Art Nouveau in Prague Tour with the House of the Black Madonna

Uncover how Art Nouveau and Modernism transformed 20th-century Prague
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • House of the Black Madonna
  • Municipal House
Photos & Highlights
  • Tour of Art Nouveau architecture in Prague
  • Led by local architecture scholar
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Tour Description
At the dawn of the 20th century, Prague exploded with artistic and intellectual activity, a new way of seeing the world—an “art nouveau” that transformed many major capitals across Europe. During this three-hour walking tour of Prague's Art Nouveau movement, we’ll dig deep into this movement, learn about its leaders, and see some great art and architecture, including the House of the Black Madonna, the first-ever Cubist house.

Prague Art Nouveau Tour

Our walk will start at the first-ever Cubist building, the House of the Black Madonna, designed by Josef Gočár, where we’ll consider how it and other structures reflect varied Czech tastes at the turn of the century. Born out of the artistic movement that began in Paris, this balanced, geometric style spread throughout Europe, but Prague remains unique as the only city that contains examples of both Cubist and Rondocubist architecture.

Varying from day to day, this walk may then veer in any number of directions, depending on the interests of the group and guide. We could stroll through the heart of Prague’s New Town, visiting many wonderful examples of Art Nouveau, such as the beautiful Lucerna bar (once owned by Vaclav Havel’s family) and the elegant Grand Hotel Europa—both fantastic examples of the ways the city landscape flourished in the early 20th century. Ahead of your visit you may want to read more about how Art Nouveau impacted capitals across Europe.

"In my opinion, the Art Nouveau walk is a must for every Prague visitor."

Turn-of-the-Century Optimism

A stop at the Prague train station, constructed in 1901, will allow us to use its ornate façade as a backdrop to look at some of the basic ideas behind Art Nouveau as a revolutionary reaction against classicism. There, we can also look at how industrialization and modernization—in this case, the advent of trains—fueled the artistic movement.

We may wind through the Old Town (also the subject of our Introductory Prague Walking Tour) to seek out Municipal House, a significant piece of architecture that ties our exploration of the city’s landscape back to the people who really live here. This elaborate, detailed building is also a landmark of Czech independence—it was here, in the days following WWI, that T.G. Masaryk announced the creation of the first Czechoslovak republic.

Architectural Gems Around Every Corner

Time permitting, we may jump onto one of the trams that crisscross Prague and make our way to one of the city’s residential areas to watch the play of light and shadow across the facades of Cubist buildings. This movement functioned as a counterpoint to Art Nouveau and the examples of this architecture are singular to Prague.

"A deceptively light hearted approach from [our guide] that left us having learned a great deal and eager to learn more."

Regardless of the exact route that we travel together, our time will be spent breaking down the aesthetics of Art Nouveau, giving us the tools to interpret and appreciate the cityscape during the rest of our time in Prague and even elsewhere across Europe. We’ll also look at how the movement in Prague changed the city's social scene (a topic we explore further on our Prague Cafe Tour) and functioned in a greater cultural European context.

For more, read our take on how Art Nouveau transformed Prague.
Where You'll Start
(4.71) 105 Reviews

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Great tour with Hana, we saw many beautiful exteriors and interiors, learning what aspects of Art Nouveau architecture were particular to Prague.
We really enjoyed this Art Nouveau tour and learnt many interesting things. We lived in Prague for almost 10 years and we were looking for something new, for a different perspective of the city and Katerina went amazingly beyond our expectations. We learnt a lot of things and loved the connections made between architecture and historical events during that period. It was great to notice things that we had never noticed before despite all the years living there: it's wonderful to have the chance to re-discover places you've know for ages! Katerina was simply amazing! She's very knowledgeable, she showed and told us many curious and interesting things. We really enjoyed the tour and we really recommend it. Thank you Katerina for your kindness and all the knowledge you shared with us!
We enjoyed our morning with Ernestina. Viewed beautiful buildings, inside & out. Ernestina was informative and personable. Thank you!