This beautiful, Art Nouveau building is one of Prague’s most beloved buildings. It was once the seat of the old Royal Court Palace but has since been transformed into what is known today as the Municipal House or Obecní dům. In 1485, the old Royal Court was abandoned with the dissolution of Bohemia, and it wasn't until 1920 when the now Municipal House was built. The Czech people gifted themselves this essential structure as a piece of architecture which represented the Czech ideals of the bourgeois and democracy. The building was the pride of the nation and having the chance to dine within it, at one of the many restaurants, is a chance to experience as piece of Prague's history.
The building was constructed in the Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau architecture in the Czech Republic was made famous partly due to the success of painter, Alphonse Mucha. Mucha’s pieces featured images of curvy women with long, organically flowing hair, surrounded by leaves and swirling facades.
The features that separate Art Nouveau from other architectural designs are it’s obsession with asymmetry, embracing natural elements like; flower, vine, insect wings, and buds. These objects all have graceful lines and a rhythmical force. In Art Nouveau architecture there is a substantial use of ironwork, glass, ceramics and brickwork. There is a desire for lightness in the construction instead of reason and structure.
Inside the Municipal House contains a small but sparkling cafe called the "Kavarna Obecni Dum. Inside this sparkling cafe are some of the best original art nouveau decorations from all over the world. It's like dining inside a museum. The windows are a stunning example of the importance of light in art nouveau design. The chandeliers are another eye-catching feature that you can't help but stare up at.
Towards the back of the cafe is a large marble statue of the Carrara Nymph, standing against the wall like the guardian of the cafe.
Even the smallest details are styled to match the architecture around it. From the dishes to the menu, everything follows suit. Although this place has since become mainly a tourist spot, it still maintains the pleasant atmosphere reminiscent of what Prague would have been like in 1920's.
The menu contains an array of Czech dishes and classic cafe favourites We watched intently as the cake trolley was pushed around from table to table, thinking only of dessert even as we ate our delicious dinners.
We picked out an assorted berry cheesecake to finish off our meal, but there were also walnut cakes with whipped cream, raspberry temptations or Schwarzwald cherry cakes which all look delicious.
I also ordered a Rose Tonic Water which was one of the best non-alcoholic drinks I've ever had. We tried to find it elsewhere throughout Europe, but this was the only time we managed to track it down.
Kavárna Obecní Dům café is the least expensive of all the restaurants inside the Municipal House but looking up at all the richly decorated decor you'd never believe it. If you have a little more to spend, check out one of their other more upscale restaurants which will treat you like a Bohemia King or Queen for a day.