During the weekend of May 18-19, 2019, people will be able to peek into the architecturally valuable spaces of historic palaces and representative villas, feast their eyes on office spaces designed in the modern style or even enjoy unforgettable rooftop views — all for free.
The aim of the annual Open House Prague festival is to give the public some insight into the different historical eras of the Czech capital’s architecture.
“Exploring buildings, their architecture, and stories is the first step to evoke people’s interest in the city and its public space,” says Andrea Šenkyříková, director of the festival.
In the past four years, the organizers of Open House Prague have made 192 buildings accessible, recording in total more than 185,000 visits.
Each year, the festival attracts thousands of visitors, who come not only from Prague but also from all over the Czech Republic and abroad. Open House is one of the world’s largest architecture event.
Aside from buildings that have been popular destinations in the past (Invalidovna, Hotel International, or the Central Telecommunication Building to name a few), 38 new buildings will be open for the first time this year.
Visitors will be able to see inside the state-owned Hrzán Palace and the Liechtenstein Palace, as well as the Trauttmannsdorf Palace in Hradčany, which is now in the final stages of reconstruction for use as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
The program also includes buildings designed by leading Czech architects: The Stenc House by Otakar Novotny in the Old Town, by Josef Gočár near Náměstí Míru (Peace Square), or the Laichter House by Jan Kotěra in Vinohrady.
People can also visit typically inaccessible spaces of some of the most important cultural sites; the medieval cellars of the Stone Bell House, the Troja Chateau and the Prague National Gallery, or the recently reconstructed technical monument of the Water Tower in Letna.
Festival-goers will also be able to see the largest stadium in the world, the Great Strahov Stadium, and for the first time ever, the Renaissance Pages’ House of Lords of Martinique in Hradčany. Back by popular demand, the organizers will also open Desfours Palace in Florenc for a second time.
More than 300 volunteers help make the festival run smoothly.
Ms. Šenkyříková says: “I am pleased that we contribute to the growth of volunteering culture. We connect people of different generations, professions, specialists with laymen. Throughout the year, we invite our volunteers to special tours of usually inaccessible buildings or spaces that cannot be made accessible for a large group of people during the festival.”
The organizers accept applications for the volunteering program all year long and are currently looking for English-speaking volunteers. To become a volunteer see here.
The concept of the festival was born in London in 1992 and has since expanded into 46 cities around the world.
Prague became part of the Open House Worldwide network six years ago, and the list of buildings that the city opens to the general public grows with each year. The patroness of the festival is renowned Czech architect Eva Jiřičná.
The event is organized Open House Praha, z. ú., which is also dedicated to year-long activities, including the development of educational programs for volunteers, children, young adults, and disabled people.