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THE NATIONAL MUSEUM

New town - Prague 1

GPS: 50°4'45.12"N, 14°25'49.08"E

   In Prague, a city full of artistic monuments, there are several buildings of exceptional importance. One of them is a monumental building, whose name indicates, that it belongs and serves for the whole nation, the National Theatre no. 1700. It spreads between the Wenceslas Square, Vinohradská Avenue, Škrétova, Mezibranská and Čelakovského sady Streets. Unfortunately, its present condition has not been favourable; it has been closed by two branches of north-south trunk road. Its separation from the Wenceslas Square is being sensed very much.
   The National Museum, like an institute, was established on 15th April 1818, under the name of Association of Patriotic Museum in Bohemia and later on, in 1854, the name Museum of the Czech Kingdom occurred. Then the museum became an outstanding centre of national awakening and it played an important role in the nation’s cultural life. Numerous excellent scientists and cultural officials had alternated at the head of the museum.
   At first, a small collection was successively placed in several buildings. But then necessity of a separate building was obvious. The monumental neo-Renaissance building of the National Museum was constructed pursuant to design by arch. Josef Schulze, during 1885-1890. Artistic decoration of the building was taken with a lot of care. The most outstanding room of the National Museum is Pantheon – the national sanctuary. Its floor plan is created by a square of 400 m2. Opening ceremony took place there on 18th May 1891. Monumentality of the building evoked astonishment then. Well, length of its front is 104 m, width of the four-wing building with two yards is 74 m and height from the fountain water level to the cupola top is 69 m. At the time of completion there were 39 exhibition halls and number of rooms was 235.
  In the pedestal of the National Museum platform there is a fountain. In the middle there is a larger-than-life statue of Czechia, in the sides there are allegoric sculptures of the main Czech rivers, Vltava (a woman) and Labe (a man). Furthermore, there are statutes of Moravia (a woman with an eagle) and Silesia (a man with coat-of-arms of Silesian duchy), mostly work by Antonín Wagner.