Porta Aurea | Zlatá Brána apartments

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The building lies in the very heart of the Old Town, and as an architectonic and historical research has revealed, it was originally built on Romanesque foundations, the ground floor contains a well-preserved Gothic core and its final Baroque form was later wrought into one in a Classicism style. In 1870, Josef Stauss, one of whose descendants I boast to be, had the building reconstructed by Kašpar Předák, an architect and builder, and it has stayed preserved in this form since. How rich the history of the building’s ownership has been we are never to learn in its full because, standing right beside the Town Hall, the Archive, too, caught the big fire of 1945 and a considerable part of it was destroyed. Thus, the first records, dated shortly after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, show the property, then called Ouštecký dvůr, was confiscated from two brothers, Free Lords of Sezimovo Ústí. Then, it became a part of technical facilities of the nearby church of St Giles with the Dominican monastery in Husova (formerly Dominikánská) street. Some time later, it was sold to a private owner again. On 18 November 1847, Alžběta Pechová, who later became famous writing under the nome de plume of Eliška Krásnohorská, was born here. In the middle 19th Century, Wotzel’s education institute for boys, where Jan Neruda worked as a teacher of Czech and German, was located here. From 1919 to 1922, the room on the second floor were occupied by a freemason lodge, Jan Amos Komenský, a member thereof Vaclav Havel Snr was. After the WW2, the property was expropriated and lay derelict under the supervision of the OPBH (the district department of property management). Among others, there were private flats, Autodružstvo Praha (Prague car service office) and Lověna (a chain of gun shops for hunters), which became notorious for concealing sub-machine guns in the cellars of the building in the 1980s. In 1992, three years after the Velvet revolution, the property was restored to its rightful owners, Josef Stauss’ descendants – the youngest of his three daughters happened to marry my great-grandfather, Professor Otakar Kukula. A year later later, it became my home and has been one ever since. Between 1997 and 2004, I managed to purchase the rest of the building off the co-owners and reconstructed and renovated it completely.
Lucie Kukulová
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