The Golden Lane, located in the Prague castle, has become one of the most visited places in the capital of the Czech Republic. Why? Because of its aesthetics that reminds one of a fairytale place, because of the excellent recovery of the place that has been done in recent times and because It is a place full of history and interesting stories. Write it down for your next trip to Prague.
Inside the Prague castle
The first thing we have to say is that, despite being called an ‘alley’ and certainly being a small urban road, the Callejón del Oro is not a place that is accessed for free. It is one more attraction of those inside the peculiar Prague Castle, which is actually a large elevated area of the capital. And in such a touristic place in the Czech capital, of course, it is a paid place.
The origin of the Alley of Gold
The Callejón del Oro is precisely next to the old castle walls. Its origin dates back to the end of the 16th century, when it was decided to take advantage of this space to build the place where the keepers of the fortress were to live. Hence, they are narrow spaces, originally small houses, in a tiny alley.
Also it is assumed that in one of these rooms the king gave secret shelter to his alchemists. They were half magicians, half chemical characters who were believed to be capable of turning iron into gold, hence the name of Callejón del Oro. However, there is no evidence of the presence of these alchemists or that they knew how to make the valuable metal.
Continue the story of the Alley of Gold
The point is that the Alley of Gold, at one point already in the 17th century, was occupied by goldsmiths from Prague. They do work with precious stones and metals. And they enabled the old houses of the guardians for this new use. In fact, families of goldsmiths lived here for a long time, almost two centuries.
However, gradually these artisans were abandoning them, so that throughout the 19th century these houses became homeless and city criminals. A situation that lasted well into the last century, when they were evicted.
A last key moment in the history of the Callejón del Oro came in 2010, when the place was remodeled, leaving houses for the sale of souvenirs and also for exhibition spaces with historical recreations.
Currently, The Golden Lane in Prague looks splendid. On the outside it is a beautiful set of small houses, each one painted in a different color. Meanwhile, if we visit these old houses, we can buy the typical souvenirs of the Czech Republic, with its famous puppets at the head. Although there are also chivalric aesthetic objects for those who want to decorate their house in medieval style.
The themed recreations
Total, there are 16 houses that are distributed in the short Callejón del Oro. Seven of them are souvenir shops, but the rest have been recovered with a more expository idea and can be visited after paying the entrance fee. They evoke how a canteen used to be, but also a craftsman’s workshop, a pharmacy or a military man’s house.
They are the most charming places, which also they can allow us to peek at some viewpoint with incredible views of the city, seeing at our feet places such as the Mala Strana neighborhood or the Charles Bridge.
Thus, you can alternate the contemplation of these panoramas with other recreations such as the dungeon, an armory or a space dedicated to instruments of torture, one of the places most sought after by morbid tourists.
Kafka, illustrious Praguer
However, Another must-see house in the Callejón del Oro is the house occupied between 1916 and 1917 by Franz Kafka, one of the most outstanding writers of the 20th century and author of the famous novella Metamorphosis. He is not the only writer who lived here, there were others, but none with the renown or prestige of him, an author who is almost required reading before making a trip to the Czech Republic.