You can see an impressive neo-Renaissance building near the Manesuv Bridge in Prague Old Town. It is a seat of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and a place of concerts and exhibitions. The world famous festival of classical music “Prague Spring” takes place here, in the Dvorak Hall. The building is called Rudolfinum or House of Artists.
Monumental “house of arts”
Rudolfinum was built by the banking institution Böhmische Sparkasse (Czech Savings Bank) on the occasion of its 50 th anniversary. It was intended as a monumental house of arts with a picture gallery, concert halls and a collection of antiquities. It was named Rudolfinum after the crown prince Rudolph.
Rudolfinum was built by important Czech architects of the 19 th century: Josef Zitek, who also built the National Theater, and Josef Schulz, the author of the National Museum. The building was opened in 1885.
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra had its first concert there in 1896, conducted by Antonin Dvorak. The concert hall was called Dvorak Hall later.
Chamber of Deputies in Rudolfinum
Rudolfinum was a seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Assembly between 1919 and 1939. It was called House of Artists since 1918, because the name of the Habsburg monarch Rudolph was politically unacceptable.
During the Nazi occupation in 1940s, Rudolfinum was restored for the German Philharmonic Orchestra. Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, ordered that a statue of composer Mendelssohn-Bartholdy has to be removed from Rudolfinum, because of his non-Aryan origin. The workers accidentally began to remove a statue of Richard Wagner, Hitler´s favourite composer. Fortunately, the mistake was recognized soon enough.
Prague Spring Festival in Rudolfinum
After the World War II., Rudolfinum became the seat of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The festival Prague Spring took place there in 1946 for the first time.
You can see statues of famous composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven and others, on the attic of the building. The staircase leading from the square is decorated with statues of music Muses. There is a statue of composer Antonin Dvorak in front of Rudolfinum.
Dvorak Hall is the most important hall in Rudolfinum. It has excellent acoustics and there are 1023 seats. You can also visit the beautiful cafe in the building.