“So, last week, I mentioned that there is currently an initiative in Prague where, if you choose to visit one of nine of the museums in the city, you’re given a ticket that allows you to visit nine for the price of one over the course of five days. This is not an initiative that was started to encourage people to visit the museums after the lockdown, and has actually been in place since at least last year.
As expected, I didn’t have enough time to visit all nine because I’m not on holiday and because I also happen to be quite busy but also because museums generally tend to close too early.
There are reasons for that as artworks too need to breathe and proper cleanups of the place need to be done in order to protect whatever artifacts or historical artifact is displayed but as a result, during the week for most people, it is particularly hard to sporadically take trips to the museum.
Yet, that’s when I like to go, on weekday mornings, because I know that unless I encounter a party of schoolkids on a school trip or the annoying tourists wearing that deadly sandals and socks combo, I know there’s going to be less people, which would allow me to have a more immersive experience.
Of about four museums I got to visit, my favorite experience was easily that of the historical building of the National Museum in Prague. And it wasn’t so much the exhibitions, which in general, in all of the museums I visited, were a bit underwhelming. But it was the building itself that is absolutely stunning. It was actually closed for almost a decade for renovations and only recently reopened for the public, though renovation is not yet completed.
The current historical building of the National Museum of Prague, which is located in Wenceslas Square, actually dates back to 1891 and as mentioned, it was built according to plans by architect Josef Schulz. It has also been a national cultural monument since 1962.
The style of the architecture is neo-renaissance, which is a type of architecture by a group of 19th century revivalists who drew inspiration from a wide range of classicizing Italian modes. The entrance hall to the Historical Building is grand, with sweeping staircases, intricate stonework and beautiful ceiling frescos.
The dome hall is absolutely breathtaking. Not only is it adorned with some beautiful frescos and a cupola of stained glass. But it also offers an amazing view of Wenceslas Square. So, you can easily spend half an hour in that hall alone or more, and not even notice time going by. And that’s kind of what I did and I was glad.
It’s worth mentioning that the Historical Building is connected via an underground tunnel to a New Building of the National Museum of Prague, which is just across the street from it. This modern expansion means that as soon as the renovations of the Historical Building in Prague is completed, Prague will have expanded its exhibition space considerably.
And while everybody knows that Prague is truly a gem of arts and culture of the entire European continent, perhaps the most Bohemian of all capital cities — if you’ll pardon the pun — this museum expansion makes me think or predict that Prague will truly become a major center for the art market in the not so distant future.”