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Langweil’s Model of Prague

Langweil's model of Prague from 1826–1837 is the museum's most unique and attractive exhibit.

The valuable exhibit has been placed in the depository during the current general reconstruction of the Prague City Museum's main building. It will be displayed to the public again in 2023.

Langweil's model is exclusive evidence of the appearance of Prague's Old Town, Lesser Town, and Prague Castle before the redevelopment of Prague in the late 19th and early 20th century. Handmade from pasteboard, its 20 m2 provide a detailed view of the historical core of Prague a hundred and fifty years ago, including the hundreds of demolished houses of the former Jewish Town and Old Town. More than two thousand buildings are depicted in the scale 1:480 with all façade decoration details as well as detail-elaborated courts, gardens, and farming facilities of house plots and adjacent land. Langweil's model provides the only testimony of the appearance of many demolished historical buildings of Prague.

The model was created by the employee of the Prague University Library Antonín Langweil (1791–1837) who dedicated all his free time and financial means to his uncommon avocation. Although many scholars admired the model at the time, Langweil never found a benefactor for his work. He died poor, leaving behind debts and an unfinished work of a rather problematic value at the time. In 1840, the model was acquired by the National Museum in Prague. More than a hundred years later, the museum handed it over to the Prague City Museum collection where it became the most sought-after part of the permanent historical exhibition. The true importance of Langweil's model can only be fully appreciated nowadays, not only as first-class evidence but also as an extraordinary work of art.