Page:Lutzow The Old Town Hall of Prague.pdf/9

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The national literature also which had almost ceased to exist is in a very flourishing state particularly since the foundation of a national university. At no period have so many, and so valuable books been written in the Bohemian language. I may add that the municipal administration in the centre of which we now are, is also entirely carried on in the national language.

It remains to me to refer briefly to the principal halls and the chapel in the building we are about to visit.

The GREAT MODERN HALL of COUNCIL was built in 1879–1880, and is adorned by a portrait of our sovereign the emperor Francis Joseph, the work of the Bohemian painter Straširybka, better known under the name of Canon, which he adopted. Two large paintings in this hall, works of the famed Bohemian artist Brožík well deserve notice. The one represents HUS AT CONSTANCE on the memorable 6th of July when the council condemned him to death. This event is of course of great historical interest as it marks the beginning of the Hussite wars. A very important episode in the religious strife which with brief intervals continued in Bohemia for two centuries is represented in the other great picture in this hall. I refer to THE ELECTION OF KING GEORGE OF PODĚBRAD. He was the leader of the national or protestant party, but by a sudden decision the Roman party also gave him their votes. The picture represents the moment when the supreme burgrave Zdeněk of Sternberg is doing homage to his new sovereign.