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Town Old Building of the Old Town (Staromestská Radnice)

Town Old Building of the Old Town (Staromestská Radnice) (9)

One of the architectural complexes in the Old Town Square is the old Town Hall. It is a series of Gothic and Renaissance buildings that were built and added to until 1886 in time with the growth of the city. Although the municipal offices are no longer here, it continues to be a big tourist attraction and is still an important place for the Prague locals.

Its history dates back to 1338, when King John of Luxembourg decided to constitute a municipal council. This was when he decided to buy the house of Wolflin of Kamen and turn it into the first municipal offices. They say that the money to buy the house came from the taxes on the wine a tavern sold. It also seems that this same tavern is the one standing today opposite the clock tower.

After the Catholic victory in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, Emperor Ferdinand II ordered the Hussite leaders to be executed in the square. It is said that their cut heads hung for ten years from the Charles Bridge. Beneath the Town hall chapel a plaque recalls their names.

In 1945 the Nazis blew up part of the Town Hall because they thought that the headquarters of the Resistance was hidden there. At end of the war, with several parts destroyed, the Town Hall building did not have enough space to house the municipal services. They were moved to the current City Hall.

The first house where the Town Hall was in the 14th century, Wolflin of Kamen House, has a Gothic-style front door. It is the work of the artist Matthias Rejsek. In the lobby you can see the mosaics based on the drawings of the Modernist Mikulás Ales, from the late-19th century.

Next you will see Kriz House, where a Renaissance window and Baroque grille stand out. The façade also shows the coat of arms of the city, with the inscription “Prague, head of the kingdom”.

Alongside Kriz House, Mikes House was bought by from a furrier in 1458 and rebuilt in neo-Renaissance style more than 400 years later.

To its left, the Cock House was decorated in imperial style in 1830 and houses the tourist information office.

In 1886 the last building of the Town Hall complex was added, called the Minute House. Its façade is decorated with biblical and mythical scenes using the sgraffito technique.

In 1364 the tower was built in the Wolflin of Kamen House. The gallery is used as a viewpoint and provides very good views over the Old Town. The same tower also houses the astronomical clock, one of the most well-known spots in Prague.

On a corner beneath the tower you can visit a small chapel, added at the end of the 14th century. The stained-glass windows that decorated it were destroyed by the Nazis in 1945 and replaced in 1987.

Some parts of the building are open to the public, including the vestibule, the Old Council Hall from the 15th century and the 19th-century Meeting Hall. In the council hall you will be able to appreciate the works that Vaclav Brozik painted at the end of the 19th century inspired by the figure of Jan Hus. Some of its rooms conserve ceilings with Renaissance decoration.

The Old Town Hall is used today as an exhibition room and to hold council functions. It is also the place where many citizens of Prague go to say “I do”, since many weddings are held here.

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