The city's art nouveau showpiece still fills the role it had when it was completed in 1911 as a center for concerts, rotating art exhibits, and café society. The mature art nouveau style echoes the lengths the Czech middle class went to at the turn of the 20th century to imitate Paris. Much of the interior bears the work of Alfons Mucha, Max Švabinský, and other leading Czech artists. Mucha decorated the Hall of the Lord Mayor upstairs with impressive, magical frescoes depicting Czech history; unfortunately it's visible only as part of a guided tour. The beautiful Smetanova síň (Smetana Hall), which hosts concerts by the Prague Symphony Orchestra as well as international players, is on the second floor. The ground-floor restaurants are overcrowded with tourists but still impressive, with glimmering chandeliers and exquisite woodwork. There's also a beer hall in the cellar, with decent food and ceramic murals on the walls. Tours are normally held at two-hour intervals in the afternoons; check the website for details.
Nov 5, 2009
Obecni Dum is beautiful from the outside, and quite near the Powder Tower. The inside is even better, and better yet if you can attend a performance in Smetana Hall. The hall and public areas around it are luxurious, and the decorating style is captivating. The hall itself has great acoustics.