Kinský Palace

Price of Admission: basic 300 kc, reduced 150 kc. Children and youth under the age of 18, as well as students younger than 26 can see the permanent exhibition of Czech landscapes for FREE. However, for the contemporary art shows it costs the regular admission fee.

Open:

  • January – December: Tu-Sun 10.00 – 18.00

 

Not far from the Týn church is the beautiful Kinský Palace. This former palace turned gallery is not as noticeable as the Astronomical clock or the Týn church, but it has important historical significance that shouldn’t be passed up.

Originally owned by the Goltz family, this rococo style palace was built on medieval foundations between the years of 1755 and 1765. It was done according to the design by Kilián Ignac Dientzenhofer, who is probably best known for his work on both St. Nicholas churches, the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Church of st. John Nepomuk, and the redesign of the Loreta, all of which are in Prague. In 1758 the palace was bought by the prominent Czech noble Kinský family

In 1843, Bertha von Suttner was born in the Kinský Palace. Her father was a member of the Kinský family. She would go on to be the first woman to solely win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. The palace is also linked to Franz Kafka. Kafka and his best friend Max Brod studied there as it served as an elite secondary school. His father also worked on the ground floor, where he ran a haberdashery. Today that particular space is occupied by a Kafka Bookshop.

A grimmer part of Czech history took place on the balcony of the Kinský Palace in 1948. The first Communist president, Klement Gottwald, proclaimed to an audience outside that Czechoslovakia was now a “people’s democracy.” This would be the start of 40 years under communist totalitarianism for the country.

In the opening of Milan Kundera's book The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1978), he writes about that infamous moment in Czech history:

In February 1948, Communist Leader Klement Gottwald stepped out on the balcony of a Baroque palace in Prague to address the hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens Packed into Old Town Square. It was a crucial moment in Czech history–  a fateful moment of the kind that occurs once or twice in a millenium. Gottwald was flanked by his comrades, with Clementis Standing next to him. There were snow flurries, it was cold, and Gottwald was bareheaded. The solicitous Clementis took off his own fur cap and set it on Gottwald's head. The Party propaganda section put out hundreds of thousands of coppies of a photograph of that balcony with Gottwald, a fur cap on his head and comrades at his side, speaking to the nation. On that balcony the history of Communist Czechoslovakia was born. Every child knew the photograph from posters, schoolbooks and museums. Four years later Clementis was charged with treason and hanged. The propaganda section immediately airbrushed himout of history, and obiously, out of all the photographs as well. Ever since, Gottwald has stood on that balcony alone. Where Clementis once stood, there is only bare palace wall. All that remains of Clementis is the cap on Gottwald's head.

Today the palace is used as space for the National Gallery, which houses a permanent collection of Czech landscape paintings, as well as hosting shows of contemporary art. Next to the palace is another historic building that is used as part of the City Gallery Prague and musical concerts, the House at the Stone Bell.

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