Feel like a king for a day as you stroll idly along Celetná Street (in Czech, Celetná Ulice), one of the oldest streets in Prague.
Just as you do today, centuries ago the future kings of Bohemia walked this street, but the emotion in their hearts was probably much stronger than the one you are experiencing now. The Celetná Street was in fact part of the Royal Route, the city route followed by kings on their way to their coronation, starting at Vyserhad and ending at Prague Castle.
Today, the only procession you can witness on Celetná Street is that of tourists who want to reach the Powder Gate from Old Town Square, the heart of Prague’s centre.
Although crowded, this old shopping street still retains a lot of charm. Lined with stately homes that mix pastel-coloured Baroque façades, Gothic cornices and Romanesque foundations, it almost looks like an open-air museum.
The most beautiful building on the entire street, however, is from a much more recent era. In fact, the House of the Black Madonna, a masterpiece of Cubist architecture designed by Josef Gočár, was built in 1912. Conceived as a department store, it was only used as such for about ten years and later converted to offices. Major renovations were carried out in the 1990s.
Today the building houses a permanent collection of Czech Cubist art, temporary exhibitions by the Museum of Decorative Arts and spaces for art workshops, as well as the historic Grand Café Orient.
The name of Celetná Street is said to derive from a type of bread once very common in this area, called Calty in Czech.
The dark cellars of the street are home to the macabre Torture Museum, which exhibits over a hundred artefacts, period engravings and wax statues detailing how instruments of torture were used. If this were not enough to send shivers down your spine, the eerie audiovisual effects will give you the impression of witnessing a witch being burned at the stake or an executioner being executed.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.