From Hotel Páv to on foot Prague Castle
In the footsteps of Prague house signs
We have enriched your walk through the most beautiful places in Prague with a few stops at interesting Prague houses and their house signs.
Photos of house signs are used as a decoration in the newly renovated rooms of the hotel Pav..
Among the other things, you will visit
- Old town and the Old Town Square
- Charles Bridge
- The Lesser Town
- Prague Castle
From the hotel, go left.
At the three Blackbirds - Křemencova 15
When we leave the Hotel Pav, we will find the first sign on the hotel's facade - to the left of the main entrance. Above the door we see three small blackbirds sitting on the branches of a linden tree. Previously, the house was called At the two Blackbirds. During the renovations, the signs often changed and one blackbird was added here. Unfortunately, we do not always know the reason or the whole story of the sign.
Hotel Pav – At the Three Blackbirds
Where to go next: at the first corner turn right into Opatovická Street
At the Bishop's Hat - Opatovická 20
Around the corner in Opatovická Street, a large portal of the originally medieval Cistercian court of Nepomuk appears in front of us. At the end of the 17th century, it became the property of the monastery of St. Jan pod Skalou and underwent a Baroque reconstruction. In the cartouche above the threshold, we see the coat of arms of the abbot dated 1719.
At the Bishop's Hat
Where to go next: continue along Opatovická Street, turn right into Ostrovní Street and at the end turn left into Spálená Street. We will come to a large intersection with Národní třída, where we will go straight to Na Perštýně Street.
At the Bears house - Na Perštýně 7
At the beginning of Na Perštýně Street stands the at the Bears house (U Medvidku) on the left side, where we can see two bears tied with chains behind the collars of a tree stump with the inscription "Zde slowe od starodawna u Nedwidků". The house was formerly also called "U Nedwidku" or "At the Black Bear" and is named after one of the owners, Jan Nedwidea, who founded a brewery here in 1466. Beer was brewed here continuously until 1898. At present, there is again a brewery - the smallest in the Czech Republic.
At the Bears House
Where to go next: we reach the end of Na Perstye Street, where we will see the intersection of 4 streets. We head to Husova Street - the second from the left.
At the Three Wild Ducks - Husova 13
Three wild (or also evil) ducks or wild ducks probably date back to the pre-White Mountain period. Their painting adorned the facade in 1628 under Jakub Baumayer, the last known owner of the house, before the house was abandoned during the Thirty Years' War. At the beginning of the 18th century, the house was completely renovated together with this sign, when the cattail around it was probably added to the ducks on the lake.
House At the Three Wild Ducks
House At the Blue Grape – Husova 15
Two smaller Gothic houses stood on this site. Over the years, they were rebuilt several times and eventually merged into one. The house at the Blue Grape (or also at the Two Spies) acquired its present appearance in the second half of the 18th century and at that time a house emblem was placed on it, depicting the Old Testament scene of Joshua and Caleb bringing a huge grape from the land of Kannan. There were ten houses with a sign of grapes in Prague. On such a walk we can meet another house like at the Green Grape near the Prague Castle, the vineyard Uvoz No. 30.
House At the Blue Grape
House At the Golgen Tiger – Husova 17
In the 15th century the house had a hoe as a sign, in the 16th century it received a black lion, which was exchanged in 1713 for a relief of a walking golden tiger. In the 1930s, there was the famous Šoch Patriotic Café, where students, writers and theatergoers such as J.K. Tyl, K.H. Macha or historian Frantisek Palacky meet. Later, a famous pub was established here, which was frequently visited by the writer Bohumil Hrabal in the recent past.
House At the Golden Tiger
Where to go next: At the first crossroads, turn right into Karlova street, at the next corner turn left until you find yourself on Male namesti. We continue straight. On the left we will see the Old Town Hall, but first we turn into the first alley on the right - Melantrichova.
House At the Golden Teapot - Melantrichova 20 and House At the Silver Teapot - Melantrichova 18
Interestingly, both signs are for two different houses next to each other. They never had the same owner, but they still got a similar sign. The burgher's House at the Silver Pot was already called at the Pots or at the Three Pots at the beginning of the 15th century. For a long time, the general confusion they were both called the same. It was not until around 1670 that the owners agreed to have a silver pot at one house and a gold pot at the other.
House At the Golden pot
House At the Silver pot
Where to go next: We will return to the Old Town Square, where we can see the Old Town Astronomical Clock on the town hall tower. Every hour between 9:00 and 23:00, the astronomical clock moves through the solemn march of the apostles. We will walk across the square towards the corner gothic house.
House At the Stone Bell - Old Town Square 13
This house is one of the oldest (2nd half of the 13th century) and the one of the most famous monuments of Prague. The main dominance of the facade was richly decorated with Gothic architectural elements that celebrated the idea of the kingdom and the ruling family. A typical house sign was placed on the corner of a building in the 16th century. The bell may commemorate the entry of John of Luxembourg to Prague in 1310, when after a futile siege of the city occupied by Henry of Carinthia, the gate was conquered inside and out at an agreed sign - the bell ringing of the hospital of the Virgin Mary in front of Týn (the church is located to the right of the house).
House at the Stone Bell
Where to go next: Continue along a narrow alley to the right to a small square.
At the Golden Ring - Tynska 6In the 15th century, a wine taster lived here, the work of which was probably related to the brisk operation of the neighboring Tyn Court – Ungelt, but not with a ring. It is said that one of the Old Town ghosts lost it on the market during night entertainment, the burgher picked it up and hung it over the gate. He thus provided magical protection for his house, as the ring, as a closed circle principle, protects against unclean forces. Today, there is an exposition of Charles IV's Prague - a magnificent construction site in Europe (Museum of the Capital City of Prague).
House at the Golden Ring
Where to go next: We turn back to the Old Town Square, turn right into Tynska Street and walk to the end.
House at the Three Feathers – Tynska street 10
Until the 17th century, it was called In the Hell and the house stood in front of the other tucked-out corners. In the first third of the 18th century, when it belonged to the Kinsky family, it received a noble family crest above the passage with a crown of noble rank. The Kinsky family had three vertically curved spikes in the emblem, which the heraldics called wolf claws or pig tusks. In the second half of the 18th century, some other owners changed the Kinsky emblem to feathers during the reconstruction. The feathers represented a bird, a heavenly messenger, a mediator between heaven and earth.
House at the Three Feathers
Where to go next: We continue to the left along Dlouha Street, we walk along the northern edge of the Old Town Square, past the Church of St. Nicolas, across Franz Kafka square slightly to the left to Platnerska Street. This will take us to Marianske namesti, which we will cross across to Seminarska street and further to Karlova Street.
At the Golden Snake - Liliova 17
It is said that in front of this house the Armenian merchant Deodatus Dajamanus sold the very first coffee in Prague. He offered the then exotic novelty right on the street to passers-by. He was so successful that in 1714 he opened the first café in Prague, at the Three Ostriches - this house with a fresco on the facade can be found right at the other end of the Charles Bridge. The house was not given the house sign of the golden snake by a crown on its head until the second half of the 18th century, when it was a pharmacy. The snake was a symbol of healing in the Gothic period.
House at the Golden Snake
Where to go next: We continue along Karlova Street towards the Charles Bridge. We cross it and continue along Mostecka Street to Malostranske namesti, where we turn right. On the left side you can see the church of St. Nicolas, but we continue on the right side straight to Tomasska street. We come to a right-hand bend that turns past the Wallenstein Palace.
At the Golden Sun - Valdstejnska 20
In 1541, a huge fire engulfed the Lesser Town, which completely destroyed many buildings. After 13 long years, a Renaissance house was built here and became the seat of imperial servants. The most interesting was Havel Obersverder, a nurse of imperial silverware at the court of Rudolf II., Who acquired the house in 1623 and had a relief golden sun carved over the portal. The house now houses the National Pedagogical Museum and library of J.A. Comenius.
House at the Golden Sun
Where to go next: Now we turn left straight up through Snemovni Street, turn left on a small square and turn right at the end of the street. We find ourselves in Nerudova Street, which climbs up to the Prague Castle and where it is possible to see signs on almost every house. We'll show you some of them.
House at the Three Violins - Nerudova 12
In the 17th and 18th century, the house was owned by three violin families. In 1667 it was bought by the widow of the violin master luthier Barbora Ottova and after her it was owned by her son-in-law, the famous violinist Leonard Pradter, who made string instruments for the musicians of the Loreta church. Another owner was his apprentice Tomas Edlinger. Tomas and his son Jachym Jan Edlinger brought the trade to great prosperity. Their violins, lutes and mandolins have been known at home and abroad. The house signs were given by the Edlingers to the house around 1700 in memory of the master violinists who lived here. Legend has it that sometimes ghosts skeletons play on the violin at full moon.
House at the Three Violins
At the Golden Cup - Nerudova 16
It is one of the fourteen oldest guild signs in Prague. As early as in 1586, the house was inhabited by a goldsmith, but the house was given a sign by the master Jan Schuman after 1660. Goldsmiths and jewelers generally liked this street and owned several houses here. For several years, the Golden Cup, together with the neighboring building, also belonged to the excellent Baroque architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichl. Today we can find an antiquarian with an inexhaustible number of rarities and antiques.
House at the Golden Cup
At the Golden Key / House at the Golden Bird Noh
Unfortunately, the meaning of the sign or name is unknown. In the Middle Ages, a moat was stretched here, and in 1490 a house on the site of a garden by the moat was first mentioned. Only the Gothic cellar and the Renaissance ground floor are preserved today. The house was then rebuilt in the Baroque and Classicist style. It is possible that the original name refers to the mythical bird Noh, which occurs in Old Czech legends and fairy tales.
House at the Golden Key
House at the Red Lion – Nerudova 41 and at the Green Cancer – Nerudova 43
House signs were often inspired by zodiac signs. Lion and Cancer appear on many houses in Prague. This semi-detached house blends at the level of the ground floor and the first basement. It has a Gothic origin and was adapted to its current form in the Baroque period. Both signs are from the year 1608 - a red lion with a gold cup in the foot and a relief image of a cancer decorated with stucco flowers. The house was owned by the mother of the Baroque painter Petr Brandl, who was born and lived here. Thanks to him, a unique facade has been preserved, the renovation of which he was responsible for in 1726.
House at the Red Lion
House at the Green Cancer
House at the Two suns - Nerudova 47
“Beautiful, warm June night. But the happiest, as if the moon was shining on the roofs of Ostruhova street, I think on the quiet roofs of the neighboring two houses at the Two Suns and Deep cellar. It's weird roofs, you can playfully get from one to the other, and they're just a corner, just a gutter, just a sequel. ” These are the introductory words of Jan Neruda's short story Evening gossip (Verecni splechty) by Jan Neruda from book Stories from the Lesser Town. He moved into the house as a child in 1838, when his father Antonin rented a newsagent at that time. Carefree childhood, picturesque figures and all sorts of nooks influenced Neruda and had a significant impact on his work. After his death, a memorial plaque was added to the facade of the house next to the sign, and the name of the street now pays homage to one of the most important writers of Czech literature and the inhabitants of the Lesser Town.
House at the Two Suns
Where to go next: we continue up the same street, which only changes from Neruda to Uvoz.
At the Three Red Hearts - Uvoz 14
The early Baroque burgher house, whose façade dates back to around 1700, has the interesting fact that the son of the goldsmith Jan Schuman, the owner of the house at the Golden Cup, which we have already visited, chosen the sign of this house. However, he no longer operated the goldsmith's trade.
House at the Three Red Hearts
Where to go next: we continue up the Uvoz street and a beautiful view of the Strahov Monastery opens up in front of us. On the left is a view of the hill and Petrin Park, and when we turn around, we have Prague in the palm of our hand. We continue until we reach Pohorelec Square. We keep to the left until we reach almost the end.
House at the Three Lilies - Pohorelec 16
This house sign dates back to the reconstruction in 1715. The white lily is a symbol of innocence, but also of cold beauty. The house was an inspiration for two Czech writers - Jan Neruda and Jakub Arbes. Both of them wrote a story of a girl who rushes to the Inn at the Three Lilies for a dance party despite her mother's death. The crooked nooks of the Lesser Town and Pohorelec only encourage mysterious to haunting stories.
House at the Three Lilies
Where to go next: we will return through Pohorelec Square and instead of turning into Uvoz Street we will turn left, where Loretanska Street will take us to Hradcany Square.
Gate of the Giants - Hradcany Square
We are at the end of our walk at the western and also the main gate to the Prague Castle. We are welcomed by four large statues. Two are wrestling titans with a bronze club and a dagger. They are accompanied by the symbol of the Austrian Empire - an eagle with a Austrian crown and the symbol of the Czech Kingdom - a lion with a scepter. The giant sculptures are complemented by a richly decorated black and gold Rococo lattice, for a magnificent and stylish welcome to all visitors.
Gate of the Giants - Hradcany Square
Gate of the Giants - Hradcany Square
Gate of the Giants - Hradcany Square
Sources and citation
- House signs of the old Prague, PhDr. Lydia Petráňová, Published by Panorama, 1991