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Prague’s Municipal House celebrates its 100th anniversary

photo:  (czechtourism.com)

The Municipal House in Prague is considered one of the greatest Art-Nouveau buildings in Prague. It was ceremoniously opened to the public on 5 January 1912. It was much criticised at first for its lack of modishness and outdated style, while now it belongs among the most visited monuments in the Czech Republic. The year 2012 is an important one for the Municipal House as it marks the 100th anniversary of its construction.

The Municipal House is located at náměstí Republiky (Republic Square) (Map) in the centre of Prague, in direct vicinity of Powder Tower. Visitors and passers-by will not only notice the majestic building complex but they will undoubtedly also mark the rich decoration of the building and statues, which create the uniqueness of the building and provoke admiration. 

This monument was built according to the plans of architects Antonín Balšánek and Osvald Polívka on the place of the former residence of Czech kings, the King’s Court, between 1905 and 1912. The most significant Czech painters and sculptors of the beginning of the 20th century collaborated on decorating the Municipal House, including Mikoláš Aleš, Max Švabinský, František Ženíšek, Ladislav Šaloun, Karel Novák, Josef Mařatka, Josef Václav Myslbek, Alfons Mucha, Karel Špillar, Jan Preisler, and others.

Since the very beginning, the Municipal House has served mainly for representative purposes. It consists of several halls and representative chambers, the largest of which is Smetana Hall. It was in the Municipal House that the independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed on 28 October 1918. In November 1989, the first meetings of the communist government and the representatives of the Civic Forum headed by Václav Havel took place in the building.

The house underwent a thorough reconstruction from 1994 to 1997. Concerts, exhibitions, congresses, balls, fashion shows and other social events are organised there today. There are several restaurants and cafes on the ground floor and in the basement.

An exhibition called “1912” was installed in the Municipal House premises on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, which looks back at the time of the construction of Municipal House. The exhibition includes pieces of art by famous artists, who collaborated on the Municipal House decoration a hundred years ago, as well as those that were presented there during the historically first exhibitions in 1912. Paintings and plastic sculptures are complemented by examples of applied art representing the kind of art produced a hundred years ago. The exhibition will be open until 31 January 2013. You can find more information about the exhibition here.

Author: Romana Kuncová
Added: 04.12.2012

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