National Museum, Prague is one of the oldest and most visited attractions of the Czech capital. This is truly a unique place, striking not only with the number of artifacts collected in it, but also with its appearance. Get to know each other better?
Národní muzeum, founded in 1818, is considered one of the largest state panopticons in Prague. Within its walls there is a multimillion-dollar collection of exhibits dedicated to painting, ethnography, architecture, music, archeology and other areas of human life. Over the years, most of these items have remained inaccessible to the general public. Now almost everyone can see them.
As the name implies, the bulk of the museum exhibits is devoted to the history, culture and traditions of the Czech people. However, besides this, there is a huge number of information materials related to the natural and exact sciences – botany, numismatics, hydrobiology, paleontology, zoology, etc. In addition, Národní muzeum has an educational function, demonstrating the close cultural and historical connection of the Czech Republic with other European countries .
The National Museum of Prague, often called the treasury of Czech culture, was born to scientists, travelers and private collectors, whose donations made up the bulk of the exhibits. The most famous of them was Count Caspar Sternberg, the world-famous paleontologist, who, in fact, became the main organizer of the preparatory work. Having received the approval of the Vienna government, Sternberg founded the Society of the Patriotic Museum, in whose possession all the exhibits collected by that time had passed. In 1934, the institution became the property of the Czech land administration, and in 1949 it was nationalized.
At first, the exhibits were stored in the Sternberg castle in Hradcany, but in 1846, some of the items were transported to Nostik. And only in 1989 the whole collection found a permanent place of residence – it was the building on Wenceslas Square, which has been successfully operating to this day.
Architecture and interior of the main building
The historical building of the National Museum of Prague on Wenceslas Square, designed by the talented architect Josef Schulz, is a neo-Renaissance palace. This is one of those rare cases when the external picture is fully consistent with the internal content. Indeed, the architecture of the panopticon is striking in its grandeur and beauty.
The main facade of Národní muzeum is adorned with an allegorical sculptural group testifying to the unity of Czech lands. At the center of this composition is Bohemia, the goddess of science and art, and on either side of it is an old man who immortalized the river. Elbu, and a young girl associated with p. Vltava. Under the high dome of the National Museum you can see the gold-embossed names of 72 lights of Czech culture.
The walls of the spacious hall are decorated with images of historical castles, standing against the backdrop of beautiful landscapes. In addition, there are sculptural portraits of the main political, cultural and public figures of the Czech Republic everywhere. They say that Bohuslav Dvořák himself participated in the work on the decoration of the panopticon. The painting is completed by the monument to St. Wenceslas, installed in front of the main entrance in 1912.
Despite the fact that the National Museum of Prague had to survive two military conflicts, it has never been rebuilt since 1891. True, in 2011 it was closed for reconstruction, which lasted several years.
During the repair work, the old building was combined with the new underground passage. Thanks to the right approach, the leadership of the institution managed not only to preserve the original appearance of an important architectural monument, but also to increase the initial area by as much as 30%. The opening of the renovated historic building took place on October 28, 2018 – the 100th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia.
As before the restoration, there are several permanent exhibitions on paleontology, geology, anthropology and history. And in the old building there is a unique library, the collections of which include 1.3 rare book editions and 8 thousand priceless ancient manuscripts.
Note! After restoration, the museum is gradually filled with exhibits. As of May 2019, not all exhibits are fully exposed.
Other museum buildings
The Czech National Museum has long gone beyond the framework of the historical building on Wenceslas Square. Now it includes several objects scattered throughout Prague. Consider each of them:
- New building – opened in June 2009, occupies more than 3 thousand square meters. m., characterized by modern architecture, which, together with the historic building on Wenceslas Square, forms a rather strange duet. It is here that the main objects of museum infrastructure are located – offices, shops, multimedia conference rooms, etc .;
- The Czech Museum of Music – located in the former Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene in the Small Town, contains exhibitions dedicated to the development of musical art. At the moment, it has 1 permanent (“Man – Instrument – Music) and several temporary exhibitions;
- The Vojt Naprstek Museum – is the only Czech museum institution dedicated to the heritage of non-European cultures (Asian, African and American);
- Museum of Antonin Dvořák – located in the summer residence of Michna, surrounded by a fruit garden with various sculptures. Here are stored historical photographs related to the life of the famous Czech composer, as well as his manuscripts and personal correspondence;
- National Monument on Vitkov Hill – is a memorial to Czech warriors, considered one of the main attractions of modern Prague, includes the Main Hall, Columbarium, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an equestrian sculpture of Jan Жižke, the Clement Gottwald Mausoleum and several exhibition halls;
- Ethnographic Museum – occupies the Kinsky summer palace, introduces the culture and traditions of Moravia, Bohemia and other historical regions of the Czech Republic, talks about everyday life and holidays of Czech villages of the 18th – first half of the 20th century;
- Bedřich Smetana Museum – located in a beautiful mansion built for the water service in Prague, is dedicated to one of the founders of Czech music and the author of the first opera, written exclusively in Czech. They say that it is from this place that the best panorama of the Old Town and the Vltava opens;
- Lapidarium (from lat. “Lapis” – stone) – is a unique collection of original sculptures and decorative elements decorating fountains, tombstones and portals. They were gathered in one place with one single purpose – to protect from vandalism and natural disasters;
- Monument to Rieger and Palacki – occupies the building of the baroque mansion of Mac Neven, built by Palliardi, a famous Czech architect. The expositions of this museum introduce the life of two prominent figures who played a big role in the revival of the Czech Republic;
- Yaroslav Jezek Memorial – dedicated to the life and work of the author of Czech modern dance and jazz music, represents the “Blue Room”, which preserved the authentic interior and personal belongings of the outstanding composer.
When you visit Národní muzeum in Prague, you will surely need information regarding the operation of its offices. For your convenience, we presented it in the form of a table.
|name of the property||Opening hours||Full cost||Cost reduced||Family cost||School cost||Address|
|Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 18:00||250||70||420||40||Václavské náměstí 68, Prague 1|
|New building||Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 18:00||one hundred||70||170||40||Vinohradská 1, Prague 1|
|Memorial Y. Jezhek|
|Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun: closed|
Tue: 13:00 – 18:00
10, Prague 1
|Monument to Palacky and Rieger|
|Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun: closed|
Wed-Fri: 08:00 – 16:00
|160||80||thirty||fifty||Palackého 7, Prague 1|
|Lapidarium||Mon, Tue: closed|
Wed: 10:00 – 16:00
Thu-Sun: 12:00 – 18:00
|fifty||thirty||90||twenty||Výstaviště 422, Prague 7|
B. Sour cream
|Mon, Wed-Sun: 10:00 – 17:00|
|fifty||thirty||90||twenty||Novotného lávka 1, Prague 1|
Tue-Sun: 10:00 – 17:00
|fifty||thirty||90||twenty||Ke Karlovu 20, Prague 2|
|Monument to Vitkov||Mon: closed|
Tue-Sun: 10:00 – 18:00
|fifty||thirty||90||twenty||U Památníku 1900, Prague 3|
|Ethnographical museum||Mon: closed|
Tue-Sun: 10:00 – 18:00
|70||40||110||40||Kinskego zahrada 98, Prague 5|
|Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures||Mon: closed|
Tue-Sun: 10:00 – 18:00
|one hundred||70||140||70||Betlémskénáměstí 1, Prague 1|
|Museum of Music||Mon, Wed-Sun: 10:00 – 18:00|
|120||80||200||40||Karmelitská 2/4, Prague 1|
Information can be clarified on the official website of the institution – https://www.nm.cz/en.
The prices and schedule on the page are for May 2019.
Before heading to the National Museum on Wenceslas Square, read the tips of those who were fortunate enough to visit there:
- Museum objects are located in different parts of Prague, which entails additional expenses (both monetary and temporary).
- Near the emergency entrance there is an elevator designed to transport disabled people, however, in order to use it, you must present an appropriate certificate.
- Moms traveling with young children may need outside help. The fact is that a number of steps lead to the entrance to the main building, which will make it difficult to move around with the stroller.
- In the evening, the facade of the National Museum turns on the lights, thanks to which it makes an even stronger impression.
- To view the exhibits it is better to take an audio guide.
- Those who are limited in time should come in advance – waiting for their turn can drag on for 30-50 minutes.
- Museum cash desks do not accept credit cards. As for the currency, you can pay for the ticket only in euros and Czech crowns.
The National Museum, Prague is the place where you can lose track of time. Be sure that its unique exhibits will definitely not leave you indifferent. Enjoy your excursion and vivid impressions!
You can learn about other museums and interesting places in Prague from the video.