This pretty courtyard tucked behind the Church of Our Lady Before Týn was originally a sort of medieval caravanserai – a fortified hotel, trading centre and customs office for visiting foreign merchants. Now attractively renovated, the space houses shops, restaurants and hotels. The courtyard is still often referred to by its German name, Ungelt (meaning ‘customs duty’).
Established as long ago as the 11th century, it was busiest and most prosperous during the reign of Charles IV. In the northwest corner is the 16th-century Granovsky Palace, with an elegant Renaissance loggia, and sgraffito and painted decoration depicting biblical and mythological scenes. Across the yard, to the right of the V Ungeltu shop, is the House at the Black Bear, the baroque facade of which is adorned with a statue of St John of Nepomuk above the door and a bear in chains on the corner, a reminder of the kind of ‘entertainment’ that once took place here.