10 Amazing Buildings with a Great Story

10 Amazing Buildings with a Great Story

Monuments and buildings that have an important role in the history of the Czech Republic you may not know yet.

Buildings are witnesses of time. Some of them remember millenniums or centuries, other "only" decades, but even some of those have significantly marked the history of the country. In the first two autumn months, Czech Republic celebrates two significant days – the Czech Statehood Day (28 September), which commemorates the day on which St. Wenceslas, a Czech patron saint, was murdered, and the day of creation of the independent Czechoslovak State (28 October) after the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We have prepared a list of ten interesting buildings that played an important role in the Czech history and are definitely worth seeing.
We could start our overview with well-known historical buildings, such as the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge or castles and chateaus all around the country, witnesses of all its glorious moments and times of injustice. However, we prefer to introduce buildings that you may not know yet but that certainly have historical importance and tell a captivating story.

1. Villa Tugendhat

One of them is Villa Tugendhat in Brno, a gem of modern architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is considered the most significant pre-war work of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, father of modern architecture. At a dizzying price that would pay 30 family houses in the thirties, the industrialist Tugendhat had it built as a wedding gift for his daughter Greta. However, the couple only lived there for eight years. As Jews, they fled from the Nazis in 1938, who then moved into the Villa. In 1945, they were replaced with the Red Army with their horses, which did not do any good to the interiors of the building. Then the Villa was converted into a rehabilitation center, before it became listed national cultural heritage in1969 and world cultural heritage in 2001.

2. The Ještěd Television Tower

The interesting construction used as a TV transmitter and hotel and one of the most iconic buildings of the North Bohemia and the entire Czech Republic is the landmark of the Jizera Mountains. The Ještěd Tower was designed by the architect Karel Hubáček and has the unusual form of a rotating hyperboloid. The building received the Auguste Perret Prize for innovative application of technologies in architecture, the most significant prize ever awarded to a Czech architect. You can get there by a cable car or on foot; either way has its own specific charm.

3. Santini on the Green Mountain

The presentation of the work of the talented Czech architect of Italian descent, Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel, takes us back to the turn of the17th and 18th centuries. Santini was born into the family of a stonemason. He could not take over his father’s workshop due to a physical disability but he learned the craft anyway and simultaneously also studied painting. After completing the apprenticeship, he went to Rome where he acquired the qualification of architect. After returning to the Czech Lands, he designed buildings on his own and several of them have been preserved until the present day. Very well-known is the Monastery in Plasy with its cantilever staircase, the Church of the Assumption and St. John the Baptist in Kutná Hora and the Kolowrat Palace in Prague. His most famous and possibly also most beautiful work is the magic building of the pilgrimage church of St. John of Nepomuk on the Green Mountain (Zelená hora) near Žďár nad Sázavou, combining the elements of baroque and gothic style and symbolism. In his projects, he intentionally uses specific numbers, like three – referencing to the Saint Trinity.

4. The Dancing House

On the banks of the Vltava River in the Centre of Prague you can find a House that stands out with novel design, glossy glass surface and its dancing posture. Its shape is reminiscent of a dancing couple - the most famous dancers of all time, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The original idea was appreciated by the Time magazine, which selected theDancing House as the best design of the year 1996. You can admire it as well, both from the outside and inside. Apart from offices, it also comprises a café, restaurant and a gallery.

5. The Kuks Hospital

The large baroque compound underwent a major renovation a few years ago, becoming one of the finest and most visited sights of East Bohemia. The Kuks Hospital was established as a resting place for retired soldiers who were looked after by the Hospitaller Order. Its most significant parts are the Church of the Holy Trinity or one of the oldest pharmacies in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, the entire construction is unique thanks to the participation of the best artists of the time, like Giovanni Batista Alliprandi and sculptor Matyáš Bernard Braun, author of the allegorical statues of virtues and vices, which you will want to admire the whole day.

6. Cubist Sights

The union of architecture and specific artistic style like Cubism is a Czech specialty and pride. The architects led by Josef Gočár were inspired by the principles of modern art and attempted at reflecting them in the walls of their buildings. And they were successful, as proved by the House of the Black Madonna in Prague, several villas in Olomouc or the bathhouse in Bohdaneč.

7. The Žižkov Tower

Not every building makes it in the history in a positive way. An example is the Žižkov Television Tower in Prague. According to a survey among leading experts, it is the second ugliest building in the world. Whatever you think about it, the truth is that it belongs to Prague and Praguers cannot imagine their city without it. The same is true for the statues of black babies, climbing its walls since several years ago. At The Žižkov Television Tower, you can enjoy beautiful views of all parts of Prague, an excellent lunch or coffee and cake. Or you can even spend a night in its unique One Room Hotel.

8. The Expo Pavilion

Other buildings represent the Czech Republic in a much more positive light, like the Czechoslovak Pavilion from the Expo 1958 World’s Fair. Boldly conceived and modern, the building was awarded the first prize of the Fair, along with the other thirteen awards. Afterwards it was transported to Prague and constructed again in the quarter of Letná. Today, it is not open to the public, but you can take a walk to it and continue along the beautiful Letná Orchards, full of romantic spots and surprising views of Prague's Old Town.

9. Zlín

Zlín is a town in the southeast of the Czech Republic, associated with one of the most important figures of the country’s economic history, Tomas Bata, whose name shines on shoe department stores all over the world and who built his shoe empire there. His success in the shoe-making industry was staggering and is also reflected in his home town. He changed Zlín’s infrastructure to meet the demands of an industrial city with all the trimmings. But it would be wrong to expect ugly structures mede of steel. Zlín is a great example of how to link beauty and functionality, which was appreciated by the architect Le Corbusier, among many others.

10. Terezin (Theresienstadt)

The war times and the tragic part of the history is commemorated by the town of Terezin, which was turned into a Jewish ghetto Gestapo prison by the Nazis during the World War II. Today, it is a national monument with several places of reverence and expositions. It is visited by those who want learn about the sad part of the Czech history.

The earlier history of Terezin is also interesting. The town was founded as a fortress by Emperor Joseph II at the end of the 18th century. He named it after his mother, Maria Theresa. At present, there is also a Museum of Franz Joseph I, which presents the life of the Emperor at the Austro-Hungarian court.