The U Stýblů Palace
The U Stýblů Palace is an eight-story functionalist building designed by architect Ludvík Kysela, similar to the nearby Baťa Palace or Lindt Department Store. The name is associated with its original owners, the printers Václav and Ondřej Stýbl. Later, the palace came to be known as Alfa, in connection with the eponymous cinema located in the well-lit passage of the building. The centerpiece of the entire passage is an elevated hall, with a ceiling resembling an upside-down ship’s keel levitating in empty space, supported only by delicate glass display windows of the Boulevard Café. This famous café occupied the entire second floor of the palace, offering views of both Wenceslas Square and Františkánská Garden. At the time, it was one of the largest cafés in the country. After the revolution, the property was returned to the grandson of the original owners through restitution, but he never carried out the promised reconstruction. As a result, the palace has been deteriorating for over 25 years. With its band windows, nobody notices the activity on the square or in the passage, and the worn-out pavement is slowly sinking due to various types of used stone.