Zofin Palace

Nové Město, Slovanský ostrov 226

The present-day Slavonic Island was an area where a public bath, dye-works and a pub stood before 1817. In 1830, the island was purchased by miller Vaclav Novotny who had a house built here in 1836 – 1837. He also had the old pub replaced with a two-story, Neo-Renaissance building designed by architect Carl Pollak, with a concert hall in it. The hall could also be used for social events. In this manner, the building and the island connected to the embankment by a wooden bridge became on of the most significant centres of political, cultural and social life. In 1837, the Zofin Palace opened with a ceremonial ball. The island was renowned for the type of ball called “Narodni Beseda”, a charity event whose proceeds supported Czech national institutions. In 1841 and 1843, Bozena Nemcova danced here. Concerts of classical music were well – known, too. The list of performers included Ferenc Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Zdeněk Fibich, Petr Iljič Čajkovskij, among others. In 1863, Richard Wagner conducted a concert here facing for the first time ever the orchestra, not the audience. A future violin virtuoso Jan Kubelik gave his first performance here and Smetana`s Ma Vlast (My Country) sounded here for the first time. In 1840, the Zofin Academy, a significant Czech - German musical society was founded. A singing society "Hlahol" performed here frequently and in 1878, Antonin Dvorak gave his first solo concert. In 1884, the Prague municipality purchased the island and decided to renovate and enlarge the palace which no longer met the needs and interests of the Praguers. Architects Jindrich Fialka and Achille wolf supervised the work which included the addition on the ground floor (restaurant) and an enlargement of the main hall. Finally, a general renovation between 1991 - 1994, supervised by architects Tomáš Šantavy a Alexandr Döbert, gave the Zofin Palace its present-day appearance.

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Updated 01-01-1970 01:00