120 years of the Rudofinum concert hall
This month is the 120th birthday of one of the most beautiful Prague concert halls - the Rudolfinum. But the building, down by the river in Prague's Old Town, and now home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, is not only a concert hall. There is also an art-gallery, a smaller concert hall, a café and even a recording studio. I asked the architectural historian Zdenek Lukes how this famous Prague landmark came to be built.
So how was the actual building designed? What was its original purpose?
"There was a competition in the beginning and two winners Zitek and Sulc designed this beautiful building in neo-renaissance style. I think the wish of investor was to create a house for artists named after Rudolf, the eldest son of Emperor Franz Josef I. One part of the building is the famous Dvorak Hall, now housing Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and the rear part of the building is used as a gallery for art exhibitions, and called the Rudolfinum Gallery. The building was decorated by artists of the so-called 'National Theatre generation', like Zenisek, Schnirch and others. The entrance is lavishly decorated, and there are figures of famous European composers on the roof."
You have already said that the building was designed mainly as a concert hall - that is also its purpose today. But has it always been the same? Has it been used as a concert hall for all the time?
If you'd like to see the building, you can of course go to see one of the concerts there or visit the gallery. But the Rudolfinum management is also preparing some events to celebrate the anniversary in the autumn. As part of this, there will also be guided tours in different languages.