The Old Town Square is for sure the most visited touristic place in Prague as well as the Charles Bridge. When you go through the Celetna Street to the world-famous astronomical clock, it is hard not to pay attention to the old houses around the square. As for me, one of the most beautiful buildings is the house placed on the address Staroměstské náměstí 552/16.
It is called Štorchův dům and also sometimes you can hear the name “At the Stone Virgin Mary” or “At the Black Door”.
These two names were used before the bookseller and publisher Alexander Štorch the younger bought it. From 1868 he started to work for his father, Alexander Štorch the elder, who was as well the publisher and the bookseller. But Alexander-son wanted more and so in 1876 he obtained the license and opened his own bookstore and antiquarian shop. From 1879 he also became a publisher.
In 1896-1897 Štorch made a big reconstruction of the house, according to the project of the architect Friedrich Ohmann.
The most important and interesting part is the frescoes made by the painter Ladislav Novák according to the designs created by Mikoláš Aleš.
Interesting thing is that Aleš and Štorch used to visit the same pub, where they actually met and discussed the project. As a result of their work, we can now see on the walls Jan Amos Komenský, a writing monk, a Saint, Prague coat of arms, the stork as it is Štorch’s family emblem and my favourite fresco is Saint Wenceslas on the horseback.
The words written on the facade are taken from the St.Wenceslas Chant from the 12th century and can be translated as “Saint Wenceslas, Duke of the Czech lands, pray for us”.
Above the entrance to the house, you can see the small statue of the Madonna.
During the reconstruction made by Štorch, were preserved the Gothic elements of the facade and it is told that inside of the house was found in the old Gothic chapel with the sword on the table, but it is not officially approved.
In 1945 the house was burnt down during the Prague Uprising and then restored in 1948.
The publishing house closed down in 1948 and the bookstore was taken over the national bookstore Kniha. Nowadays the building is in private property.