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Czech It Out: The National Musuem

24 October, 2019

It is unmistakable, sitting proudly at the very top of Wenceslas Square, its façade lit brilliantly at night, the green-hued, gilded domes glowing during the day. The National Museum re-opened in 2018 after an extensive years-long reconstruction, which highlights the magnificent structure in all its original glory. The outside of the building is not all that’s spectacular about the museum. The collections housed within its walls offer insight to worlds past, present and future, enthralling guests young and old. It’s the perfect place to visit on a free afternoon, as it’s conveniently located just a few steps away from the UPCES building!

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  1. The National Museum was founded in 1818 in an effort to “renew the promotion of art and taste.” The construction of the iconic building on Wenceslas Square began nearly 70 years later.
  2. This historic building on Wenceslas Square is not the only building that houses the National Museum’s collections. The National Museum also includes the National Museum of Music, the Museum of Natural History, and the Ethnographic Museum, among other buildings.
  3. Until the most recent reconstruction, which is still ongoing, the historic building has not undergone any major renovations, despite sustaining damage during military attacks in 1945 and 1968.
  4. In 1962, the historic building on Wenceslas Square was listed as a Czech National Heritage Site.
  5. Prior to its 1885 construction, the land on which the main building sits on Wenceslas Square was home to several palaces owned by Czech nobles.
  6. Right next door to the historical main building, the New Building of the National Museum stands in stark contrast with its dark, minimal exterior. This building holds a variety of exhibitions from historic exhibitions about the Celts to scientific exhibitions about genetics.
  7. Czech national heritage is celebrated in the opulent hall of the Main Building, including 16 paintings of Czech castles and sculptures of historic figures, such as Libuše and St. Wenceslas.
  8. The National Museum is the largest museum in the Czech Republic, with millions of items in its collections.
  9. Plans for an underground tunnel connecting the New Building with the Main Building are in the current reconstruction, which is scheduled to end in 2020.
  10. Until the end of October, a light show will play in the fountains at the front of the building, beginning at 21:00 and repeating every half an hour.

This national treasure is open daily from 10:00-18:00, so be sure to check it out during your semester with UPCES. Pro tip: present your student ID for reduced admission. It’s also possible to avoid the line and purchase tickets online here.