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Obecni Dum
Prague
Yet Another Unhijacked Masterpiece

The magnificent, yellow Municipal House (Obecni Dum) is the most astounding facade at Namesti Republiky, the primary example of Art Nouveau in Prague. Built 1905-11 by the Municipal Council, the building houses the 2nd major concert-hall of Prague, The Smetana Hall (main hall of the Prague Symphony), exhibition rooms, restaurants and a tourist information. Notice the extravagant iron-work, the interior and the huge mosaic above the balcony depicting the mythological princess Libuse. Get inside and downstairs to find the foyer shown in this image. Enjoy the mosaics of the restaurant or have a drink in the American Bar with its particular Art Deco interior. The ground floor cafe has the largest cake-pieces of Prague-cafes.

The Kings Court was at this site in the middle ages, hence the Powder Tower (Prana Brana) as connected neighbour.

The Powder Tower (1475) is the last standing of the citygates, a fine example of late gothic. The tower was build on order by King Vladislav II Jagiello, though the old town bore the cost. Its architects followed the example of Peter Parlers beautiful tower at the Charles Bridge.

Copyright: Jeffrey Martin
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 7000x3500
Uploaded: 04/09/2008
Updated: 02/06/2014
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More About Prague

  Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has long attracted artists and wandering spirits, although it was originally inhabited by prehistoric fish. Their inland sea filled the basin contained by the Tatras and Carpathian mountains, but when it eventually dried up they were forced to yield the terrain to dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and Neanderthals.     In human times the Celtic tribes came to reside here, leaving remains dating back to the 4th Century B.C.  Their tribal name, Boii, gives the root of the word "Bohemia".  The three separate territories of Bohemia, Silesia and Moravia now make up the modern Czech Republic, which split from Slovakia in the 1993 "Velvet Divorce."     Thanks to its enigmatic founder, the city of Prague derives a magnetic appeal for visionaries, scientists and astronomers.  The historical figure credited with the launch of Prague is Princess Libuse, a visionary prophet and warrior who once stood atop the hill at Vysehrad and made the prophecy as follows,     "I see a vast city, whose glory will touch the stars!"     This indeed came to pass after she took Otokar Premysl to be her husband and King, launching the Premyslid dynasty, and leaving it to rule for the first four hundred years of Czech history.  When the last Premyslid king, Wenceslas III, died without producing a male heir, the fourteen year-old John of Luxembourg came to take the throne of the Czech lands.     Hot-headed John died in battle, but his diplomatic son Charles IV inherited the throne and, through keen multi-lingual savvy, managed to both keep it and earn the title "Father of the Czech Nation."     Charles IV was the first of the Holy Roman Emperors here; he ruled during the height of Prague's elegance and splendour. This is the man to know if you want to understand Prague's layout.  He sponsored the construction of such landmarks as the Charles Bridge, the Hunger Wall and St. Vitus' Cathedral, as well as personally designing the neighborhood called New Town (Nove Mesto) which has for its center Karlovo Namesti or Charles Square.     The city displays every branch of architecture across the last thousand years, including Cubism, a style which you will be hard-pressed to find applied to buildings anywhere else in the world.  Beyond the stunning visual makeup of the city, there is a wealth of nightlife and entertainment, beginning with the legendary concert halls including the Rudolfinum, National Theater, Estates Theater and the Municipal House.     After investigating the Castle and Bridge, which are the most heavily-trafficked tourist areas, take a look around Zizkov and Letna, two of the cooler neighborhoods for bars and restaurants.     However quiet it may seem after ten PM, Prague is alive and throbbing in an endless array of basement bars, pubs, clubs, discos and pool halls waiting to be discovered by the intrepid subterranean adventurer.  To get an idea of what lies in store, check out the panoramas for Chateau and Palac Akropolis and when you're out and about, make sure you look for the stairs down to the cellar.      Apart from shopping, eating, drinking and wearing out your digital camera, delve into the rich green carpet of Prague's parks, many of which lie only walking-minutes from the city center.Text by Steve Smith.