The Rudolfinum Concert Hall is famous for its classical music, architecture and the yearly Prague Spring International Music Festival, which runs from May to June each year. It is situated at Jan Palach Square, close to the Manesuv Bridge next to the Vltava River.
It is a beautiful example of a neo-renaissance building. The front of the building is modeled on the Dresden Semper Opera that was destroyed by fire. The interior of the building is stunning and there are a wide variety of artworks including sculptures on display. The ornate ceilings and wooden floors are particularly noteworthy.
The concert hall was originally given the name House of Artists but this was changed to Rudolfinum in honor of Rudolf II who was the Crown Prince of Austria, a lover of the arts and patron of the original building concept.
Its construction began in 1876 and it took approximately eight years to fully complete. It has been host to a variety of musical talent throughout the decades and from 1896 has been the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Concert Hall consists of several performance areas, the main one and most elegant being the Dvorak Hall, which can seat over 1000 people. It is well known for its outstanding acoustic resonance. It was named after the conductor Antonin Dvorak, who was the first to conduct the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
There is also an Art Gallery in the building that exhibits mostly contemporary art.
Although its primary use has been that of a Concert Hall, there was an interval between 1919 and 1939 when it was used as the State Parliament. The Nazis eventually converted it back to its original state in 1940. During this time a new occupant, the German Philharmonic, took up residence and the concert hall was not returned to the Czech Philharmonic until after World War II.
Like so many old buildings in Europe, the Rudolfinum has had to undergo extensive restoration and renovation work, with the most recent taking place in the early 1990s.
The ambience of the building combined with the sounds of classical music certainly makes the Rudolfinum Concert Hall one of the "must sees" in the Czech capital city.
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