Newly renovated Straka Academy / via Vlada.cz

Five Czech government villas and palaces will open to the public for free tours, starting this weekend

The interiors of several government buildings house large collections of art and period furnishings

Thanks to the favorable development of the coronavirus situation, the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic will be opening five of its buildings on different days.

Those interested will have the opportunity to gradually visit all the buildings on weekends and holidays. Tours, only available in the Czech language, will always take place from 9 am to 5 pm, with the last entry at 4 pm. People should try not to go at the last minute, as even under the best conditions sometimes there is a long line and some people have to be turned away at closing time.

The first open day will take place on Saturday, July 4, when the Kramář Villa (Kramářova vila) will be opened to the public. It will also be possible to visit it on the national holiday on July 5, which is St Cyril and Methodius Day. The neo-Baroque style Kramář Villa, located at the edges of Letná has and 56 rooms. It was built between 1911 and ’14 was built for Karel Kramář, who would later be the first Czechoslovak prime minister. Since 1998, the villa has been the official residence of the Czech prime minister.

, Five Czech government villas and palaces will open to the public for free tours, starting this weekend, Expats.cz Latest News & Articles - Prague and the Czech Republic, Expats.cz Latest News & Articles - Prague and the Czech Republic
Tapestry in Hrzánský palác. via Raymond Johnston

On Jan Hus Day, July 6, it will also be possible to see one of the oldest buildings in Prague’s Hradčany area. Hrzán Palace (Hrzánský palác) serves as an alternative seat of the Czech government, and is associated with important personalities of Czech history. It was home to 14th century builder Petr Parléř, who worked on Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. In the 20th century, first Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk resided there in 1894–96. Artists Ferdinand Engelmüller and Jan Slavíček painted landscapes from the balcony.

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Liechtenstein Palace (Lichtenštejnský palác) on Kampa island joins in the rotation on July 25. Fans of the 1996 film Mission Impossible will recognize the exterior as the film’s US Embassy. But the palace interior was not in the film — those scenes were shot at the stairway of the National Museum.

The palace dates back to 1555, though it was rebuilt numerous times and passed through several noble families. The stone entry portal is one of the few remaining Baroque parts. The building is notable for its unusual six-sided floor plan. After the Velvet Revolution, it was used to house visiting dignitaries such as King Juan Carlos of Spain with his wife Sofia, British Queen Elizabeth II and Japanese Emperor Akihito with Empress Michiko.

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Liechtenstein Palace. via Raymond Johnston

As part of the Open House project, the main seat of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, the Straka Academy (Strakova akademie) will open on September 5–6 and also Czech Statehood Day on September 28. The building, located near the Malostranská metro stop, has undergone a large renovation recently. People will be able to see the meeting room of the Czech government, press halls and look into the prime minister’s office.

The building’s historical roots are as a school dormitory for the aristocracy, and later in the First Republic as the base of the Czechoslovak Student Union. It has been used as a government building since the World War II era.

The final building on the roster is the Beneš Villa, also opening September 5–6 and subsequent dates.

The building was built in 1939–31 by Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš and his wife Hana in Sezimovo Ústí in South Bohemia. The furnishings are all handed down from the Beneš family.

Entry to government facilities will be subject to current and valid measures from the Ministry of Health.

Schedule

July
July 4 – Kramářova vila
July 5 – Kramářova vila
July 6 – Hrzánský palác
July 11 – Hrzánský palác
July 18 – Kramářova vila
July 25 – Lichtenštejnský palác

August

August 1– Hrzánský palác
August 8, – Kramářova vila
August 15 – Lichtenštejnský palác
August 22 – Hrzánský palác
August 29 – Kramářova vila

September

September 5–6 – Strakova akademie and Lichtenštejnský palác
September 4–6 – Benešova vila
September 12–13 – Benešova vila
September 19–20 – Benešova vila
September 26–27 – Benešova vila
September 28 – Strakova akademie

October

October 2–4 – Benešova vila
October 5 – Kramářova vila
October 10,–11– Benešova vila
October 17–18 – Benešova vila
October 24–25 – Benešova vila
October 28 – Lichtenštejnský palác

November

November 17 – Hrzánský palác and Lichtenštejnský palác

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