Wenceslas Square Architecture Tour

Today our class met in Wenceslas Square for an architecture tour. I figured we would start at the Square and venture out to far distances in Prague. Yet, I didn’t realize how much interesting architecture and history we could cover in a small area. The tour mainly consisted of comparing different buildings’ architectural styles, with Art Nouveau being the most prominent style we looked at. The tour guide started with an explanation of how Art Nouveau buildings were being constructed at the same time as neoclassical buildings. The two architectural styles were almost in a competition of which one was the best. At the time, many people wanted to see something new and fresh in the city and they were tired of neoclassical architecture. However, when the elaborate Art Nouveau style was introduced in Prague, there was a lot of opposition to the style because it was so different. We looked at many Art Nouveau buildings, but my favorite had to be the well known Café Imperial. The Café Imperial was filled with ceramic tiles and mosaics of the most intricate detail.

The other Art Nouveau building that stood out to me was the Lucerna Palace. It had a oriental style and was filled with impressive marble. Photographed above is a sculpture placed in the Lucerna Palace. The Upside-Down Horse sculpture, by the infamous Czeck artist David Cerny, is comically placed in this building. It’s hard not to miss the sculpture when it sharply contrasts with the architecture around it.

Another style that I thought was really interesting was the Cubism architecture. Cubism architecture is an unique architecture style that branched off from Cubism art work (for example, Picasso). As told on the tour, Cubism architecture is only found in Prague. A famous example of Cubist architecture would be the House of the Black Madonna. The building looks much more modern compared to those around it due to it’s geometrical shapes within the structure. Even though today was scorching hot, I was happy that we got to go on this tour because we learned so much in a short amount of time. Now I want to go back and visit many of the architectural sites and possibly get a coffee to drink in the view.