Prague’s Historic Golden Lane Reopens

The New York Times

Last May, the most picturesque part of Prague Castle, Golden Lane, closed for one year, because of broken pipes that were flooding its pretty cottages. On June 1, the street reopened, and some of its historic buildings are housing new, artistic offerings.

When the decision was made to repair the drainage system, David Sebek, a Prague Castle press specialist, said they also decided to completely reconstruct the whole lane.

“Golden Lane was full of souvenir shops, we wanted to make it better, so have kept only seven as shops, and the other nine cottages will house exhibitions depicting life in the street from the last four to five centuries,” he said.

The buildings of Golden Lane date from the 1560s; the final tenant didn’t depart until 1952. Famous residents of these tiny houses include the Czech poet Jaroslav Seifert and the writer Franz Kafka.

“We want to make people believe that people lived here — the furniture, the kitchen equipment, all the details,” said Dr. Frantisek Kadlec, director of Prague Castle’s tourism department. “Barrandov movie studios designed all nine of the exhibitions and many items came from the Castle’s depositories or were bought in bazaars.”

Highlights among the snug bungalows include a 17th-century pub, complete with scarred wooden tables and benches; an 18th-century herbalist’s home, decorated with dried flowers and spice sachets; and the home of a castle gunner, dating from the 16th- to 17th-century reign of Rudolf II, featuring a sleeping loft, weapons holder and bright red uniform.