Do you wonder what people did in the past to enjoy themselves? This question can be also partly answered by visiting the Ball Game Hall located near Prague Castle and founded in 1569 by Bonifaz Wohlmut. This hall has a vivid history. All those who like sport, especially tennis, might be interested that Ball Game Hall used to serve as a place for many games. Noblemen and noblewomen used to throw here leather balls or used a feather ball and a racket in the game very similar to the present badminton.
At first, people really enjoyed playing games there, but it gradually became out of fashion. That’t the reason why the hall was transformed into stables. Few decades later, during the reign of Joseph II, it became a military store. At the end of WWII, on 9th May 1945, the Fascists burned the Ball Game Hall and the building had to wait to the 1950’s to be reconstructed.
The Ball Game Hall now contains five tapestries showing Antonius and Cleopatra made by Belgium workshop of Jan van Leefdael. Beautiful Renaissance sgraffitoes on the walls represent four elements (earth, air, fire, water), virtues (foresight, moderation, continence, hopefulness, fairness and courage) and sciences (theology, astronomy, geometry, music, arithmetic, rhetoric, dialectic and grammar).
In front of the Ball Game Hall you can see a valuable Baroque statuary ‘Night’ from 1734. The statuary ‘Day’ was destroyed by the siege of the Castle by Prussian armies in 1757.
Nowadays the Ball Game Hall is used for exhibition of creative arts, social events, conferences and concerts (e.g. a part of the music festival String of Autumn takes place here).
How to get there:
The Royal Garden, in which the Ball Game Hall is situated, has two main entrances. First one can be reached from Prague Castle over the bridge called Prasny most. The other entrance can’t be missed if you take tram 22 or 23 from Malostranska (metro line A) to Kralovsky letohradek.