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Czech Museum of Music

Lesser town - Prague 1

GPS: 50°5'4.92"N, 14°24'15.84"E

 

The building of the Czech Museum of Music, the former church of St. Mary Magdalene, is situated at No. 388, Karmelitská Street in Prague’s Lesser Town. The history of this building is very interesting. Its preserved cupola reminds us most of the original function of the building. The octahedral construction is finished with a low roof which has another octahedral structure on top. The cupola is well visible from many Prague view points and it is a good orientation point in the Prague roof’s labyrinth.

The builders of this construction were members of the Dominican Order from the neighbouring monastery. The foundation stone was laid on 3rd May 1656 and construction was carried out by the design plans of Francesco Caratti and Jan de Capauli. Kryštof Dientzehofer and Pavel Ignác Bayer were most probably participants in the design of the final adjustments of this early-baroque building. The church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene was consecrated on 30th June 1709.

During the reforms of the emperor Joseph II in 1783 the church was deconsecrated and the monastery nearby was discontinued. The building of the former church was then utilized as a sugar store for the sugar refinery of Zbraslav. In 1792 the building was adapted (by Josef Zobel) and used as a post office. The building had also been briefly housing a theatre scene and had a residential premise. The essential subsequent reconstruction was carried out in 1850-1855 by the design of Josef Wachtel and Josef Wetzel. The lateral aisles gained two more floors so the building could again serve a different purpose. This time it was utilized as a police barracks. After 1945 the building was extensively modified to house the National Archive, which remained for about 50 years.

The last reconstruction was carried out in 2002-2004. The main architect of this reconstruction was Tomáš Šantavý. New premises for the Czech Museum of Music (part of the National Museum institute) were created. The exposition was opened to the public on 19th November 2004.