The Neo – Renaissance building of the Rudolfinum is also known as the House of Artists and it is the dominant of today’s Palach´s Square. There are another two important buildings at the square. Opposite the Rudolfinum there is the College of Applied Arts / UMPRUM / and facing the Vltava there is the Philosophic Faculty of Charles University.
The multipurpose representative Rudolfinum building was built for the 50th anniversary of his Czech Savings Bank, also known as the Böhmische Sparkasse. The construction was carried out between 1876-1881 by Josef Zítek and Josef Schulz, who are perhaps the most important architects of their time and who also participated in the construction of the National Theatre and the National Museum. The palace is named after the Crown Prince, Rudolf, and at that time nobody knew how tragic fate would befall upon the Crown Prince, who committed suicide with his lover a few years later in Mayerling. The completed Rudolfinum was considered to be a truly dignified House of Artists, amongst other major concert halls and salons such as, the Dvořák Concert Hall.
After Czechoslovakia was established, the Rudolfinum building served as the Chamber of Deputies. During the time of the Munich Crisis (1938) the major protest for the republic were held here.
Today, the building is Residence of the Czech Philharmonic and prestigious concerts, including the world-renowned music festival, Prague Spring, are held here. The main purpose of building is illustrated by the current decoration; on the sides of the staircase are statues of musical muses and on the attic the building stands the statues of the world's major composers. The well-known novel by Jiří Weil, “Mendelssohn on the Roof” is linked with Rudolfinum. The story goes that the character, Heydrich, ordered to have two Czech employees take down the statue of the Jewish composer Mendelssohn. However, the employees did not know which statue was which and because of it, they accidentally took down the statue of Richard Wagner. . .