The Old Town City Hall with the big tower is situated at the Old Town Square. It is a complex of buildings from various historical periods and a tower with the famous Astronomical Clock. The city hall was a center of Prague Old Town administration since the 14 th century.
King John of Luxembourg sanctioned building of the Old Town City Hall in 1338. The Old Town citizens bought a private Gothic house from Wolflin of Kamen for it. The 66 metres high tower was added in 1364.
Prison of rebelling noblemen
The Old Town City Hall was the place, where Czech estates elected George of Podebrady the King of Bohemia in 1458. It was also used as a prison for the Czech Protestant nobles rebelling against Emperor Matthias in 1620. Twenty-seven of them were executed at the Old Town Square in front of the Old Town City Hall in 1621. You can see crosses in the pavement there, commemorating the event.
Four Prague towns were joined in one in 1784 and the Old Town City Hall became the administrative centre of the whole Prague.
Destruction by the Nazis
At the end of the World War II., the Old Town City Hall was a centre of rebellion against the Nazis. The German troops shot on the city hall and then they set it on fire. The eastern and northern tracts of the building burnt down. There were plans to rebuilt this part of the building later, but it was never realized. The space against the Church of Our Lady before Tyn is still empty.
Inside the Old Town City Hall, there is a chapel from 1381. On the outer side there is an oriel with a replica of an interesting Gothic statue – so called Old Town Madonna from the 14 th century.
Historical interior of the Old Town City Hall
The most important part of the interior is the Council Hall from the 15 th century. There is a sculpture of suffering Christ from 1410. The symbols of Prague towns can be seen there. Another interesting room is the Brozik Hall with two valuable paintings: one represents the reformer Jan Hus at the Council of Constance in 1415 and the other depicts the election of George of Podebrady as King of Bohemia in 1458.
Decorative House “At the Minute”
The other buildings, added to the Old Town City Hall, include for example the House At the Minute with Renaissance sgraffitoes or the western house with a three-part Renaissance window. There is an inscription on the window reading Praga caput regni, which means “Prague the head of the Kingdom”.
Nowadays, the Old Town City Hall is used for representation purposes and ceremonial assemblies of the municipal authorities. Also weddings take place there since 1871 and exhibitions are held in the Gothic cloister.