Prague Architecture with its amazing variety of decoration

Artwork on the exterior of Obecní Dum / Prague’s Municipal House © Ricky Yates

In my first post of 2011, in which I wrote about ‘Why I like living in Prague’, I explained that one reason was the amazing architecture and buildings to be seen whenever walking around the city centre or inner suburbs of the city. I also promised to write a future blogpost to illustrate my point, so what follows is in part, to keep me true to my word. This subject is also inevitably better illustrated than written about. So, as many people who leave comments or write private emails to me say how much they like my photographs, this post will be more pictures than words.

The photograph on the left is of artwork on the exterior of Obecní Dum / Prague’s Municipal House. The building is national cultural landmark and ranks as one of the most significant Art Nouveau buildings in Prague.

But it isn’t just on a few famous or significant buildings that such wonderful decoration can be seen. The two pictures below are of two buildings virtually next door to each other in the Prague suburb of Bubenec – well off the tourist trail.

Artwork on the exterior of a building in the Prague suburb of Bubenec © Ricky Yates

Artwork on the exterior of a building in the Prague suburb of Bubenec © Ricky Yates

Whilst this one below is in Senovázné námestí, within the city centre but again, in an area not overly frequented by tourists.

Artwork on the exterior of a building in Senovázné námestí, Prague © Ricky Yates

The two hotels pictured below are located in a more well-known part of Prague. They are situated side-by-side on Václavské námestí / Wenceslas Square and were both built in the late nineteenth / early twentieth century. As with so many other amazing buildings in Prague, since the fall of communism in 1989, they have been returned to their rightful owners and restored to their former glory. They also still function as the ‘Grand Hotel Europa’ and the ‘Meran Hotel’. I particularly like the intricate metalwork on the balconies of both buildings.

Hotel Grand Europa © Ricky Yates

Meran Hotel © Ricky Yates

Two ladies holding up a balcony © Ricky Yates

The other very noticeable feature of Prague architecture, is how many balconies and bay windows are held up and supported by carved figures, predominantly female ones. The photograph on the left, illustrates what I mean. However, it must be said that this example is relatively unusual. Why you may ask? Because both figures are fully clothed!

As you will observe when you scroll down, other female figures leave relatively little, if anything, to the imagination!

Topless ladies holding up a balcony © Ricky Yates

There are two further examples below which have suffered somewhat from the attention of the local pigeon population. If you look closely at the second picture below, you will see two pigeons sitting on the figure on the left.

Ladies holding up a bay window © Ricky Yates

Ladies holding up a bay window. Note the two pigeons perched on the figure on the left © Ricky Yates

Sometimes the figures are purely to beautify the building such as these two examples in contrasting artistic styles. But wherever you walk in the centre of Prague, there is always something of interest and beauty to see.

Two naked female figures surrounding a doorway © Ricky Yates

Topless female decorating the exterior of a building © Ricky Yates

8 comments to Prague Architecture with its amazing variety of decoration

  • These are some excellent examples of the architecture on display in Prague. It reminds me a little of the architecture in Glasgow city centre, which was built from the money raised from tobacco traders. It’s an interesting history.

  • Really amazing architecture. We have absolutely nothing that can compare in the states. The more I read your blog posts, the more I want to come visit.

  • I have a friend whose family was from Prague. He often travels there and shows me the photos he takes while traveling when he gets back. It is amazing. Their architecture there is magnificent, unique and has an authentic feel to it, even if you are just looking at photos. Nice pictures here, I enjoyed them very much and am sending the link to my friend!

  • Hello Ricky,
    Lovely photographs and some excellent examples of the general prettiness that makes me very glad I live in Prague. I thought that I would stop noticing the little details on buildings (like the semi naked ladies who prop up plinths) but it hasn’t happened so far!

  • Ricky

    Johnny, Riz & Brian – I know you’re mainly after back links but at least you’ve looked at and read the post 🙂

    Hello GIC – I don’t think you ever do stop noticing little details on buildings here in Prague. Quite often I spot new things in streets that I’ve walked down many times previously. It is one of the many delights of living here. And before you get worried into thinking that I only notice semi-naked ladies holding up plinths, I do intend to write and illustrate another post about religous art on buildings very soon 🙂

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  • Amazing picture of a very detailed architecture. In the old days, architect and artist gives plenty of time just for one project. They gives everything they could think of to make the building as beautiful as possible. Not like today.

  • Nice pictures, you have a good sense for details!

    Every time I lift my gaze from the pavement when I am in Prague’s streets, I can still wonder how many beautiful details I have overlooked until now.

    Prague architecture is a beautifully rendered juxtaposition of styles that range from modern to Romanesque. There is something to see that everyone can enjoy whether you are a form of the sleek Art Nouveau styling, or if you prefer the elegance of the Renaissance and Rococo architectural triumphs.

    In my opinion, the historical center has a great historical and architectural value, but the real Prague is hidden outside overcrowded areas.

    Please continue taking pictures, I look forward to your next posts!