Art Nouveau in Prague

In the years before the First World War, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Prague was an expanding city. New districts sprang up pushing out from the historic centre. Like other European cities at the time, such as Budapest and Helsinki, many of the new buildings were constructed in the then fashionable new style known as Art Nouveau or Secessionist. Like Budapest this was partly an expression of the nationalist movement that was struggling for Czech independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to the war.

Consequently there are a wealth of Art Nouveau / Secessionist buildings in Prague, especially in the Old Jewish Quarter, on and around Wenceslas Square and in the “New Town”. Here’s just a few of them.

This is the “Municipal House” (náměstí Republiky), a theatre / Concert Hall and meeting place for Czech Nationalists. We took a tour of the building which was more than worth the cost. It merits a post of it’s own, but here’s a taster

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We also had our dinner (midday meal where I come from) in the cafe.

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Just round the corner from the Municipal House was the Hotel Central

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A close up of the Linden tree (a Czech nationalist symbol) decoration around the bay windows

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and on the top of the facade

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and the main entrance

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Another hotel – the Grand Hotel Europa on Wenceslas Square

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the main entrance

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And next door, the Meran Hotel

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A little renovation needed, but still a beautiful building

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This is the Koruna shopping centre at the bottom of Wenceslas Square. Less florid than your typical Art Nouveau building – more late Secessionist or early Modernist, perhaps

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The exterior is, perhaps, a little austere, but inside

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Fantastic stained glass

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The Trafford Centre doesn’t come any where close.

More buildings on Wenceslas Square

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The darn trees got in the way of my photos!

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A branch of Marks and Spencers (in Prague!) in another Secessionist type building

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Some close ups

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And there was a real wealth of Art Nouveau style buildings in the old Jewish Quarter – an area that today has become very “gentrified” with lots of high end designer shops (with guards to keep the “riff raff” out)

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Finally, not a building as such, but a monument to the Czech religious reformer, Jan Huss, built in Art Nouveau style, located in the centre of the main square in the Old Town

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There were many more buildings than we were able to see and we didn’t have chance to explore the New Town, but were at least able to spot some AN buildings as we passed through on the tram one evening. No piccies though!

4 thoughts on “Art Nouveau in Prague

  1. Excellent photos, Mike. We visited several years ago before I bothered with such things as Art Nouveau. Thought Prague was superb city nevertheless and remember that the hotel has large versions of Mucha’s AN work on the wall of the lobby.

    • Mucha seems to be everywhere in Prague. We went to the Mucha Museum and also saw his work in the Municipal House and the Cathedral in the Castle. I’ll have to write up something about him, I think.

    • Thanks.
      I’m a bit of an Art Nouveau architecture nut and am always on the lookout for AN style buildings. They’re all over the place in Prague, but I guess you have to be on the lookout for them to spot them.

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