Prague, the city full of many cultural monuments, has several buildings of special significance. These buildings should be seen by every Czech at least once in their life time. One of them is a stately building of the National Museum, which is dominating the upper part of Wenceslas Square.
The National Museum (the institution) was founded on 15th April 1818 as a private science institute from the initiation of two liberal Czech aristocrats, Kašpar Maria – Earle Štneberk and František Antonín – Earle Kolovrat-Libštejn. Firstly it was called the Institute of the National Museum in Bohemia and only later in 1854 did a new name of the Museum of the Bohemian Kingdom come into use. Within a very short time the museum became a significant centre of the national revival and played a very important role in the nation’s cultural life.
The beautiful neo-renaissance building however was built later in 1885-1890 by the design of Josef Schulze. The construction was directed by Čeněk Gregor. Special attention was given to the building’s art works including the most distinguished area of the Pantheon, the national sanctuary, which had a floor plan of 400m2.
The new building of the National Museum was ceremoniously opened on 18th May 1891 and its grandiosity was astonishing. The length of its front facia is 104m, the width of the building is 74m and the height from the fountain water level to the top of the cupola is 69m. At the time of the building’s completion, the property was offering 39 exhibition halls and a total number of 235rooms.
The mighty glass cupola of the National Museum building draws attention even from a distance. The top of the cupola is adorned with lantern and finial. It is accessible via a staircase, which leads up to the lantern.