80 - A view of the highest part of Nerudova (Neruda) Street from the Town Hall Stairs towards the east
In this place, the street broadens and branches. On the right, it leads into Úvoz Street; on the left, behind the statue of St John Nepomuk, it continues past a street with the current name Ke Hradu (To the Castle). The latter constitutes the final section of the royal route, rising steeply as far as Prague Castle (for a view from the opposite direction, see picture 3). It was broken out of the rock in 1663. The house U Tří červených křížků (The Three Little Red Crosses), No. 226, abuts on the low wall of the street Ke Hradu. The picturesque shape of the western part of the house is determined by the terrain and by the angle contained by the axes of both streets.
PHOTOTYPE. F. J. JEDLIČKA, 1905
81 - The upper part of Nerudova Street viewed from the east
This is a view from the opposite side to that in the previous picture. On the left, in the background, is the house Zlatá Hvězda (The Golden Star) or U Tří králů (The Three Kings), No. 171, with the present restaurant of the same name. Top right, on the rock, can be seen a corner of the Schwarzenberg Palace. Under it, the already mentioned house U Tří červených křížků (The Three Little Red Crosses). Going to the right, a house (originally in Renaissance style) called U Tří černých orlů (The Three Black Eagles), No. 225; it has Baroque upper floors and an Empire-style front. The Czech writer J. Neruda lived here in 1859-1869. After 1924, when part of the ramp in Ke Hradu Street collapsed, the house was radically reconstructed. Further on are the houses U Tří stupňů (The Three Steps) and U Sklepa svatojánského (St John’s Cellar) with a beer bar. This picture is an example of a conscious staging of the shot by the photographer. In this case, he was obviously not satisfied with having a figure only in the left part of the photograph, and he therefore positioned another five persons in the centre of the picture. (Compare their height with that of the girl on the left.) Another interesting point is that the external windows opened outwards, in contrast to today’s practice (on the left in the picture; this is always the case in the pictures of old buildings). Windows used to have two to eight sections, so they had better resistance to undesirable torsion and, when broken, it was usually enough to glaze just the damaged part of the window.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. 1905
82 - A view of Nerudova Street from its highest and widest point
On the left, the line of houses, Nos. 226-223, already described, with a variety of typical small Lesser Town shops and pubs. On the right, a part of the palace-house U Bílé labutě (The White Swan), No. 232, and the house U Dvou slunců (The Two Suns), originally in the Renaissance style, but modified to Baroque, with two volute gables and a memorial plaque to the writer and poet J. Neruda. He lived in this house in 1845-1859, then he moved across the street to U Tří černých orlů (The Three Black Eagles) for another ten years. It was here that his journalistic and writing activities began. Here, he absorbed atmosphere of the Lesser Town and mentality of its inhabitants. He made use of this in a unique way in his stories, describing the milieu and odd characters of the Lesser Town.
PHOTOTYPE. D. KOSINER AND CO., 1909
83 - A view towards the Church of the Virgin Mary
On the right, the street Janský vršek leads to Neruda Street. At the corner of the two streets, behind the group of children, stands the house U Sedmi Švábů (The Seven Swabians), No. 241. Originally a Baroque house, it was rebuilt in the Neo-Classical style in 1886. The reconstruction involved the removal of the shingle roof and dormer gables, and the decoration of the front by pilasters and stucco reliefs. On the left, the morzin or Judenfeind house, No. 222, with Mrs B. Holejšovská’s little shop selling food and diary products. The little that can be seen of the house is the Baroque stucco decoration of the front.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. REINICKE & RUBIN, MAGDEBURG, 1904
84 - The beginning of Nerudova Street near Vlašské Square
A view westwards to the Church of the Virgin Mary. Everyone who finds their way here is fascinated by the decorated relief facades of the predominantly Baroque houses on the ascending terrain, together with various little shops, pubs and cafés. On the right, for instance, one can see V. Malík’s shop selling coffee, tea, maggi spice and, judging by the displayed barrels, probably also pickled herrings, sauerkraut, etc. Beside this shop is a tobacconist’s with a mail-box. All this is situated in the Šoltys House, No. 206. Behind it one can see the narrow house U Červeného orla (The Red Eagle) with the rich sculpture of the Baroque front, followed by the Stadler House, also known as U Tří králů (The Three Kings), originally mediaeval, rebuilt the Neo-Classical style in the 1840s. In the next, the Švábovský House of the palace type of the high Baroque period, lived E. Sadeler (about 1570-1629), a well-known painter, graphic artist, and copper-engraver.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1899
85 - A view of the central part of Nerudova Street from the east
On the right stands the Thun-Hohenstein Palace, No. 214, built in the third quarter of the 17th century, most probably by G. Santini for the family of Count Kolovrat. The protruding part of the facade is decorated on both sides by the emblem of the family - two gigantic heraldic eagles - by M. Braun. The Palace passed to the Thun family through a marriage in 1768. The Palace is one of the dominant features of Nerudova Street. However, its heavy mass, resembling Italian palaces, fits surprisingly well into the motley housing in the neighbourhood. In 1869-1875 the interior of the Palace was adapted, according to the design of J. Zítek, the architect of the National Theatre. In 1924, the Thun family sold the Palace to the Italian government for needs of their Embassy. Behind the Palace stands the Church of the Virgin Mary from the years 1691-1717. Where the street narrows down, the old Strahov Gate stood in the Middle Ages, as a constituent part of the oldest Přemyslid fortification of the Lesser Town.
PHOTOTYPE. AROUND 1912
86 - The New Castle Steps
Leading from Thunovská Street towards the Castle ramp on the south projection of Hradčanské Square, with a wonderful view over the historic parts of the town. As early as the 13th century there was a steep road here for riders and conveyances, while, for pedestrians, there was a narrow strip at the margin with stone steps. In the 17th century, stairs were laid here across the entire width, since all the traffic had moved to a road, broken into the rock under the Schwarzenberg Palaces (see picture 3), connecting Nerudova Street and the Castle. Although the route was longer, it was less steep. In the picture one can see a roofed passage leading from the stairs to the third storey of the house of the lords of Hradec or the Slavata House, No. 193, with uniquely preserved Renaissance gables. The house is a part of the Thun-Hohenstein Palace, the second front of which faces Nerudova Street. The other houses on both sides have mostly Baroque and Neo-Classical fronts. In the third house from the right, U Pelikána (The Pelican), No. 188, lived the painter J. Zrzavý (1890-1977), a prominent representative of Czech Modernism.
87 - This picture is a continuation of picture 85
It shows a part of the narrowed street behind the Church of the Virgin, with small shops and pubs at every step. Especially in such a narrow street, the number of little shops gives impression of a bazaar. This fact, mentioned already in connection with picture 84, is recorded most strikingly in this picture. From the right is the house U Zlatého orla (The Golden Eagle), No. 216, with a dairy and an interesting ring-shaped advertisement (perhaps rotating), advertising kerosene and glass. The next house, with a Baroque front and windows in a garret roof, has a house sign below the windows of the third storey - a golden wheel, then on the ground floor is V. Zelenka’s soap-shop, possibly associated with picture-postcard sale (see the shop-window). In the next house with a Neo-Classical front was a delicatessen shop and, behind it, the late Renaissance house U Zlatého lva (The Golden Lion), No. 219, where the first Hradčany pharmacy of the same name was functioning from 1749 until 1952. In 1956, the Pharmacy Museum functioned here. Behind the house U Zlaté podkovy (The Golden Horseshoe), No. 220, last in the row, Nerudova Street turns right. There are no gas lamps to be seen anywhere in the street; they were replaced by ball-shaped electric lamps hung on carrying wires over the road.
PHOTOGRAPHIC POSTCARD. Z. REACH, BEGINNING OF THE 1920s
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