Prague's Hrzánský palác is having an open house

The government is letting the public in its buildings for the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia

The government is letting the public in some of its historical buildings. Hrzánský palác, at Loretánská 177/9 near Prague Castle, will be open on Liberation Day, May 8, from 10 am to 6 pm, with the last tour starting at 5 pm. The open house is part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

Guided tours are limited to 20 people and take place every 15 minutes. The tours are in Czech, but much of it is very visual.

Hrzánský palác is one of the oldest buildings in Hradčany. In addition to beautifully decorated interiors, visitors can also see permanent exhibitions of the Symbols of the Republic and My State (Můj stát). People can also enjoy a view of Prague's skyline from the palace terrace, which was also popular with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who lived with his family between 1894–96 in Hrzánský palác when the palace had luxury apartments for rent.

“Hrzánský palác was radically adapted from 1949–52 from an apartment house to an exhibition palace serving representative purposes of the Ministry of Information and Education, and then in 1961 transferred to the then Office of the Presidium of the Government,” Radek Augustin, head of the Office of the Czech Government, said in a press release.

“Even today, the palace premises are mainly used for receiving state visits or for holding formal lunches, dinners or important sessions and conferences. The palace boasts a tapestry hall and a terrace with a breathtaking view of Prague,” he added.

The history of the house includes not only the TG Masaryk family but also the famous painters Ferdinand Engelmüller and Jan Slavíček. The latter painted a series of well-known paintings with views of Prague from the window of the lower level.

This is just one of several government buildings that are open this year.

Kramářova vila in Letná park is open every Saturday until Oct. 20, except July 7. It will also be open May 20, July 6, Oct. 28 and Nov. 17. Tours are from 9 am to 4 pm. The villa was owned by first Czechoslovak Prime Minister Karel Kramář and his wife, Naděžda. It is now used for government events.

Lichtenštejnský palác on Kampa will be open July 5. The palace is also used for official meetings and is where Queen Elizabeth II stayed when she visited Prague. King Juan Carlos of Spain and Japan's Emperor Akihito also stayed there.

The current look of the palace comes from its mid-19th century owner František Odkolek, a wealthy miller whose name is still remembered on Czech baked goods.

Strakova akademie, on the waterfront at nábř. Edvarda Beneš 128/4, is currently used by the government for its offices and official meetings. It will be open Oct. 28. Before it was a government building, it was used by a student union and for wealthy student housing.

Benešova vila in Sezimovo Ústí, South Bohemia, is open every weekend until Oct. 28. Fridays are for schools, while Saturdays and Sundays are for the public. Second Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš lived there with his wife, Hana. 

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