The Martinic Palace or Castle began life as a Renaissance building in the 16th century. It combined four Gothic structures into one palace. The owner, at this time, was Borita of Martinic, the imperial vice-regent. The portal remains from this period in time. The palace underwent a makeover in 1620. The result is an enlarged structure with a banqueting hall reminiscent of the Vladislav Hall in the Old Royal Castle.
The Martinic Palace once served as Hradčany’s Town Hall. It also became decrepit apartments. Only during a renovation project did its true beauty emerge. The 16th century facades, thought to be lost during the following years of abuse and makeovers, remained intact. The cream-colored brown, ornate sgraffito was uncovered. The sgraffito in the courtyard tells the story or the Labors of Hercules as well as the tale of Samson. Other biblical scenes include those of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Above the door, you can still see the Martinic Family heraldic Emblem: vine leaves and a star. Take time to explore the building when you visit the unique Museum of Mechanical Instruments. Open only recently, the collection boats over 100 instruments fating from 1870 to 1940. They include orchestrions, street organs, gramophones and music boxes. Along with the displays, you can see demonstrations of how the instruments operate.
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