One of the largest archaeological researches in the centre of Prague was carried out on the site of the present Palladium Shopping Centre which covered the former riding school and the remaining residue of the military quarters main building. Encompassing more than 1.5 hectares, the extensive area between the square and Truhlářská and Na Poříčí Streets underwent a complex development over the centuries which may be divided into four stages. The first one represents a medieval proto-urban settlement whose beginnings date from the mid-12th century at the latest. Archaeological traces of this period are represented by multiple sunken interiors of earth and clay structures as well as the Romanesque stone houses. Furthermore, intense handicraft activity was evidenced, especially iron and non-ferrous metal processing which was an important part of the local economy. The first half of the 13th century marked an abrupt change and the local housing development disappeared over a relatively short period of time. The decline of the local settlement was connected with the building of the Old Town fortification during the 1230s. Another significant change took place after Charles IV founded the New Town of Prague in 1348, including this place in the fortified city. A city hospital with the Church of the Virgin Mary was founded at the corner of the square and Na Poříčí Street.
The discoveries of Romanesque stone houses, hitherto prevailing in the Old Town, dominate the many interesting research findings. The most monumental house was uncovered in the interior of the former military quarters main building. The palace type structure with a rectangular ground plan of 25 × 8 metres ran in a north-south direction. It was at least a two-space house with two entrances on the east and a toilet avant-corps at the northwestern corner. The palace basement, located 2 metres beneath the later walking level, was vaulted with a groin vault onto the central sandstone pillars with bases decorated with claws in the corners. Two other structures built from marlstone ashlars in compliance with the Romanesque technique were discovered east of the palace in the area of the former military quarters courtyard. In addition to a rectangular all-stone house encompassing 11 × 8 metres with an entrance area, a formerly earth and clay deeply sunken house of 13.4 × 6.4 metres with a stone entrance area was uncovered at the very back of the plot. This type of house, combining stone and wooden elements, is unique unparalleled evidence of the Prague Romanesque architecture. Multiple small findings from various stages of the local settlement development were acquired from the researched area.
Solitary presentations of the most prominent Romanesque structures situated in today’s modern structure point out the rich history of this area. The fragment of the large stone palace is found in the first basement of the current bookshop. The relics of the stone house (in front of the café in the second basement) and the stone entrance areas of the earth and clay house (under the escalator in the second basement) were transferred to the free space of the shopping atrium.
Datum vložení: 21.1.2019 | Datum aktualizace: 3.7.2020
Autor: Petr Juřina - Martin Vyšohlíd