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Town Hall

Location: Havlíčkovo Square, top edge of the park, side 

The largest quarter of the Prague 3 metropolitan district, Žižkov, is situated to the east of the centre of Prague. As an independent township, it has existed since 1875 under the name Královské Vinohrady I. after Královské Vinohrady had split; in 1878, Královské Vinohrady I. was renamed Žižkov which was later, in 1881, declared a city. In 1922, it was included in the Greater Prague. Since 1960, almost all of Žižkov has formed a part of the Prague 3 metropolitan district and, since 1990, also the territory of Prague 3.

The first home of theZižkov town authority after the split of Královské Vinohrady was located in the present Pod Vítkovem Street, building no. 554 built by Karel Hartig, builder and the first Mayor of Žižkov as a new independent municipality. Not long afterwards, the office was moved to the Prokopovo square no. 100, also built by K. Hartig for the Civil Savings Bank and, later, the District Court. In October 1887, the municipal council accepted the plan to build a new Town Hall in the Basilejské (Havlíčkovo at present) Square. The original Basilejské Square dates back to 1875; it was renamed in 1911 after the poet, journalist and politician, Karel Havlíček Borovský. Even the initial plan of Žižkov counted on it as the central and administrative square. It has a mild slope, the southern side is highest while the northern side lowest. The north-eastern side of the Square is defined by the Prokopova Street, the western by Štítného while Lupáčova heads south-east and Lipanská south-west. This side also features the most important building in the square (no. 700), the Žižkov Town Hall built in the Neo-Renaissance style in 1889–1891 to the design of architect Jan Šimáček, a Žižkov City Council member. The Žižkov City Council moved to the new building on September 3 and 4, 1890, and it opened to the public on the eve of the opening of the Anniversary Expo, on May 14, 1891. Later, in September, Franz Joseph I visited the Town Hall. 

The building is one of Prague’s most beautiful town halls. One wings faces the Square while the other, situated in the Lipanská Street, was first extended by an Art Nouveau annex to the design of Zdeněk Frič in 1910 – 1911 and later the Town Hall annexed other buildings in Lipanská 9 and 7. The historic building of the town hall is a rectangular building with two wings, entrance rotunda in the corner where the main entrance faces the crossing of the Lipanská and Lupáčova Streets, entirely in line with the unconventional urbanism of Žižkov. From the perspective of composition, it is designed as two rotundas, forming an eight, which further extend into the administration buildings. The double rotunda composition is impressively projected into the interior of the town hall; the exterior rotunda accommodates a distinguished hall, the representative room of the town hall leaders on the first floor and a circular room, originally for the committees, which connects to the present Ceremonial Hall, previously (1890-1911) the meeting room of the Town Council. The Ceremonial Hall with the coffered Neo-Renaissance ceiling is decorated by a monumental painting, Battle of the Vítkov Mountain on July 14, 1420 by Adolf Liebscher from 1907. The inner rotunda consists of a magnificent, representative stairwell. The building is the seat of self-government and office of the Prague 3 metropolitan district; it also includes exhibition premises in the basement and a small outdoor gallery in the inner courtyard. The Žižkov Town Hall hosted the weddings of many important people, e.g. actor Vlasta Burian, poet Jaroslav Seifert and (twice) President Václav Havel.

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