Located inside the Royal Gardens, overlooking the stag moat, sits this enchanting Renaissance building with an even more bewitching history. First built by Bonifaz Wohlmut and Ulrico Aostali in the mid 16th century to serve as the Royal game hall for an early form of tennis and badminton, the facade of the Ball Game Hall was decorated with impressive sgraffiti (depicting the Virtues, the Four Elements, and the Liberal Arts) and featured large garden side arcades, perfect for shading ones royal self from the sun. In the 17th century the Hall was transformed into the Royal riding school and also functioned as the Royal stables. Under Joseph II the Ball Game Hall was turned into a military barrack and storeroom. In the 20th century, the building was sadly struck by a World War II bomb and burned down to its outer wall. Finished in 1952, the Hall was meticulously and lovingly restored and returned to its former Renaissance glory, but was hidden in the closed Royal Garden until after 1989. It is interesting to note that the Communists added their own special touch of sgraffito to this masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. If you look closely at the front of the Hall facing the Royal Garden, you will find an added number 5 for the Five Year Plan and a hammer and sickle. The interior is simple and lovely, with a black and white checkered tile floor and seascape paintings adorning the wall, as well as the 17th century tapestry Antonius and Kleopatra. Notice the sculpture by Baroque master Matthias Bernard Braun titled The Night in front of the Hall form 1734. The Prussian army destroyed the sculptures companion The Day in 1757. Today this lovely building situated in the delightful Royal Garden is used for exhibitions, as a social venue and for classical concerts.
Address: Prague Castle Royal Garden, Hradcany Praha 1
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