Ball-Game House

Historic Building in Prague Castle & Hradčany

The most beautiful of the Royal Garden’s buildings is the Ball-Game House, a masterpiece of Renaissance sgraffito built in 1569, where the Habsburgs once played a primitive version of badminton. Today it's used occasionally to house private events and special exhibitions.

The sgraffito decoration depicts (from left to right) the four classical elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water); the seven virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Charity, Hope, Fortitude, Justice and Faith; and the seven liberal arts of Astronomy, Geometry, Music, Arithmetic, Rhetoric, Dialectic and Grammar. Note the third arch from the left – during renovations in the 1950s a hammer and sickle was added at top left to add communism to these classical ideals.