The National Gallery in Prague – Salm Palace

Photos: Vladimír Lacena (OHP)

Address: Hradčanské náměstí 1–2, Praha 1
Year: 1800–1810
Architects: František Pavíček (Pawitschek); Tomáš Šantavý (renovation)

The Salm Palace standing on the edge of a promontory above the Castle ramp was built between the years of 1800–1810 by architect František Pavíček, for Archbishop Florentin Salm-Salm. The Palace was built by renovating two older houses that used to stand in its place. This classicist building is not really a palace in the true sense of the word; rather, it was mainly used as a house for living, probably intended for senior archbishopric officials. Even so, the building was given its palatial design – a plan of a wide-spread “U” creating a large courtyard, closed by a spectacular gate from its third side. On Castle Hill the size of the palace creates an unexpectedly monumental entrance of the area on the south side of Hradčany Square.

The palace was then joint with the adjacent Schwarzenberg Palace (therefore often called The Little Schwarzenberg) and served as the Prague residence of the Schwarzenbergs until the nationalization in 1945. Later it became the seat of a representative office and had other, non-residential functions. The National Gallery  in Prague which manages the building since 2002, planned the reconstruction of the palace based on a project of architect Tomas Šantavý, designed specifically for a 19th century art collection. In 2009–2012, Catalan architect Josep Luís Mateo constructed a new glass pavilion entrance in between the Salm and the Schwarzenberg Palace’s courtyard in order to connect both buildings.