana Hall.
It is also the venue where the Pražké Jaro International Music Festival, the Prague Spring, is launched every year to the sound of Má Vlast de Smetana. Gourmands will also find something to eat with, in the basement, a typical restaurant with its wooden tables and pints of draught beer, and on the ground floor a café and a French restaurant. If coffee is worth a visit for its decoration, it is better to leave it at that: consumption is not up to par, unlike the price..
Art Nouveau characterizes this building from both inside and out, and the vicinity of the Gothic Powder Tower, which was renovated at great expense between 1994 and 1997, only underlines its beauty. The place also has great historical significance: it is indeed here that the Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed on 28 October 1918. It was also here in November 1989 that representatives of the communist government met for the first time with the opponents of the Civic Forum, of which Václav Havel had taken the lead. Behind Obecní Dům, several Secession-style buildings have taken place on the gigantic grounds liberated by the former royal court of the Bohemian rulers. Among them, the hotel Pařiz, rather neo-Gothic in appearance, is also influenced by the Jugendstil, as evidenced by the decoration of its restaurants.
Open every day from 10am to 8pm. Guided tour (1h), 290 Kč (reduced 240 Kč) with access to the panoramic tower.
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