Next to Prague Castle is Zlatá ulicka, or Golden Lane. This picturesque alley contains eleven tiny houses built as homes for the castle guards. The street was named by Emperor Rudolf II, who was an alchemist in the seventeenth century and commissioned others in the alley to find a substance that could transform metal into gold.
The multi-coloured sixteenth century houses in Golden Lane are among the most photographed sites in the city. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the houses were occupied by squatters and later artists, including the famous Czech poet and writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924). He lived in his sister’s little blue house on number 22 for two years. It is said that this is where Kafka wrote his best works, including The Castle. This house is currently a small Kafka bookshop and museum, while the others mainly accommodate souvenir shops selling craft products. They are no longer suitable for residential use as most ceilings are so low that adults cannot stand up straight.
At number 24, visitors can climb the stairs that leads to the defensive bulwark. This long corridor, with wooden shields, suits of armour and lances on either side, leads to a torture chamber with a wide range of instruments.
At twilight or in the evening, Golden Lane is even more beautiful than during the day. The houses are stunningly illuminated to create a golden hue that makes the lane seem more magical than ever.
More information on: www.prague.cz