One of the most outstanding examples of art nouveau architecture in the world, Prague’s Municipal House (Obecní Dum) is a popular destination for visitors interested in art and architecture. From the grand concert hall to the restrooms, every light fitting, chair, and tile was specially designed for the building by the leading artists of the day.
Designed in the early 20th century as a multifunctional building where Prague’s citizens could come to watch a musical performance, attend an exhibition, or meet friends for a cup of coffee, Municipal House is Prague’s finest example of art nouveau architecture, designed by Antonin Balsanek and Osvald Polivka. The concert venue, Smetana Hall, is the crown jewel of the building, with a large glass dome over the auditorium.
The interiors of the building feature decorations by Czech artists, including Alphonse Mucha and Max Svabinsky. The twisting metalwork in the building was inspired by natural motifs. Outside, the half-moon mosaic of Apotheosis of Prague, by Karel Spilar, is the centerpiece. The building lived up to its goal as the epicenter of public life—the independent Czechoslovak state was declared here in 1918. Walking and biking sightseeing tours of Prague frequently make a point of stopping of at this magnificent building.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It is free to enter the lobby, downstairs rooms, cafe, and restaurant.
- Access to the rest of the building, including the auditorium, is by guided tour only, or by purchasing a ticket to a concert or exhibition.
- There is an elevator for wheelchair access.
- There are four restaurants and cafes in the building.
- The building was extensively restored in the 1990s.
How to Get There
Municipal Hall is located at 5 Republiky Square on the edge of Old Town (Stare Mesto). It is accessible on foot from most places in central Prague, or as part of a guided walking or Segway tour of the city. The Namesti Republiky Metro stop (Line B) is close by. Trams #3, #5, #6, #9, #14, and #24 stop close by on Jindrisska Street.
When to Get There
Municipal House is open daily. The public spaces are open from 7:30am to 11pm, and the box office is open from 10am- to 8pm. The restaurants and cafes have different opening hours throughout the morning, but all are open daily and close at 11pm.
Explore the Streets of Old Town
Municipal House stands on the edge of Prague’s Old Town and is a great starting point for exploring the neighborhood. Walking through the archway of the 14th-century Powder Tower—one of the 13 original city gates—and find your way to Old Town Square, the heart of Old Town, home to the astronomical clock and Church of Our Lady Before Tyn.