Municipal House Hall

A masterpiece of Art Nouveau, Municipal House is full of elegant rooms and is home to the popular concert venue Smetana Hall.

TravelCurious Tip

Follow a meal in one of Municipal House’s gorgeous dining rooms with a concert in Smetana Hall, and be transported to the golden age of Art Nouveau.

State birthplace

Municipal House is a key part of Czech national heritage. It was built on the site of the Royal Court, located on an important trade route and home to Bohemian kings from Wenceslas IV to Vladislaus Jagiellon; the court’s Gothic Powder Tower remains, adjoining the present building. Abandoned after 1485, the old structure was demolished, and the magnificent Art Nouveau hall we see in its place was built between 1905 and 1912. It was here that the 1918 Declaration of Independence, which established the Czech state, was signed.

The building’s exterior is lavishly decorated: among many other sculptures, there is a colourful mosaic called Homage to Prague above the entrance, flanked by allegorical sculpture groups representing The Degradation of the People and The Resurrection of the People.

A grand evening out

Inside is a stunning array of opulent halls, restaurants, bars, dining rooms and even a pool hall - most recently restored to their original light fittings and paintwork. Czech Art Nouveau is elegantly combined with oriental, Western and Neo-Renaissance influences; magnificent stained-glass windows further enhance its appearance.

Many of the restaurants are open for scenic dining opportunities, including the beer hall Plzenska Restaurace, which serves traditional Czech dishes and Pilsner Urquell, and the French Restaurant, where you can enjoy contemporary cuisine while listening to live jazz.

The centrepiece of Municipal House is Smetana Hall, topped by a glass dome and several storeys in height. The home of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, it is a truly magnificent venue with an enormous organ featuring a gilded bronze relief of its namesake, the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana; his compositional style was closely associated with the desire for an independent Czech state. World-class classical concerts continue here to this day.

Nearby Attractions

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Old Town Square
This medieval town square is the busiest and most beautiful in Prague.
Astronomical Clock
Mesmerising and beautiful, the Astronomical Clock has a unique way of announcing every hour.
Jerusalem Synagogue
Jubilee Synagogue, also known as the Jerusalem Synagogue for its location on Jerusalem Street, is a synagogue in Prague, Czech Republic
Enjoy one of the best views of the city from the top of Kotva, a brutalist-style department store built during the Communist era.
Church of our Lady before Týn
An iconic feature of the city skyline, this church’s Gothic towers are an incredible spectacle.
Republic Square
Perfectly situated where Old Town meets New Town, this square is ideal for shopping and sightseeing.

Related Tours

Prague in the Communist Era: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Discover the shrouded corners, monuments, and memorials of Prague’s Communist era, as you learn the twentieth-century history of this incredible city – including the run-up to WW2, the Nazi Occupation, the city’s liberation by the Red Army, and what life was like under Soviet rule behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ for over forty years, before the fall of Communism in 1989. 

On your private tour you will:

  • Begin your private tour at the Prague Metronome - built on the site where a statue of Stalin used to loom over the city, a permanent reminder of the time the city spent under Communist rule;
  • Walk through the historic Jewish Quarter and hear about the increased persecution of the Jews under Communist rule;
  • Explore the Old and New Town and learn about the rebellious and subversive counterculture that emerged under Communism;
  • Pass by the building of the Na Perštýně, home to the Secret Police Agency, and learn about the surveillance techniques used by the feared StB – the Czech Secret Police;
  • See other key Communist-era buildings, monuments and memorials;
  •  View the Powder Tower, where Czechoslovakia was formed, and learn about the country’s complex historical politics at the Municipal House – a famous Art Nouveau building and civic centre;
  • Enjoy a guided visit to the Communist Museum – dedicated to the history of the regime in Prague and life behind the Iron Curtain for many millions of people after the Second World War;
  • Visit Wenceslas Square, famous for being the focal point of rallies, and protests against the regime, and where crowds gathered for the triumphant fall of Communism in 1989;
  • Finish your tour at Petřín hill to see the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, a series of statues commemorating the victims of the communist era.
Today, Prague is one of Europe’s most visited cities – known as the ‘city of the hundred spires’ it is famous for the beauty of its Medieval and Baroque architecture and is a thriving modern metropolis.

But Prague under communism was a scary place, and the city does not shy away from memorializing this dark era of its past, nor honouring those who suffered under the Soviet regime. From the memorials to the Jews persecuted by first the Nazis then the Communists in the Jewish Quarter, to monuments dedicated to the heroism of everyday people who courageously stood up to the regime, modern Prague does not forget its Communist past.

On your private tour, you will learn about the interrogation of ordinary working-class citizens by the Secret Police, and the oppression of any so-called enemies of the state. Learn how Prague’s intelligentsia was forced into menial jobs and dissidents tortured for subversion.

See Prague’s most prominent Art Nouveau building, Municipal House, where Czechoslovakia as an independent republican state was proclaimed in 1918 and learn about the complex political history of the country.

Pause by a simple bronze cross paying homage to Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc. Palach set himself on fire in protest, making headline global news - a story that intensified when fellow student Jan Zajíc also set himself ablaze. 

Head to Wenceslas Square, the city’s focal point for rallies and political protests and where the crowds gathered to celebrate the emotional end to Communism with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. End your tour at the incredibly moving Memorial to the victims of the communist era on Petřín hill. 

Fascinating, and at times harrowing, this fully immersive experience provides a rich historical and social context of Prague and the Communist era throughout Europe.


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