In addition to his other curious interests, Emperor Rudolf II was a passionate collector of horses. In 1583, he had part of the castle fortifications and an old vicarage demolished to build new, beautiful stables. Today, this stunning building serves as an exhibition space for temporary exhibitions.
Imperial Stables – Prague Castle
If we enter the Castle area from the Prašný most Bridge from the North, we go past the guard of honour on both sides of the Northern Gate, also called the Pacassi Gate. The entrance to the Imperial Stables, today an exhibition site and concert hall, is located in a passage behind the gate, on the left. There were stables on both sides of the Northern Gate as early as in the time of Ferdinand I. Rudolf II, a passionate horse lover and collector, had beautiful stables built in their place after 1583, highly appreciated at that time. The corner of a Romanesque wall had to be demolished then, as well as Old Vicarage, for which the emperor donated a compensatory building to the St. Vitus canonry. A long area was built here, arched by a wagon-vault with segments. The vault is furnished with a net of mock stucco ribs. The space was divided on the Eastern side, probably during the 20th century, and it was used as a corridor, a gym, and a varnishing workshop. During the 80s, the Office of the President of the Republic started to prepare reconstruction, and in 1990, it was finally decided to create an independent, spacious exhibition hall with exhibitions organized by the Prague Castle Management. For the sake of the eventual concerts, 350 sitting listeners may be accommodated here.
Prague Castle has been a National Cultural Monument since 1962.