153 - A view of the Old Town
The Crown Prince Rudolf Embankment as seen from Železná (Iron), also Řetězová (Chain), or Rudolfova (Rudolf) platform bridge. On the left we can see the Rudolfinum, on the right the building of the Arts and Crafts School. The pedestrian bridge was built in the years 1868-1870 at a cost of 272 thousand guldens on the site of the time-honoured municipal (lower) ferry to the north of the present day Mánes Bridge. The bridge stood on only one pillar fixed in the river bed, it was 200 metres long and 3.8 metres wide. The designer of the bridge was K. Veselý, iron was supplied by the British firm Ruston & Co. and chains from another firm in Sheffield. The bridge was removed in 1914, and the only trace of its existence is the name of the Lesser Town street U Železné lávky (At the Iron Bridge). At that time there already existed the neigbouring Franz Ferdinand d’Este Bridge made of stone, nowadays called Mánesův Bridge. The two soldiers in the picture are apparently on their way from the nearby Bruské Barracks in the Lesser Town.
COLOURED COMBINED PRINT. V. KRÁTKORUKÝ, AROUND 1906
154 - The Rudolfinum, today called Dům umělců (The Artists’ House)
Was built by J. Schulz and J. Zítek in the years 1876-1886 in honour of the Crown Prince Rudolf. The 2 million guldens this construction cost was financed by the Czech Savings Bank. The northern wing of the building holds art collections, the southern wing houses a concert hall. Before the Second World War the Rudolfinum served as the seat of the Czechoslovak Parliament. The building was erected on a terrain elevated by dumps and in the context of the newly arranged embankment. The original terrain was approximately at the height of the foot of the staircase we can see in the forefront of the picture. This lower terrain was apparently the level of the Jewish Town before its clearance. The street between the railing and the Rudolfinum was called Sanytrová after the enormous heaps of malodorous saltpetre (in colloquial Czech sanytr) used for production of gunpowder. The heaps reached the height of four-storey buildings and were here from the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century.
155 - Complex of mostly Neo-Renaissance school buildings in Křižovnická Street, loking towards the Rudolfinum
They were built here on an artificially elevated terrain in the years 1879-1885. On the left there is the Basic Boys’ School of St Francis, its girls’ counterpart is in the other wing of the building facing the embankment. The middle building housed the Institute for the Education of Woman Teachers also called the Paedagogium, founded in 1870. The next structure is the Arts and Crafts School built in the years 1881-1884, to plans by F. Schmoranz junior and J. Machytka, as the first institution of its kind in Austria. It also housed a Painters’ Academy which, in 1902, moved to its own building in Letná. At the furthest right we can see the beginning of a paved depression with railings and stairs (see the previous picture) which provided access to older buildings still standing on the original lower level of the terrain.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. F. J. JEDLIČKA, 1906
156 - Platnéřská Street as seen from Mikulášská Street looking towards Mariánské Square
It used to be one of the oldest and most picturesque lanes in the Old Town with gabled, originally Gothic houses, later remodelled in Renaissance or Baroque style. From the 14th century it was called Ostružnická (i.e. the spur street) or Platnéřská (i.e. armour-plated street), after the most important product of the street’s craftsmen, namely spurs or armour made from plate. However, the street was also known for its production of arms. In the 17th century these crafts began to fade from the street, and from the beginning of the 19th century the street already had a new name, Klempířská (i.e. tinsmiths´street). The building U Tří jezdců (The Three Riders), No. 121, on the northern side of the street on the right, was at the beginning of the 16th century owned by the caretaker of the Old Town Clock, Jakub. The building U Železného muže (The Iron Man) beyond it, No. 119, used to be the seat (from 1573) of the Guild of Armour Makers, as is reflected in the house sign: a knight in armour.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. REINICKE & RUBIN, MAGDEBURG, 1904
157 - A view of Linhartské Square looking towards the Klementinum
The space arose here in the Middle Ages through the parcelling out of the Romanesque Jaroš Courtyard. It was on this site that, from the end of the 13th century, stood the Church of St Linhart. Near the Courtyard there was also a settlement of merchants, most likely French. From 1346 the place was used as (and called) the New Hen Market, as it specialized in selling poultry. The 16th century saw here a rise of municipal kitchens for Prague’s poor. Hence another historical name of this area, V Kuchyňkách (In the Kitchens). The Church of St Linhart and its cemetery stood originally on the site depicted in the picture (on lot No. 128). The second building on the right, No. 129, with the protruding corner, stood close to the church entrance. In front of it stands a Baroque structure which was probably constructed after demolition of the Church in 1789. Standing beyond buildings Nos. 133 and 131 (in the middle of the picture) was, until 1791, the Church of Our Lady in the Pool with a cemetery. While the left side of the Square is still extant, the buildings on the right were all demolished in 1908.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. F. J. JEDLIČKA, 1906
158 - A view of Platnéřská Street as seen from Mariánské Square, looking towards Mikulášská Street
On the left, on the northern side of the street, we can see the building U Zlaté koule (The Golden Ball), No. 106, with the inn U Města Plzně (The Town of Pilsen) with a lantern above the entrance, beyond it the Renaissance building U Sedmi Švábů (The Seven Swabians), No. 108, on the corner of Žatecká Street. (The other corner building was, from 1865, a home of the Prague executioner, J. Pipperger, an upholsterer by profession. Pipperger carried out executions till his death in 1888.) Above the intersection with Žatecká Street continues the row of buildings we can see from the opposite angle to that in picture 156. The whole street was demolished in 1908, terrain elevated by 2 metres, and on it the new axis of the new Platnéřská Street was fixed. On the site of the whole left block of buildings up to the intersection with Žatecká Street the City Library was built by F. Roith between 1926-1930. Demolition of Platnéřská Street is undoubtedly one of the worst losses that occurred in the wake of the Old Town clearance.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. K. ZUNA, AROUND 1902
159 - The northern side of Mariánské Square after demolition of the corner building No. 102 (in 1890)
On the left we can see the corner of the Klementinum, further the building housing the City Library founded in 1891. The Library was moved here in 1903. Its fund of books at the turn of the century amounted to 40 thousand volumes. The hefty four-storey building with the statue of the Virgin Mary, Nos. 101 and 103, was owned by one Sommerschus who sold and probably also produced stoves. The space around the heap of paving blocks was covered until 1791 by the Church of Our Lady in the Pool and by a cemetery (the name of the Church refers to the pools that appeared here after each summer flood). The demolished building, No. 102, in Platnéřská Street (in front of the buildings on the right) housed from 1771 the first workshop of F. Ringhoffer who enriched himself so much by the production of vats for breweries that in the course of time he could buy another five buildings in the neighbourhood. His descendants then expanded production and in 1852 moved the now legendary firm to large factory halls in the Prague Quarter of Smíchov where their activities also included production of railway and tram cars. The buildings in the picture were demolished in 1908, except for the rear wings of buildings Nos. 101 and 103, to make way for the new building of the City Library.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. PICTURE AROUND 1896. Z. REACH, 1920s
160 - The northern side of Linhartské Square looking towards Mikulášská Street
On the left there is the building U Kozla (The Buck), also called U Zlatého čápa (The Golden Stork), No. 114, in the years 1840-1843 the domicile of the author of the lyrics of the Czech national anthem and playwright J. K. Tyl. Further we can see the buildings U Modré boty (The Blue Shoe), No. 129, and U Černého orla (The Black Eagle) which share the number 128 with two further structures. On the site of these two buildings and in the space in front of them stood the above cited Church of St Linhart with a cemetery. In the background we can see building No. 12, U Zlatého zvonku (The Golden Bell) with arcades, which was a part of Linhartské Square. It could not be seen from this place until 1798 as the view was obscured by the Church. All the buildings on the left side were demolished in 1908 to make way for construction of the New Town Hall. The Square was then changed into Linhartská Street, with a new, shifted street line.
FOUR-COLOUR AUTOTYPE. AFTER AN OIL-PAINTING BY J. MINAŘÍK, AROUND 1907.F. J. JEDLIČKA, AROUND 1915
161 - A picture of the north-western part of the Town Hall block taken from the roof of a building in Kaprová Street
The opening to view of the original, narrow Mikulášská Street was made possible by demolition of the whole block of old buildings delimited by Kaprová and Žatecká Streets and Linhartské Square. The group of structures we can see in the picture are among the oldest in the Old Town (prevalently Gothic, on the left side remodelled in Neo-Classical style and in Baroque style on the right side, with Nos. 12, 11 and 10 with Romanesque foundations). The best-known of them, the building U Zelené žáby (The Green Frog), No. 13, with a famous wine parlour, is in the middle of the picture, under the tower of the Old Town Hall. The enclosure on the left protects the remnants of the Romanesque building No.16, Andělská Kolej (the Angelic Hostel), the former student hostel founded by Charles IV, which was uncovered during clearance. The body of the structure was demolished in 1911, two previous years of passionate polemics and protests notwithstanding. The place became the site of the construction of the New Town Hall, currently housing the Prague City Hall.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1909
162 - A view of Mikulášská Street with a part of the New Town Hall block as seen from Kaprová Street
The tower on the left is that of the Baroque Church of St Nicholas. Alongside it is the Neo-Baroque structure of 1902 by R. Kříženecký which replaced the old Prelates’ Office of the abolished Monastery of the Slavonic Dominicans, demolished in 1897. The former Prelates’ Office housed, in the years 1859-1897, a workshop and a printing office of the well-known firm K. Bellmann which later specialised in publication of Prague postcards. Last but not least, it was the birthplace (in 1883) of the writer F. Kafka. The picture shows the situation after clearance. On the right there is the building of the New Town Hall, constructed between 1908-1911 by O. Polívka. The side wing of the Town Hall creates a part of the new Platnéřská Street. The empty lot next to the extended Kaprová Street was used in the 1920s for construction of Pragues’ City Administration Building. On the site of the stored construction material stood the former Andělská Kolej (the Angelic Hostel) (see picture 161), allegedly the oldest residential building in Prague.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. J. ŠOREYS, AROUND 1914
163 - The eastern front of the Klementinum at Mariánské Square
The Klementinum was founded by the Jesuit Order summoned to Prague by Ferdinand I on the site of the older Dominican Monastery and Church of St Clement, dating back to the 11th century (hence the Klementinum). The construction of the whole Baroque complex was begun approximately in 1600 by C. Lurago, and completed about 1730 by F. M. Kaňka, and possibly also by K. I. Dientzenhofer. The mission of the Jesuit Order was to spread the Roman Catholic faith, education and school institutions. In 1654 Ferdinand III connected the Klementinum University with Charles University into one, Charles-Ferdinand University. In 1773 the Jesuit Order was abolished, and the Klementinum became the domicile of the Archiepiscopal Seminary which was in turn moved to the Prague Quarter of Dejvice in 1928. From 1842 the tower of the astronomical observatory on the left was used for announcing noon (by thence waving a flag). The book fund of the Klementinum Library amounted in 1900 to 2 million volumes. Today the whole Klementinum complex serves the purposes of the National Library.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1899
164 - The northern side of Malé Square with a glimpse of Linhartské Square
In popular parlance the whole area used to be called (and still is by some) Malý ryneček (The Small Marketplace). On the left there is a part of building No. 143, followed by the Neo-Renaissance building U Tří bílých růží (The Three White Roses), new No. 142, built by F. Rechsiegel in the years 1895-1897 with sgraffiti designed by M. Aleš. From 1850 to 1990 this building housed the most popular ironmongery in Prague, V. J. Rott, nowadays it houses a luxurious delicatessen. The corner building U Černého beránka (The Black Lamb), No. 138, constructed in 1871 by I. Ullmann, was also owned by Rott. This building housed the Old Town Post Office. On the right we can see a part of building No. 4. In the middle of the Square there is a fountain with a Renaissance lattice from 1560, which used to be covered on the cold days of winter with wooden casing filled with manure to protect the lattice against freezing. A model of this Renaissance square(to an authentic scale) could be seen by visitors to the Ethnographic Exhibition in 1895.
165 - A view of the north-eastern front of the buildings of Malé Square
On the right we can see the Late Renaissance Petzold Building known also as Zlatý roh (The Golden Horn), No. 4. The original ground floor shops (such as that of the First Czech Dairy in Prague on the margin of the picture) were removed in the 1930s to make way for the arcade restoration. The arcades of the further five buildings had been preserved. In the background we have a glimpse of the narrow Mikulášská Lane with a part of the corner of building No. 128 on Linhartské Square, linked at this point in time with the tram system. On the left, in the space before the fountain, stands a miniaturized version of the four-branch Lindsbauer gas lamp post. In comparison with the previous picture it is obvious that the lamp post has undergone a curious adaptation of the gas lanterns with what appear to be electric bulbs.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. PICTURE AROUND 1907. Z. REACH, 1920s
166 - The southern side of Malé Square
With the imposing, originally Gothic buildings owned in the past by foreign pharmacists. There were seven of them in Prague at the beginning of the 14th century, all of them settled in the Old Town, e.g. Augustino of Florence whose pharmacy was in the building U Modrého jelena (The Blue Deer, also known as the Richter House), No. 459 (the first on the left), or Angelo, likewise from Florence, whose pharmacy was in the building called V Ráji (In Paradise), No. 144 (the second on the right). The other buildings also housed apothecaries, however only one of them continues in the tradition: U Zlaté koruny (The Golden Crown), No. 457 (in the middle of the picture). Apart from medicaments the pharmacists used to produce various kinds of sweets (there were no specialised sweet shops in those days). The Blue Deer Building also made history by housing the first telephone exchange in Prague, launched in 1882 with 98 participants. Next to the fountain we can see the cast-iron stand of the municipal water main.
182 - A view of Na Můstku (At the Bridge) Street as seen from Václavské Square, looking towards Rytířská Street
The ancient name is derived from the little stone Gothic bridge over the moat which started at a gate in the Old Town fortification, and its remnants are in the vestibule of the Můstek Metro Station. The fortification still stood here long after founding of the New Town and was demolished only at the end of the 17th century. The corner building on the right, new No. 388, constructed in 1900, was known for the department store of E. Löbl which sold cloth, and a café originally called Kovářova, later the Edison. Beyond it stands a slightly older structure with a bay called U Kasírů. Both buildings were demolished in the mid-1970s in connection with construction of the Metro, and on their site the building of the ČKD Company was erected in the 1980s. In the background, on the corner of Provaznická Street, is building No. 386 with the shop of A. Müller. At the furthest left we can see the famous jewelry shop of J. Rechner. The buildings on the left side of the street, and the original buildings on the right side, between Provaznická and Rytířská Streets, are still extant.
COLOURED COMBINED PRINT. AROUND 1905
183 - Na Můstku Street from an opposite angle to that in the previous picture
Thanks to this publicity postcard of the M. Pressburg Company (a cravat manufacturer) we have an interesting view of Václavské Square. On the left is the above-cited bay of the u Kasírů Building, new No. 387, behind it is the building U Zlatého jednorožce (The Golden Unicorn), protruding into the street. Its demolition in 1900 made it possible to shift the street line, broaden the street and to build the Löbl department store (see picture 312). On the right, behind the block of buildings, once stood the Gate of St Gall, the largest and most important gate in the Old Town fortification. However, by creating a street in this area shortly after founding of the New Town which connected the Old Town with Václavské Square, the Gate lost its significance. The striking advertisement for the Na Příkopě based money exchange of J. G. Selig proves that the busy centre of Prague could not, even a century ago, do without exchange offices.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1897
184 - A picture of Melantrichova Street as seen from Rytířská Street, showing both sides of the street
In the rear, in front of building No. 463, the street turns to the right and eventually intersects with Staroměstské Square (see picture 186). On the left we can see a small group of ladies attracted by the shop window of the firm O. Tuček. The exquisite Neo-Renaissance carved frame of the shop window is decorated on the corner by two lions, illustrating the name of this Neo-Classical building of 1835, built on the site of three small Gothic cloth shops, namely U Dvou červených lvů (The Two Red Lions). The Neo-Renaissance building, new No. 536, of 1894 on the opposite corner houses the City Savings Bank. This building also replaced the original small shops (see picture 195). It was at that time that the Prague city planners seriously considered demolition of a number of buildings between Václavské Square and Staroměstské Square in order to create a boulevard linking the two squares, passing through the Na Můstku and Melantrichova Streets.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1907
185 - The south-western side of Melantrichova Street as seen from Rytířská Street
The first two buildings on the left, Nos. 962 and 514, and the lane which separates them, arose in the 18th and 19th centuries on the site of small mediaeval textile shops. This historical past is reflected in the name of the lane: V Kotcích (The Small Shops). The third building on the left on the corner of Havelská Street was in the 14th century owned by J. Junoš, one of the handful of Prague burghers who lived in the German Havelské Town. Junoš’s building housed in 1597 the printing office of D. Sedlčanský who published what is regarded as the first Czech periodical (according to the 1903 Chronicle of J. Ruth), Noviny pořádné, probably one of the first Central European periodicals. As we can see in the picture, the streets are cleaned by women, apparently instead of the male street cleaners who had to go to war. Typical of the first war years is also the fashion of gentlemen’s straw boaters which spread like wildfire throughout Central Europe in the summer of 1914.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. PICTURE AROUND 1915. Z. REACH, 1920s
186 - A section of Melantrichova Street before Staroměstské Square
On the left we can see a part of a building, with another beautifully carved window frame, which is probably a fashion shop, and beyond it two buildings of the former Servite Monastery of St Michael, Nos. 970 and 971. The Baroque Monastery of the Servites was founded in 1628, and abolished by Emperor Josef II. Next to the protruding corner with the advertisement for the C. Lüftner Company (a warehouse for leather and preparations for shoemakers) is the passage to the St Michael Church. This church, first documented in 1313, saw, 90 years later, the first preachings of Master John Huss. From the 17th century the street was called Sirková (derived from the Czech word for sulphur, which was sold here). In 1894 it was renamed after the Czech nobleman J. Melantrich from Aventinum who owned his legendary printing office in the building U Dvou velbloudů (The Two Camels), No. 471. This building is just off the picture, to the right of the photographer. The pulled-down shutters hid the shop windows of mostly furriers’ shops. The shutters had to be down as it was either Sunday or one of the church holidays, both strictly observed in the Austrian Monarchy.
187 - A view of Železná Street as seen from the Stavovské Theatre, looking towards Staroměstské Square
The name of the street was derived from the presence, from the 14th century, of many ironmongeries in the street. In the 16th century the street was inhabited by a number of foreign, especially German merchants. On the left we can see the former Monastery of the Shoe-wearing Carmelites linked to the Church of St Gall. One could get to the Church through Havelská Street which begins at the corner building U Goliáše (The Goliath). The building with an arcade and gables, No. 495, and the building beyond it, No. 494, both dating back to the 17th century, were demolished in 1898. They were replaced by a Neo-Renaissance commercial and residential building (see picture 189). On the right is the corner of the Karolinum and the lane leading to Ovocný trh Square. At the time this picture was taken, the abolished monastery housed the Association for the Advancement of Industries in Bohemia, founded in 1833. From 1849 it was the seat of the Prague Realgymnasium (grammar-school with a scientific bias) with Czech as the language of instruction, and later the seat of the Imperial Royal Lace Factory.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. PICTURE 1898. Z. REACH, 1920s
188 - The intersection of Melantrichova Street with Staroměstské Square
With the buildings Na Kamenci (On the Stone) and U Vola (The Ox). Both buildings are connected by a horizontal arch. The narrowness and meandering of mediaeval lanes was partly unintentional, partly intentional. In the first case it was the result of the more or less spontaneous attempt to make the most of the available space and to broaden one’s own premises at the expense of the public road. This arbitrariness was in some cases so flagrant that the use of parcels for building had to be regulated by special rules. In cases where this was intentional, the reasons were defensive, especially in towns bothered by frequent enemy attacks, as the meandering streets offered better cover to the defenders when retreating. In this Sunday picture we can see the above-mentioned shops of A. Horák and E. Bittner (see picture 168).
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. PICTURE AROUND 1910. Z. REACH, 1920s
189 - A view of Železná Street as seen from Rytířská Street
From an angle opposite to that in picture 187. The present picture was taken several years later and from a greater distance. In the picture we can see the corner of No. 539 with a shop selling linen goods, and a part of the front of what is now called Stavovské divadlo (The Theatre of the Estates) and what was then the Royal Provincial German Theatre. On the site of two houses called U Goliáše (The Goliath) stands a five-storey Neo-Renaissance building of the same name. The name is also epitomised by the statue on the level of the second storey. Behind the Theatre we can see a part of the building of the Karolinum. Beyond it the street turns somewhat to the left and ends at the intersection with Staroměstské Square.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1907
190 - Vejvodova Street, narrow and picturesque, as seen from Jilská Street, looking towards Michalská Street
On the right we can see a part of the building U Zlatého kohouta (The Golden Rooster), No. 430 (with a second front facing Michalská Street), further the building U Žluté růže (The Yellow Rose), No. 431, with an unusual roofed underpass which houses a part of a flat. Vejvodova Street owes its name to the Lord Mayor J. V. Vejvoda who, in the 18th century, owned a building on the corner of Jilská Street (No. 353 - on the right, just off the picture). Previously the street was called Míčová (Ball Street), after the real tennis court at the house on the opposite corner of Jilská Street (No. 445, on the left, just off the picture). This house was bought in 1675 by the Italian V. Ringolini. It was the venue not only of ball games, but also of dancing parties. Ringolini was one of the dancing masters who taught Prague people how to dance foreign dances. He also acquired the exclusive right to hold balls in the Old Town.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1909
191 - The building of the Karolinum on the corner of Železná Street and Ovocný trh Square
This centre of Charles University, the oldest university in Central Europe, has always been connected with fate and social development of the Czech nation. This was the case with issuing of the Decree of Kutná Hora, with activities of John Huss, or with the student movement in 1848. The university was founded by Charles IV on April 7, 1348 for the good of the Kingdom of Bohemia so that its inhabitants eager to get acquainted with arts would not have to look for this abroad, but would have access to these arts in their own kingdom. Of the original Gothic Rothlev House only the bay Chapel of St Cosmo and St Damian survived the Baroque remodelling by F. M. Kaňka. The ground floor used to house shops of booksellers and pharmacists. Around the year 1910 the building housed a hairdressers and the Maader and Son Company - the exclusive representative office of the fishing company Nordsee. The space between the Karolinum and the Stavovské Theatre (on the right) was used for trading in dogs.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. PICTURE AROUND 1910. Z. REACH, 1920s
All contents of this website are protected by copyright. Copying, distribution or any other usage of the contents is strictly prohibited without a prior approval of the authors. Breaking of the copyright or an unauthorized usage of the contents of this website can be prosecuted within the civil and criminal trial.