The magnificent Wenceslas Square in Prague’s New Town is dominated by a majestic neo-Renaissance building that is known as the National Museum (in Czech Národní Muzeum). Actually, the National Museum is a very important cultural institution comprising a total of sixteen buildings, including some outside Prague.
The building on Wenceslas Square is undoubtedly the most famous of the museum system, so much so that it is simply called the ‘National Museum’, like the whole complex. Built in the late 19th century, the heyday of the national revival movement, it has become a symbol of Czech history and nationalism.
Today, the main building of the National Museum houses exhibitions of the prehistory of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, rock and mineral collections and extensive paleontology, zoology and anthropology displays.
The main building of the National Museum in Prague was built between 1885 and 1891. The design was entrusted to Josef Schulz, the winner of a competition held in 1883.
The interior is a true splendour, with a magnificent staircase, galleries with paintings and portraits of nobles and kings and a dome decorated with lunette paintings.
The façade unfortunately still bears the marks of two military attacks, one in 1945 and the second in 1968 by Warsaw Pact troops. A memorial to the left of the fountain in front of the museum entrance marks the spot where Jan Palach, a university student who set himself on fire in protest against the oppression of the communist regime, fell to his death.
In addition to it, you can visit the new building of the Prague National Museum , located above Wenceslas Square.
This modern building was formerly the seat of the Federal Assembly and between 1994 and 2002 was home to Radio Free Europe. Today it hosts temporary exhibitions and organises courses, lectures and seminars. It is also possible to take part in guided tours.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.