Renovation of Prague’s New City Hall: A Restoration of History

Avantgarde Prague

Prague’s New City Hall, located on Mariánské náměstí, is set for a significant renovation costing nearly thirty million korun. The last renovations were carried out thirty years ago and focused on the entrance areas, hallways, council chambers, and staircases. These areas are the most ornate and used spaces in the entire city hall.

The restoration project was initiated due to the ornate spaces’ inadequate technical and visual state. The city council has a responsibility to care for the historical value of the building, which is why the renovations will focus on the most important and frequently used areas. “It is time to renovate those main, most frequently used spaces so that they can serve future generations of Prague residents in their full splendor,” said Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda.

The restoration project will also address the deteriorating state of the wrought-iron elements on the main staircase, the stained glass in the foyer, and all the entrance doors to the offices. Most doors have not been repaired in decades, and their condition is visibly deteriorating.

The restoration project is crucial for preserving the historical significance of the building. Restoration works involve many restorers with different professions, including stonemasons, carpenters, lead workers, upholsterers, and stained glass artists. This substantial building is integral to Prague’s history, and its appearance should reflect its significance.

The cost of the renovation is estimated to be 29,556,986.32 Koruna, excluding VAT. The bidding process for the public contract is expected to begin in late June or early July, and work is expected to last for approximately twelve months.

New City Hall is the seat of the Prague Mayor and the City Council. The large hall is used not only for meetings of the Prague City Council but also for seminars, conferences, and university graduations. According to the website, the building is also a popular tourist destination.

Guides often mention two of the most famous sculptures in the niches on either side of the main entrance: Rabbi Loew, who allegedly created the legendary Golem, and the mysterious Iron Knight, whose ghost has supposedly been haunting Old Town for over 400 years.

Another exciting feature is a metal box containing documents about establishing a memorial plaque for Josef Kajetán Tyl from the original house. Builders sealed the box into one of the windowsills between the second and third floors of the New City Hall without opening it. The original house was demolished during the redevelopment of Old Town.

Tourists also visit the New City Hall to see the Paternoster elevator, a popular tourist attraction. Tour guides and documentarians Janek Rubeš and Honza Mikulka invite foreign tourists to explore less-known places in the city through their YouTube channel Honest Guide.

The restoration of Prague’s New City Hall is a preservation of historical value and a continuation of the city’s commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of Prague’s landmarks.