An 1800s feel: Prague Castle announces restoration of historic Golden Lane

The Castle Administration wants to restore the Golden Lane’s traditional feel, and to convert writer Franz Kafka’s former home into a bookstore.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 01.12.2023 12:22:00 (updated on 01.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Prague Castle Administration is set to rejuvenate the historic, 16th-century Golden Lane (or Zlatá ulička) through a new leasing competition in 2024 that aims to restore its traditionalism and make it less tourist-centric. Comprising 16 houses, each distinguished by unique façade colors, the lane’s restoration aims to evoke its essence from the 1800s.

With lease contracts expiring at year-end, the Prague Castle Administration wants to primarily emphasize traditional Czech craftsmanship and products along the lane, as director of the Castle Administration Vladimír Sonntag told Czech news source ČT24.

One notable change involves house number 22, which was the home of famous Bohemian writer Franz Kafka from 1916 to 1917. The Castle Administration plans to lease this as a bookstore that honors Kafka’s legacy.


This Christmas – unlike in previous years – there will be no Christmas markets or stalls in the Prague Castle area, in part due to past criticism from preservationists. There will, however, be a nativity scene outside St. Vitus Cathedral and a Christmas mass on Dec. 19.

Other houses – all of which have been dormant since the end of World War II – will be converted into small shops that sell traditional crafts and Czech-made materials, some will open to the public to look around, whereas others will remain dormant.

New rental prices

The Castle's pricing for leasing – a subject that has faced criticism previously due to very expensive rent – will also change. At present, rent for each house varies greatly, spanning from a few hundred crowns to several thousand per square meter. 

The rent paid by new tenants will, rather uniquely, be based on the tenants’ individual proposals. However, there will be a set minimum price of CZK 2,000 per month per square meter. Sonntag clarifies that the final rental amount depends on two main factors: the proposed price from interested parties and the appeal of the merchandise they plan to offer.

New lessees are anticipated to occupy Golden Lane from early March, while the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tourist admission window with an entry fee of CZK 250 will be unchanged. The fee acts as a regulator to prevent overcrowding in the narrow alley, accessible only through the basic Prague Castle tour.

Other projects

Additionally, the Castle area will witness further changes, including architect Josef Pleskot's plans to open Prague Castle’s Stable Yard – used by soldiers in previous centuries – to the public. Notably, the Mihulka Tower (which once was a gunpowder warehouse), partially closed for reconstruction since 2018, opened to visitors this autumn and now hosts a permanent exhibition of Prague Castle Guards.

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