GOTHIC BURGHER HOUSES IN OLD TOWN SQUARE

Prague 1, Old Town

Old Town Square 604

remains of Gothic burgher houses

available in the restaurant and cafe

House no. 604 – so-called Tyn School – is situated at the corner of Old Town Square and Tyn Street. Originally, there were two separate burgher houses, first recorded in 1359 and 1363, which were joined together after 1407. There is a general consensus in literary sources over the dating of the corner section of the house from the late 13th century. The south half of today’s house is generally dated into the first half of the 14th century, yet an earlier origin is not excluded.

            The current adjustment of the basement, including an earlier structure which had remained unknown until now, was formed after the reconstruction of house no. 604 in 2008. The arrangement of the cellars indicates the original two houses. Differences between the two parts of today’s wide house remained visible on the vaults of their arcades – on the north, the arcade is equipped with single ribs with relief keystones, dating it from the late 13th century and thus making it the oldest surviving arcade not only in Prague, but in the country. The more advanced ribbed vault of the arcade’s southern part is believed to have originated in the second quarter of the 14th century.

The older of the two cellars was probably built shortly after the mid-13th century. As indicated by pottery findings, the cellar was backfilled around the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.

            A thorough several-year-long preparation preceded the archaeological excavation of the backfilled cellar to the east in 2008. The parallel-oriented cellar of the size 7.4 × 5.3 m has survived in the form of its construction with no significant later reconstructions. The remaining pockets under the beams on the north and south walls evidenced the earlier beamed ceiling. The walls were only slightly divided. The most segmented was the east wall with a visible venting window just under the ceiling, two roof-topped niches (surprisingly made of rough marlstone), and a semi-circular portal in the southeast corner of the cellar through which the space was accessed via an east-oriented staircase leading from the back of the plot. The existence of a wooden ceiling in a cellar in both Old Town Square and the entire historical core of Prague is rather unique.

            Currently, the cellars illustrate the appearance of basements in the Old Town during the 13th century. The European Union sponsored their uncovering, and visitors to the local restaurant and café as well as Praguers, who have free access to the newly revealed space, may evaluate the results of the project.

Datum vložení: 21.1.2019 | Datum aktualizace: 31.8.2020
Autor: Zdeněk Dragoun

Použité prameny:
  • Dragoun, Zdeněk 2004: Raně gotická vstupní šíje do spodního podlaží domu čp. 478/I na Staroměstském náměstí v Praze. Dějiny staveb, 121-129.
  • Vlček, Pavel a kol. 1996: Umělecké památky Prahy. Staré Město – Josefov. Praha.