Castle District

Ball Game Hall

Address: Prague Castle Royal Garden, Hradcany Praha 1 

Overlooking the Stag Moat this architectural gem of a building is located in the Prague Castle Royal Gardens and has charmed passersby for centuries.

Designed and built by Bonifaz Wohlmut and Ulrico Aostali in the mid 16th century as a game hall where royals could partake in tennis and badminton, this intriguing structure features an impressive facade covered in sgraffiti that depicts the Virtues, the Four Elements, and the Liberal Arts. In the 17th century the Ball Game Hall was used as the venue for the Royal Riding School and as stables for their majestic horses. The hall then functioned as a military barrack and storeroom under Joseph II. In the 20th century the lovely structure was hit by a WWII bomb and burned down to its outer wall. The building was then lovingly restored, but as it was finished in 1952 it was hidden to the general public as the Royal Garden was closed off until after the fall of the Iron Curtain. If you look closely at the Ball Game Hall you will will notice that the Communists added their own special touch of sgraffito to this Prague masterpiece of Renaissance magic (hint – look for a hammer and sickle and the number 5 – symbolizing the Five Year Plan). The building has a simple, elegant interior that features checkered tile flooring and seascape paintings lining the walls. It is today used for private events, concerts and exhibitions. Also notice the sculpture in front of the hall; it is The Night by Baroque master Matthias Bernard Braun – it's companion piece The Day was destroyed by the Prussian army in 1757.