Bartolomějská street

The church of St Bartholomew (Kostel svatého Bartoloměje) was a High Baroque building constructed between 1726 and 1731 as part of a Jesuit college and designed by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer. After the Jesuit Order was abolished in 1773, the church was closed but was later consecrated for the Order of the Grey Sisters. The façade facing the courtyard features rich sculptural decorated with sculptures and on the vaults in its interiors there are frescoes by Václav Vavřinec Reiner.

When it comes to more recent history, Bartolomějská has more sinister associations for Czechs. During the Communist era, it was the headquarters of the Secret Police (Státní bezpečnost or StB), housed in the tall, grey building on the south side of the street. Interrogations were held there and Bartolomějská became synonymous with terror and denial of human rights.

The former Jesuit College at no. 9 was founded in 1660 and restyled in the High Baroque style in 1703. After the abolition of the Jesuit Order, it house a printing works, and in the 1840s the first Czech ball took place in its large hall. Part of it was used by the Secret Police, and former President Václav Havel was imprisoned there. After 1989 the building was returned to a group of nuns as part of restitution and they turned into into a guest house. Guests could stay in the room where Havel was imprisoned. The guest house has now closed and is now a hotel.

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