One of the oldest streets in Prague, Celetna Lane, connects the Old Town Square with the Republic Square. It is lined with picturesque houses, adorned with house symbols. These coloured symbols of various objects and animals were used as an address in the middle ages. Most of the houses were originally Romanesque or Gothic, but they were rebuilt in Baroque or Classicist style later. Several houses are connected with life of renowned author Franz Kafka. You will find numerous shops, cafés and restaurants in this lively pedestrian lane nowadays.
Celetna Lane was a part of an old trading way to Prague in the past. It is called “Celetna” after the buns and rolls (“calty”), that used to be baked in the street in the 13 th century.
Royal Way led along Celetna Lane
The lane belonged to the Royal Way of Czech Kings – the way of coronation parades to the Prague Castle. The Royal Way started at the Royal Court, that used to stand near the present Powder Tower. It continued through the gateway, along the Celetna Lane to the Old Town Square, than along the Karlova Street and the Charles Bridge to the Lesser Town Square and up the Nerudova Street to the Prague Castle.
The Pachta Palace (No.36) in the Celetna Lane used to be a mint in the middle ages. It was a seat of the Military Commandant headquarters in Prague since 1784. It finally became a court building in 1849. Young lawyer Franz Kafka used to work there.
House At the Golden Angel (No.29) used to be a coaching-inn with famous guests such as W. A. Mozart, and a luxury hotel later. Several kings stayed in the hotel in the 19 th century.
Knights Templar in Celetna Lane
The house At the Temple (No.27) stands at the place, where used to be a church of Knights Templar in the 13 th century. The street, that goes through the house, is therefore called “Templova”. After the Order of Knights Templar was abolished in 1312, the members used to meet secretly in the basement of the house. A stone altar of the order was discover there later. A hospital with a church was built there instead and the building finally became a dwelling house in 1784.
The house At the Red Eagle (No.21) is embellished with a beautiful house symbol. There used to be a café in the 19 th century, where Czech patriots, such as Romanticist poet K. H. Macha, used to meet.
Cubist house “At the Black Madonna”
The Cubist house At the Black Madonna (No.34) was built by Josef Gocar in 1912. There is a Museum of Czech Cubism inside and also a unique Cubist café Grand Café Orient.
The Menhart House (No.17), is a former Piarist College. There is a restaurant U pavouka (“At the Spider”) and also the theater Divadlo v Celetne (“Celetna Theater”).
The Caretto-Millesimo Palace (No.13) used to be a Romanesque house originally and there are remains of that building inside, as well as a Gothic portal and windows. The beautiful Baroque frontage was built in the 18 th century.
The Hrzan of Harasov Palace (No.12) is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Celetna Lane, built in Baroque manner by G. B. Alliprandi.
The house At the White Peacock (No.10) has a Rococo facade and a beautiful house symbol.
Where Franz Kafka used to live
The house At the Three Kings (No.3) is where Franz Kafka lived in his youth, between 1896 and 1907. This medieval house has still its Gothic gables and wooden frames.
You can see the Sixt House (No.2) near the Old Town Square, at the beginning of the Celetna Lane. It has Romanesque corridors and vaults in the basements. There is a wine room nowadays, and a café in the ground floor. The house is decorated with sculptures of Habsburg rulers at the gable. Franz Kafka lived in this house with his parents between 1888 and 1889.
Ghosts of Celetna Lane
The Celetna Lane is also a place, where several Prague ghosts reportedly wander in the night. For example, a butcher with a burning axe or a hooker killed by a parson ramble along Celetna Lane, especially on Full Moon nights.