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
We also had our dinner (midday meal where I come from) in the cafe.
Just round the corner from the Municipal House was the Hotel Central
A close up of the Linden tree (a Czech nationalist symbol) decoration around the bay windows
and on the top of the facade
and the main entrance
Another hotel – the Grand Hotel Europa on Wenceslas Square
the main entrance
And next door, the Meran Hotel
A little renovation needed, but still a beautiful building
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
The exterior is, perhaps, a little austere, but inside
Fantastic stained glass
The Trafford Centre doesn’t come any where close.
More buildings on Wenceslas Square
The darn trees got in the way of my photos!
A branch of Marks and Spencers (in Prague!) in another Secessionist type building
Some close ups
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)
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
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!