The Golden Lane is a row of miniature houses in the Prague Castle, just at its northern wall. The street full of small houses built in Mannerism style at the end of the 16th century.
The street was created during the construction of northern fortification at the end of the 15th century. In 1597 the emperor Rudolf II decided to give the space there to the castle marksmen who guarded the fortification. But there were 24 marksmen and a lack of space. Therefore, the marksmen had to build very small houses for them and their families. The material they used was stone, mud, and wood. The emperor prohibited to build windows in the direction to the Deer Moat or to sell or rent the house to somebody else.
During the decades several houses were destroyed, after 1657 there were only 14 houses left. Castle marksmen were not needed so much any more, that’s why more and more people of other occupations came to live there. The Golden Gate hosted both rich and poor people, artists, clerks, footmen, etc. One of the famous inhabitants of this street was famous writer Franz Kafka in house no. 22 or Prague seer Madame de Thebes, who was killed by the Gestapo in the war because she foretold the end of Nazism.
The Golden Lane is situated in the north-east corner of Prague Castle complex. Visitors need to purchase a combined ticket for the whole Prague Castle complex in order to gain entrance to Golden Lane.
Golden Lane got its name from the story of alchemists living in the street during the reign of Rudolf II who tried to make not only the philosopher stone or the elixir of life, but also to transform metals into gold. Even though these stories are not based on the truth, there is a real story dating to the beginning of the 20th century. One of the local house was inhabited by an old man, doctor of philosofy Uhle, who spent all his money on old books Souvenir shop about magic. He made secret experiments in his lab inside the house. In 1831 people in the Golden Lane heard a big detonation from his house. When fire fighters entered the house and distinguished fire, they found Uhle dead with a yellow stone in his hand. Later on the stone was proved to be gold. How the gold got into the house is still not known. Maybe he really made his and many other alchemists’ longtime dream come true.