One of the most beautiful state rooms at the Prague Castle is the Spanish Hall. It was built in the 17 th century for Emperor Rudolph II., who had his collection of sculptures there. Nowadays, the room is a place of many important political and social events. For example, the classic music festival Strings of Autumn takes place there.
The Spanish Hall got its name because of highbred Spanish horses stables that used to be below it. The size of the hall is impressive: it is 43 metres long, 21 metres wide and 12 metres high. It was built in the beginning of the 17 th century probably by Giovanni Maria Filippi.
Collections of Rudolph II. in the Spanish Hall
The Spanish Hall, as well as the Rudolph Gallery and some other rooms at the Prague castle, used to be full of precious works of art, which Rudolph II. collected or gained as a present. Unfortunately, some works were stolen by Swedish army during the Thirty Years´ War and brought to Sweden, some other works were brought to Vienna as a Habsburg Royal possessions, when the Emperor Maxmilian II. moved there. The remains of the collections, that stayed in Prague, are exhibited in the Prague Castle Picture Gallery.
When the Spanish king Philip II. visited Prague in the 17 th century, he honoured Rudolph II. with the Spanish Golden fleece decoration. A model of the decoration is exposed on the window in the Spanish Hall.
Spanish Hall through the centuries
The Spanish Hall was modified in the 18 th century by architect K. I. Dienzenhofer, who made it higher by adding one more floor at the top. It was damaged by Prussian army in 1757 and later restored by Niccolo Pacassi in 1770.
Some modifications were made in the 19 th century for the coronation of Ferdinand V. New mirrors, which were put on the walls, reflected candles of new chandeliers. Courtly balls took place there at the time. At the present time, the Spanish Hall is frequently used for classic music concerts and festivals, as well as for official political events.
Interior of the Spanish Hall
The interior of the Spanish Hall is embellished with stucco decorations from the 17 th century. You can see a monogram of Rudolph II. above the middle window. Sculptures by Adrien de Vries were placed in the hall in the 19 th century. They represent allegories of the Arts, the Science, the Commerce and the Industry.
You have a chance to visit the Spanish Hall twice a year, in May and at the end of October, as well as the other representation rooms at the Prague Castle.