The late-baroque Kinský Palace sports Prague’s finest rococo facade, completed in 1765 by the redoubtable Kilian Dientzenhofer. Today the palace is home to a branch of the National Gallery, housing its collection of ancient and oriental art, ranging from ancient Egyptian tomb treasures and Greek Apulian pottery (4th century BC) to Chinese and Japanese decorative art and calligraphy.
Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, once stayed in the palace; his crush on pacifist Bertha von Suttner (née Kinský) may have influenced him to establish the Nobel Peace Prize (she was the first woman laureate in 1905). Many older Praguers have a darker memory of the place, for it was from its balcony in February 1948 that Klement Gottwald proclaimed communist rule in Czechoslovakia. There are Kafka connections here too – young Franz once attended a school around the back of the building, and his father ran a shop in the premises next to the House at the Stone Bell, now occupied by the Kafka Bookshop.
Tickets are valid for seven days, and give admission to all six of the National Gallery's permanent exhibitions: Kinský Palace, Convent of St Agnes, Trade Fair Palace, Šternberg Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace and Salm Palace.