When you walk along Husova Street in the Old Town, you can’t miss a building with an eye-catching portal decorated with four huge statues of Hercules. They guard one of the most beautiful Late Baroque palaces in Prague, and you’ll get an idea of the building’s splendour as soon as you step into the staircase hall at the entrance. Viennese architect Jan Bernard Fischer von Erlach designed the present appearance of the Clam-Gallas Palace. The workshop of Matthias Bernhard Braun produced the sculptural decoration, including the facade, staircase and Neptune fountain. The extraordinary quality of the decoration is in keeping with the spirit of ancient mythology.
They say that Count Clam-Gallas was a great lover of nightlife and built the palace for holding regular balls, concerts and boisterous parties. At one such event it is said Mozart and Casanova had met.
Today, the City of Prague owns the Clam-Gallas Palace, which houses the City Archives. However, the building is open to the public too, and stages a varied programme of exhibitions, concerts, conferences and other social events, including a series of lectures given by an academic group studying early modern history.
Currently, the palace serves as the temporary home of the Toy Museum, formerly located at Prague Castle. You can see a wide range of European and American toys, from antiquity to the present. Boys and girls – and adults – come to see them. They include dolls, with several hundred Barbie figures, teddy bears, cars, airships, model railways, and old wooden and metal toys, and legendary figures from the Star Wars film.
You may notice an Empire-era statue in a niche on the Mariánské Square side of the palace wall. The work of Václav Prachner, the statue takes the form of a young woman nicknamed “Terezka” (Theresa) by locals. In fact, she represents an allegory of the River Vltava.Vendula