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THE NATIONAL THEATRE

New town - Prague 1

GPS: 50°4'50.88"N, 14°24'50.04"E

   One of the most worthwhile pieces of Czech architecture of second half of 19th century, The National Theatre no. 223 in Prague is also tenderly called Gold Chapel above Vltava. Its position is demarcated by Národní třída, Masarykovo nábřeží a Divadelní Street.
   As early as in 1845 group of Czech patriots applied to Czech estates for establishment of Czech Theatre. Five years later there was established a Board for Establishment of Czech National Theatre, which started to arrange financial collection. Meanwhile, the Provisional Theatre was erected in part of the purchased building plot according to design by arch. Ignác Ullmann in 1862, the Theatre was situated to merge with the National Theatre later on. Finally, it played for long twenty-one years.
   Meanwhile, in 1866 the winning design for construction of the National Theatre by arch. Josef Zítek arose from the announced competition. Ceremonious laying the foundation stone on 16th May 1868 became a huge national manifestation. The Theatre has been constructed in neo-Renaissance style on the plan of irregular trapezoid. It started its operation on 11th June 1881 with opera Libuše by Bedřich Smetana.
   On 12th August 1881 large fire occurred and the Theatre was completely burnt down. New National Theatre was projected by arch. Josef Schulz using the architecture by Josef Zítek and the construction itself proceeded in 1882-1883. Ceremonious opening was held on 18th November 1883.
   The most outstanding Czech artists of those times participated in realized artistic decoration of interiors and exteriors. The best artists have performed there in numerous dramatic, opera and ballet performances as well. After all to stand in the stage of our first theatre is the biggest honour.
   In 1977-1983 the National Theatre underwent capital reconstruction including completion of building of New stage, service buildings and underground garages.