Pachtuv Palace: A history of the 17th century Baroque palace and the noble Pachta family who called it home
The original, old Baroque Pachta’s Palace and house of Earl Hubert Karel Pachta from Rajov number 208 in Old Prague Town belongs to a group of cultural and architectural monuments. It was built in the 18th century according to the design of architect Jan Josef Wirch. The Pachta family were of noble origin and had received their coat of arms from Emperor Franz Ferdinand in 1628, which can still be seen today at the head of the original entrance of the palace on Anenske Namesti.
Jan Josef Pachta was known to be a big music lover and a great supporter of the music life and culture in Prague. He even had his own orchestra and regularly hosted concerts and dances. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Konstanze were regular guests of the Count, this was due to the fact that Mozart believed that he had finally found his orchestra in Prague, and thus travelled there often in his later years. He said ..my Czechs understand my music. Where his opera Le nozze di Figaro received a tepid reception in Vienna, it's December of 1786 presentation at Prague's Nosticz Theater (now the Estates Theater) was a huge hit. This turn of events brought Mozart to Prague for the first time in January of 1787 to conduct Le nozze di Figaro himself. Later that month he presented his Symphony No. 38 in D major, popularly known under the alias The Prague Symphony. Other pieces that premiered Prague in the years that followed include Don Giovanni, La clemenza di Tito, and The Magic Flute.
During a stay at the Pachtuv Palace, Mozart was symbolically imprisoned in what is today our Mozart Suite in room 212 for a couple of hours by the Count, because he had promised on several occasions to compose a few dance pieces for him. Left only with a few sheets of parchment and ink, Mozart finally completed his 6 German Dances, K. 509, and handed them to the Count, inquiring whether his prison sentence had come to an end.
The front part of the hotel which is known as Jirásek House was built in the early 19th century. It was named Jirasek House after the well known and respected Czech neurosurgeon Arnold Jirasek who lived in the original part of the palace with his wife for some years.
Among many other famous personalities who have visited Pachtuv Palace were composers Ludwig Van Beethoven and Richard Wagner.
In 2002 Pachtuv Palace underwent extensive rehabilitations to bring all its glory back to this unique landmark property.
Rebranded as a luxury boutique hotel in 2015 the Pachtuv Palace hotel is now owned and operated by Ott family.
The fact that the medieval buildings have survived quite a few, can be explained by the topographic location and the particular character of the area near the Vltava River - there is no doubt that the houses were built of less quality materials. During the 16th century the population structure started to change and with the new wave of Renaissance and chivalrous buildings, society started to produce new ones that are preserved until today. In the place of today's palace stood five medieval houses. The first reconstruction took place in the late 17th century, when the two largest and most significant buildings were combined. Over the years all was bought and put together by Hubert Karel Pachta of Rájov with the intention to build one of the many mansions of their family. The building is mainly
characterized by Baroque elements which extend into the Rococo style; in one of the suites we can even find original frescoes, which were not affected by the renovations. Although the authorship of the most extensive rebuilding is constantly disputed, it is certain the names that contributed to the project were the big ones: for example, Jan Josef Wirch or German Josef Jager.
Rebuilding in the 70s of the 18th century dealt primarily with representative
facade and the facade of the palace courtyard. A beautiful, monumental staircase was built in the south wing with the statue of German baroque architect Jan Maxmilian Heger. Also Ignác František Platzer was asked to construct a sculpture for Pachtuv Palace. As a Czech sculptor and carver with German roots, who’s most famous work portraying fighting titans can be seen in the courtyard of the Prague castle, he was the main face of Czech statuary of the 18 th century.
It is interesting to note that given the location of the palace (it was literally
tucked into nooks defined by tight aisles) renovations of exterior facades
received much less attention than the inside ones - with the exception of the facade with the portal entrance, facing at Ann's Square. Back in the days, the original palace garden stretched to the very coast of
Vltava but in 1836 a classicist apartment building put a stop to it.
Initially, Philip Heger suggested only two classicist wings, but the project was subsequently amended and was built in the classicist style from scratch. At the bottom floor of the palace the Slav cafe had been formed, which used to be the meeting place of many Czech patriots.
Pachtuv Palace archive between 1914 and 1917