The Main Building of the National Museum
in Prague is set in a commanding position at the top of Wenceslas Square
. It is currently closed for reconstruction until October 2018.
However, its annex, the New Building of the National Museum, is open and hosts temporary exhibitions.
Prior to its closure, the Main Building of the National Museum (Národní Muzeum) was the oldest and largest museum in the Czech Republic. A monumental neo-Renaissance structure, it was designed by Josef Schultz as an architectural symbol of the Czech National Revival.
The National Museum was constructed during the years 1818 to 1891 on the site of the former Horse Gate, so named because Wenceslas Square once served as the main horse market for the city.
The entrance hall to the National Museum is grand, with sweeping staircases and intricate stonework. There are beautiful frescos on the ceilings. However, the exhibition rooms were looking tired, and will benefit from the restoration works.
The New Building, prior to becoming part of the National Museum, was home to Radio Free Europe. And before that, during the communist era, the building served as the national parliament of Czechoslovakia.
The New Building is an iconic structure and very imposing. On top of the ground level sits a larger, oblong block of concrete and glass elevated high above street level. It is huge.
This building was constructed in the 1930s, before Nazi rule and the communist era. Perhaps it was a portent of the turmoil that was to come. Stand near it, and the New Building exudes a chilling power, more than any other in Prague.
To discover more about the National Museum, take a Prague tour:
Prague Grand City Sightseeing Tour
Prague Grand City Sightseeing Tour & Boat
Prague All Inclusive Walking Tour & Boat.