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Old Town Hall Prague Cz
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Prague’s Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice), founded in 1338, is a hotchpotch of medieval buildings acquired piecemeal over the centuries, presided over by a tall Gothic tower with a splendid Astronomical Clock. This was once the scene of a violent mass murder – 27 Czech statesmen were forced out of a window and fell to their deaths below. 27 white cobblestone crosses mark the spot, forever reminding Czechs of the possible danger in standing up to authority.
The right-hand edge of Old Town Hall's neogothic eastern gable is ragged – the wing that once extended north from here as well as a Gothic chapel were blown up by the Nazis in 1945, one day before the Soviet army marched into the city.
On the tower's left is the exquisite 'House at the Minute' (dům U minuty - Minute House), an arcaded building covered with Renaissance sgraffito – Franz Kafka lived here (1889–96) as a child. Demolishing the house “At the Minute” was considered in the early 20th century, but fortunately it was saved and in 1919 the Renaissance sgraffitoes from the 17th century were discovered.
Inside, the Old Town Hall offers insights to the inner workings of the 12 apostles who parade above the Astronomical Clock every hour, as well as several other historic attractions, e.g. beautiful mosaics from the 1930s, and Romanesque and Gothic cellars beneath the building.
However, the town hall’s best feature are the views from its 60m-tall tower. They give a lovely perspective on the fascinating 'roofscape' of Prague's Old Town. The area outside Old Town Hall is one of the most crowded corners of Old Town Square, especially during the hourly show put on by the Astronomical Clock.
May 8th, 2012
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