Friday, 15 October 2010
But once enter its great colonnaded vestibule (star of many a Hollywood movie by the way), and there's no doubt of the building's purpose: to tell the story of the Czech and Slovak lands through its extensive natural history collections. Minerals, rocks, meteorites, fossils, zoological specimens - even the remains of a mammoth - are on show for all to marvel at.
For some time now, though, this grandiose expression of the Czech identity has been bursting at the seams. There's simply too much to display. The country's social history (particularly its recent communist past) now has a dedicated space in the next door building which was once the HQ of the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly and later that of Radio Free Europe. And from July 2011 the museum will be shut for four years for a complete overhaul. The plan is to build a museum precinct, comprising the old and new buildings, as well as the State Opera, linked by a newly-landscaped pedestrian zone; while the roaring dual carriageway which at the moment splits the museum from Wenceslas Square will be re-routed underground.
If you're visiting Prague before then and want to take a last look inside the museum, details of opening times and current exhibitions can be found here
Topics: Public buildings