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Extension of the World Heritage Site "Historic Centre of Prague" with the important Monuments in its Vicinity

Date of Submission: 06/07/2001
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Culture, Prague
Coordinates: Müller Villa: 50°05'34" / 14°22'43" EBrevnov Abbey: 50°05'04" N / 14°21'24" EHvezda H.Lodge: 50°04'59" N / 14°19'35" E
Ref.: 1565

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The historic centre of Prague was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992 as itern no. 616 and officially included the area which corresponds to the boundaries of the historic quarters of Prague at the end of the 18th century.

Within the buffer zone of the historic centre one can find several properties which are themselves cultural monuments of exceptional quality and significance from the po int of view of visual arts as well as history and which meet the criteria for inclusion in the Worid Heritage List.

These architecturai monuments represent various style periods, their construction was financed by personalities from différent segments of the society and all of them may be seen as important events in the progressive development of architecture.

The group of buildings described above includes the following:

The Müller Villa - a family villa projected by architect Adolf Loos in coopération with Karel Lhota, an important work of modern architecture of the 1920s, unique in its radically new interior layout, the Raumplan.

The Bfevnov Abbey - a Benedictine monastery founded in the earliest era of independent Bohemian state with functionai links to the Prague Castle. lt was preserved, after reconstructions, as a grand, magnificent Baroque complex with the dominant building of St. Margaret's Church which is the work of the architect Chrîstoph Dientzenhofer, built in the period of High Baroque.

The Hvêzda Hunting Lodge With lts Game-park - a Renaissance building, unique in its construction scheme and also in the person of its amateur designer - the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol.

The Müller Villa forms part of Prague's residential quarter Stfe@ovice, situated in an attractive locality north-west of the city's historic centre. The villa, built in 1928-1930, was commissioned by a prominent businessman, the building company owner Franti@ek Müller. For this reason it was not to serve just as a family résidence, but also as a building adequately representing the owner's construction companies. Müller therefore entrusted the project to one of the most acclaimed architecte of the time, Adolf Loos, who cooperated on the disposition with the architect Karel Lhota.

The cubic building situated on a sloping plot bears unique evidence of the global conceptuel development of a family residential house in the late 1920s and early 1930s; it is an example of classicizing architectonic Modernism. At the same time, the villa represents a culmination point in Loos' work and his conception of living space. Unlike other functionalist buildings of that time, the Müller Villa is based on a new concept of internal layout (what is calied a Raumplan) - on the principle of a contînuous interior space with varying structural height of rooms. The individuel rooms and other spaces of the villa link up with each other in an ideal interior disposition scheme with ,merging" floors. According to the architect's design, the relative importance of each part of the house is reflected in its clearance height. The villa is of exceptîonal importance also with respect to its interior furnishing which was designed exclusively by Loos, using various precious materiais dressed with superb craftmanship. The rooms are provided with plenty of fitted furniture and designed individually in correspondance with their respective fonctions, social purpose and the requirements of their inhabitants. The protected property includes also a garden whose design corresponds with the simple and pure architectonic style of the house. It consists of a main fiat-ground area, supporting walls and terraces of various height levels, connected by flights of stairs.

In the 1990s the Müller Villa was bought by the Municipalîty of Prague, carefully restored and opened to the public as a monument of modern architecture.

The unified Baroque complex of the Bfevnov Abbey is a successor to the monastery dating from 992-993 which was founded jointly by the Czech prince Boleslav Il. and bishop Vojtêch (St. Adalbert). Having gone through a number of reconstructions and alterations, the abbey had always played the role of an important economic and cultural centre.

A preserved example of the earliest building activities is the Romanesque crypt situated under the presbytery of the present day Convent Church of St. Margaret, from the Romanesque and Gothic claustral buildings we can still see the remains of the foundation walling an ' d some elements which were afterwards embedded in buildings from later periods. In 1420 - at the beginning of the Hussite wars - the Abbey was severely damaged. In the early 18th century a complete reconstruction was decided on, and the following relatively short period of two decades saw the rise of a monumental complex consisting of a convent, a convent church, a prelacy, a convent hospital, garden architecture and economic facilities. The most significant building, naturally dominating the view of the abbey, is the church of St. Margaret (1710-15). The church represents an outstanding example of the dynamic Baroque style on the Bohemian territory, a style whose founders were the very author of St. Margaret, Christoph Dietzenhofer, and his son and successor on a number of construction projects, Kilian Ignatius Dientzenhofer. The layout of the church is based on the intersection of transversely-oriented ovals. At the points of intersection there are monumental pillars supporting the vaults and accentuated by pilasters and parts of the entablature. The dynamics of the interîor is reflected also in the richness of exterior forms and shapes. There are no corner edges, both the west and the east end of the building respect the cylindrical character of the narthex with the choir as well as the chancela

The building of the prelacy is also architecturally important; its interior was decorated, among other artists, also by two eminent Bavarian artists - the Asam brothers.

The Baroque reconstruction of the complex was accompanied by alterations of the garden. The terraces with pools and fountains, including the orangery, were modificated in the 1730s, in 1750 the salla terrena above the Vojtê@ka fountain and in 1761 with the Chapel of St. Joseph opposite Vojtê@ka were rebuilt.

The Hvêzda Hunting Lodge wîth its game-park is situated on the elevàted ground of Bilà Hora (the White Mountain), to the west of the historic centre. The hunting lodge was built in the enclosure called New Royal Game-park in the mid-sixteenth century, and its architecture is marked by both tendencies of the Italian Renaissance - the return to antiquity and Mannerîsm. The hexagram shape of its floor plan - the six-pointed star which gave the building its name (,,hvêzda" is the Czech word for ,star") - was projected by the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol. The floor plan was evidently inspired by the popular star-shaped plans of ideai fortified cities. In the spirit of north-Italian villas, the chambers of the building are grouped on two floors around a central polygonal area from which there stream the corridors separating the individuel rhomb-shaped rooms. The perfect centralized shape of the building thus manneristically contraste with the dynamic shape of the chambers, and the same can be said for the asymmetric location of the building in the game-park enclosed by a wall with gates. On the top floor of the hunting lodge there is a large hall.

The Hvêzda hunting lodge surprises visitors by the contrast of the stern exterior with bare walls marked only by the wîndow openings, and the richly decorated interior. The stucco décoration, especially that of the entrance hall, represents one of the earliest and most complete stucco cycles in the whole area north of the Alpes. The stucco reliefs are inspired in both their themes and their form by the works of the artists of Raffael's circle. The stucco work was done probably under the direction of Antonio Brocco in 1556-60. On the upper floors of the lodge there are preserved beautiful original floors.

The Hvêzda Hunting Lodge is the central point and vista of the game-park which bears the same name and it is also a clearly visible landmark in the west and north-west views. The game-park itself with the area of 85 ha was founded after 1534 by the emperor Ferdinand I.; the name Hvêzda passed onto the game-park after the building of the hunting lodge in 1555-

56.   The game-park kept its basic communication scheme consisting of three communication

axes starting at the gates (Libockà, Pra2skà, Bâlohorskà - Liboc Gate, Prague Gate, White Mountain Gate) and leading to the castle in front of which there is a small cultivated garden. In the period from 1986 to 2000, the Hvêzda Hunting Lodge, including the interiors, was being gradually restored and now it is open to the public. In the basement and on the ground floor there îs a long-term exhibition documenting the origins and development of the lodge as well as important moments of Czech history, while the first and second floors house longterm exhibitions of the Museum of National Literature, the institution responsable for the management of the monument.