National Theatre

The National Theatre represents a symbol of the Czech nation and belongs to the leading theatres in the country. It was founded in 1868 and currently consists of four artistic ensembles: opera, drama, ballet, and Laterna Magika.

The National Theatre is a representative theatre of the Czech Republic, striving for the highest artistic quality. It includes five stages: National Theatre, Estates Theatre, State Opera, New Stage, and Kolowrat Theatre.

The construction of the National Theatre was commenced in 1867. By the end of 1868 foundations were laid, in 1877 the roof was finished. It is a Neo-Renaissance building designed by the architect Josef Zítek and decorated by Bohuslav Schnirch, Mikoláš Aleš, František Ženíšek, and many other artists. The Theatre was opened for the first time on 11 June 1881 with Bedřich Smetana’s opera Libuše.

An interesting fact about the National Theatre is that it has three curtains: one made of metal providing fire protection, another painted by the painter Josef Hynais and celebrating the devotion of the Czech nation, and a manually operated red curtain.

There is an inscription “The Nation unto Itself” above the curtains. Three paintings depicting the golden age, the period of decline, and the time of resurrection adorn the ceiling.

National Theatre


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