In Hrzánský Palace, visitors will be able to see the Czech Prime Minister’s office and ‘Gobelínový sál’ (the Tapestry Hall), which served as a substitute meeting place for the Government of the Czech Republic for a part of last year. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the exhibition ‘My State and Symbols of the Republic’ and enjoy the delightful view of the city, much beloved by an important former inhabitant of the palace, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia.
A little bit of history
Hrzánský Palace is located on Loretánská Street, and today's building stands on the site of a Gothic house which belonged to the St. Vitus Chapter and subsequently to the imperial porter Henslin in the 14th century. In 1359 it was purchased by Petr Parléř, the famous sculptor and principal builder of St. Vitus’ Cathedral. The many later inhabitants of the palace include Jindřich Mikuláš of Lobkovice and Adam the Elder of Šternberk, who refurbished the house over the last two decades of the 16th century. Further improvements were made by the Supreme Gentleman of the Chamber Oldřich Desiderius Pruskovský of Pruskov, who had it remodelled in Renaissance style.
The house is named after Count Hrzán of Harras, to whom it belonged from 1708. However, the count died in debt, and so the building fell to the St. Vitus Chapter and became the seat of the provost. Later, Czech painters had their studios here, first Ferdinand Engelmüller, pupil of Julius Mařák, and later Jan Slavíček, who painted his views of Prague here.
Another glance into the past
The first mention of a building on the present site of Liechtenstein Palace dates back to 1555, however, it was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War. It was not until the end of the 17th century that František Helfried, the free lord of Kaiserstein, had a single-storey baroque water palazzetto built there with the unusual ground plan of an irregular hexagon around the courtyard, with a gallery on the upper floor. In 1831, the building was bought by the Prince of Liechtenstein, who had the two towers with roof alcoves removed and his coat of arms mounted above the portal. But it was not until the second half of the 19th century, when the palace was purchased by the miller František Odkolek, that it assumed its present-day appearance. The new owner added a second storey, replaced the Baroque facade with a Classicist one, and only the columned entry portal and the balcony with a balustrade remained. The present interiors of the palace are also from this reconstruction.
Exhibition of protocol gifts
Visitors to Liechtenstein Palace can also look forward to guided tours, which include the newly installed exhibition of protocol gifts to the Czech Prime Minister. The exhibition, prepared by the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, contains over 50 gifts that PM Andrej Babiš received during major foreign trips he has made since he took office. At present, Liechtenstein Palace is used by the Czech government for representational purposes. Guests such as Spanish King Juan Carlos and his wife Sofia, British Queen Elizabeth II, and Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were accommodated in the second-floor apartments during their stay in Prague. The halls and lounges on the ground floor serve for work and friendly meetings.