Everyone will notice that house on the Old Town Square – just turn your head to the left while waiting for the procession of the Apostles at the Astronomical Clock, and the significant house with walls decorated with sgraffito with biblical and mythological themes will surely catch your attention.
At first, it was called At the White Lion, later it was called the House at the Minute.
It was built at the beginning of the 15th century – it has preserved cellars, ground floor, and walls up to the height of the second floor from this Gothic form. At the end of the 16th century, the house was rebuilt in the Renaissance style – then sgraffito became part of its decoration. Later, it was modified in the classicist style, and only in 1938 was the archway built, without which we can no longer imagine the house today. At that time, the house was also reconstructed and Renaissance-painted ceilings were discovered on the house’s second floor.
In context with the house At the Minute, it is always mentioned that the writer Franz Kafka’s family lived here from 1889-1896. His father had a shop in the house, and all three of Kafka’s sisters were born there during the time the family lived in the house. Kafka’s entire life took place in an area of approximately one square kilometer in the Old Town. As the family grew richer, they moved to better and better places. The family moved into the House at the Minute in the year when Franz Kafka was six years old – and it was already the sixth house he lived in.
The house where the writer was born is only 180 meters away from this house, i.e. a 2-minute walk. It’s called Kafka’s House…
In its place once stood the Romanesque house At the Tower. At the beginning of the 18th century, the house fell down and a new house was built here, which was the prelature of the Benedictine monastery. However, in 1897 the house burned down and was demolished. In 1902, a house one floor higher was built in its place, partly inspired by the original form of the house. It also includes the preserved portal of the previous building.
In May 1945, the Old Town Square was the biggest battlefield of the Prague Uprising.
For many reasons:
- the town hall was the residence of the mayor
- there was a telephone switchboard
- the town hall building also housed the editorial office and the city street radio center
- opposite the town hall, on the corner of Old Town Square and Celetná Street, there was a fortified headquarters of the Nazi party NSDAP, with many armed Germans inside
- at the end of Pařížská Street, in the building of the Faculty of Law, was the headquarters of the SS troops in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
- in the House at the Stone Table, adjacent to the Štorch`s House, was the headquarters of the insurgent troops for the Czech Republic, called Alex – these Czech officers had been preparing the uprising since the spring of 1945
The Germans had pretty much occupied the left bank of the Vltava, on the right they defended the strategic area of Prague’s bridges and bridgeheads in order to maintain an escape route from the Red Army to the West. Tanks from Pařížská Street attacked persistently, supported by gunfire from Kafkas House. During this battle of the Old Town Square, the town hall building was the most destroyed. But another “Kafka`s House” was also significantly damaged.
The one we know under the name the House at the Minute…