Originally Published: January 15, 2015

The arts are an integral part of Czech culture, from the 19th-Century classical compositions of Antonín Dvořák to electing a playwright, Vaclav Havel, as the first president of the Czech Republic. The wide array of historic theaters adding elegance to every ballet, opera and classical music performance in Prague doesn’t hurt either. There’s no better way to enjoy Prague at night than with one of these classical programs.

National Theater Exterior - Prague
Prague’s National Theater

Prague’s National Theater (Narodni divadlo)

The crowned dome dominating the banks of Prague’s Vltava River is a result of the Czech National Revival of the 19th Century. This period redefined the national identity by promoting the Czech language over an increasing German influence, along with the construction of 2 cultural monuments: Prague’s National Theater and the National Museum that tops Wenceslas Square. The theater’s ornate interior of rich red and glittering gold envelop the audiences as they enjoy opera, drama and performances from the Czech National Ballet.

Národní 2, Prague 1
+420 224 901 448
narodni-divadlo.cz

National Theater Interior - Prague
The opulent interior of the Narodni divadlo

Rudolfinum

Classical music legends line the rooftop of this 19th-Century, neo-Renaissance building, including Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and other great composers. The home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took a break from classical music to enter politics from 1919 – 1939, serving as home to the Czech parliament. These days, Rudolfinum houses two concert halls, Dvořák Hall and Suk Hall, as well as a classical art gallery, and plays a major part in the annual “Prague Spring” music festival.

Alšovo nábřeží 12, Prague 1
+420 227 059 227
ceskafilharmonie.cz

Rudolfinium Exterior - Prague
Prague’s Rudolfinum Theater

The Estates Theater (Stavovské divadlo)

If you want a solid reference for Prague’s opera scene, just ask Mozart. He chose to premiere 2 of his operas here, Don Giovanni in 1787 and La clemenza di Tito in 1791, to famously receptive Czech audiences. The Estates Theater also boasts the first performance of “Where is My Home” in 1834, before it became the Czech national anthem. You can find the lyrics inscribed on a plaque outside the theater’s central location between Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Today, visitors can attend a variety of opera, ballet and classical music concerts.

Železná Street / Ovocný trh, Prague 1
+420 224 901 448
narodni-divadlo.cz

Estates Theater Interior - Prague
The impressive Estates Theater

Smetana Hall at Prague’s Municipal House (Obecní dům, a.s.)

The intricate Art Nouveau architecture of the Municipal House shines beside the Gothic presence of the Powder Tower and timeless International style of the Czech National Bank and the modern Palladium shopping mall surrounding Prague’s Náměstí Republiky square. The building holds a significant place in the nation’s history – Czechoslovakia announced its independence in 1918 from the gold-trimmed balcony. Inside, Smetana Hall offers classical music performances from Prague’s Symphony Orchestra, FOK, along with jazz concerts.

Nám. Republiky 5, Prague 1
+420 222 002 101
obecnidum.cz

The State Opera (Státní opera)

Built in 1888, this historic theater was originally the New German Theater, providing an independent home for the German Opera in Prague up until 1939’s Nazi occupation. The theater reopened in 1949, hosting Czech and guest performances, and eventually became part of the National Theater in 1992. Today, the neo-Rococo architecture, painted ceilings and tiers of gold-embellished box seats lining the walls set the stage for ballet and opera performances in Prague.

Wilsonova 4, Prague 1
+420 224 901 448
narodni-divadlo.cz

State Opera Exterior - Prague
The State Opera building in Prague

Spanish Synagogue

The colorful façade, stained-glass windows and Moorish architecture of the Spanish Synagogue are part of the Jewish Museum of Prague, a collection of historic buildings scattered throughout the well-maintained Jewish Quarter. In addition to exhibitions, the synagogue hosts concerts of classical, Jewish and world music with the incredible acoustics one would expect in a house of worship.

Vězeňská 1, Prague 1
+420 224 749 211
jewishmuseum.cz

Inside tip: Despite the Czech Republic’s casual reputation, an evening at the theater is an event to dress up for. You won’t be turned away for wearing jeans, but you might catch a few dirty looks from locals in the audience.

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