< CZECH REPUBLIC | LIBEREC: Clarion Grandhotel Zlatý Lev
The "Golden Lion" hotel was built in 1906 and opened personally by the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef on the occasion of the
Bohemian - German exhibition in Liberec.
The name "Golden Lion" had had a long tradition in Liberec and it first appeared in connection with the ancient brewing house on the former Old Town (Beneš) Square. After the demolition of this popular inn, its nomenclature was transferred to the business of one Kajetán Špicka, who had preferred to move to Liberec and established a lodging inn in the current 8. brezna Street with the approval of the authorities after a fire caused by one of his employees had laid waste to a large part of the town of Hodkovice (1806).
His inn soon became a well-renowned business and it continued to prosper under the later owner Raimund Haschka, who decided to build a new hotel and to transfer this established name to it.
The Golden Lion Grand Hotel, designed and built by the architect Anton Worf of Liberec in 1904 - 1905, is an excellent example of building work from the beginning of the 20th century and not only thanks to its refined art nouveau architecture, but also due to its concept and the integration of the building into its surroundings.
Even today, the rich stucco decorations on the façade with motifs of the stylised bodies and heads of lions supplemented with the popular art nouveau floral decorations attract attention. The appearance of the structure is supplemented with metalwork, the elliptical termination of both of the building's side wings down to the street line and the rich box cornices and the mansard roof with its series of narrow dormer windows.
In its day, the Golden Lion was considered to be one of the most beautifully and best organised hotels in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. Apart from the common and operational rooms, it also had hundreds of rooms for guests. The technical and hygienic facilities were all at a high level.
A number of significant aristocrats stayed here and the guest book includes the signatures of a number of our presidents: T. G. Masaryk, Edvard Beneš (1936), Antonín Zápotocký (1948), Antonín Novotný (1959) and Ludvík Svoboda (1966). Just some of the hotel's other interesting guests have included Roald Amundsen (1913), Oskar Nedbal (1914), Niels Bohr, Johann Strauss (1921), Gerhart Hauptmann (1922), Václav Talich (1930), Eduard Kohout (1946) and Jurij Gagarin (1966).
History has also left its mark on the hotel in other ways - for example, in 1918 it was the seat of the so-called "Deutschböhmen" government and at the beginning of November 1945 it became the Army Centre for a while.
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