Langweil’s model of Prague is one of the most extraordinary and most admired exhibit in the Museum of the City of Prague. What is it so special about it? Many things! Langweil’s model of Prague is a paper and wood model that shows Prague what it looked like about 150 years ago. Many buildings in the model cannot be found in present Prague any more. It’s especially in the Jewish quarter and Old Town where many building were demolished. Langweil’s model is in many cases the only witness of these buildings and it serves as a study material for many Prague’s historians and lovers of art.
The model was created in a scale of 1:480 and it is remarkable in many details it shows. You can see the facade of the houses and details of city gardens, backyards and public spaces. Miniature Prague covers 20 square meters and it shows more than 2,000 objects.
Author of the model
The model is called after its creator, a worker in university library, Antonin Langweil, who spent 11 years of his life (1826-1837) on the model. Langweil got the idea of creating a model of Prague after having seen a 3D model of Paris exhibited in Prague. Langweil was so enthusiastic about the idea, that he spent every spare time on the model. Even though many people admired his work during his life, Langweil had big problems with obtaining money for his project and taking care of his wife and five daughters. Langweil asked even the emperor himself for money, but help came three years later, when Langweil was already very ill. He died of tuberculosis and oedema on 11th June 1837. The work he left behind stays invaluable and irreplaceable.
The model up till now
After Langweil’s death his wife had to sell the model to the emperor who gave it to the Museum of Czech Kingdom. The model was later on display in the Prague Exhibition Ground. During the WWII it had to be hidden in boxes in Troja Chateau to protect it against bombing. After the war, it took 8 years to put the model together and restore it. In the following exhibition in The Hague Langweil’s model of Prague was very successful. It was visited by more than 150,000 people.
After several months of cleaning, Langweil’s model is now on display again in the Museum of the City of Prague. The model was put into a new showcase with better lighting. A revolving camera above it shows the details from the middle of the model. The model is now also being digitized, the 3D version will be available on a CD in 2008.
Museum of the City of Prague, Na Porici 52, Prague – Florenc
How to get there:
The building of the museum is situated very near the metro station Florenc (yellow line B or red line C).
Open to the public:
The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00.