National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic
Wenceslas Square in Prague is a place, where numerous significant events took place. It is the place of demonstrations and revolutions, festivals and parades. There is no coincidence that one of the most emblematic buildings of the Czech nation is located on this square. It is the main building of the National Museum (Národní muzeum) of Czech Republic. This building and the monument to the patron of the Czechs - Saint Vaclav in front of it not only embellish the square, but at the same time symbolize the historical importance of the place.
The building is built in neo renaissance style, according to the project of Josef Schulz. The construction started in1885 and lasted up to the 1890: during this period the Czechs experienced an era of national revival. At the time of the building’s construction the Czechs did not have their own state, and the building became the symbol of the fight for the independence of this nation, a place where national treasures of Czech culture were stored.
The height of the building with large round dome is 70 meters. Its facade is 100 meters in length and is decorated with arcades. The façade is decorated with a sculptural composition, which includes Bohemia, sitting on the throne; a girl, who embodies the Vltava River; and an old man, who personifies the River Elbe. Side towers are decorated with allegorical figures, depicting various sciences. The facade of the building was damaged as a result of German attack on 7th May, 1945, and was later renovated.
The lobby of the Museum is decorated with two rows of arcades. The paintings on the ceiling are not less beautiful than those of rich Catholic churches. Luxuriously decorated lobby of the building has a beautiful wide staircase that is decorated with paintings of various Czech castles and other landmarks. The staircase leads to the Pantheon Museum, where the sculptures and busts of famous Czechs are exhibited. The museum displays various exhibits, including zoological, anthropological, mineralogical collection. It also houses a library, which contains around 1.3 million volumes of books.
This building is so beautiful and imperial that in 1968 the Soviet military were confused and thought that it’s the Check Parliament and bombarded it.
National Museum of Prague is both the oldest and the largest museum in the Czech Republic. In 2011, the building was closed for restoration.
By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am