THE HOUSE U ZLATEHO JEDNOROŽCE (THE HOUSE OF THE GOLDEN UNICORN)
This house has also been known since the 18th century as the house of the White horse (Bily Konicek). The house is considered to be one of the oldest, with its 12th century Romanesque cellars. It is important to note, that these premises were in fact prior to the floods in the 13th century a part of the ground floor. Nevertheless, due to the floods, after which it became necessary to increase the ground level of the city by 4 meters of soil, this part of the building then became the cellar. It is probably this act that enabled the preservation of these premises to this date. The different depth of the building as well as the different height points to the fact, that originally, this house was made up of two independent buildings, that is the house u zlateho jednorozce (house of the Golden Unicorn) and the house U cervenych dveri (house of the Red Doors). From the historical reports we can say, that the buildings were joined between the years 1357-1359 by its owner Vaclav Geunher, a rich banker. The price of the house after its reconstruction was set very high for that period at 600 moulds of Goshen.
The house changed its owners quite frequently up until the year 1493, after the death of bishop Augustine Lucian Sanktuarien, when it was inherited by a shopkeeper Jiri od Jednorožce (Jiri of Unicorn). He placed the picture of his symbol, the unicorn, on the front of the house it has been known as the house of the golden unicorn ever since.
In the year 1496, the house underwent an extensive and expensive reconstruction, during which the portal with lilies and the passage with the beautiful ribbed vault was built by the renowned architect of that time – Matyas Rejsek. This influential architect from the gothic period enclosed the ribbing into the apex stone with decorative foliage, one of which carried the symbol of unicorn and the other includes the self-portrait of the architect himself (which can still be seen today), and also the inscription of the year 1496.
Unfortunately, the original portal of the passage was not preserved, but it is presumed that there was another passage next to this one for people on foot.
Amongst other important owners of this house were for example master of the castle Kosti (Bone castle) Herman Cerni from Chudenice. He was the chief judge and the ambassador to the Turkish court.
Today’s facade and the current look of the house were acquired during late baroque reconstruction, which took place in 1712 – 1717 and then also later in 1731 according to a project of F.M. Kanka. From this date the house also carries its second name Bily Konicek (White Horse). The stairways in the house, which are still used today, are thought to have been built during these reconstructions.
In the process of recollecting of the history of the house, one must not forget to mention some of its other famous occupants, such as Karel Havlicek Borovský who lived in this house in 1838 and Bedrich Smetana, who in 1848 established a music school within these premises.
During the reconstruction of these premises, which previously were used as a music club, numerous archaeological and architectural surveys were undertaken, during which the history of the house have been found. To this date one can see the cobble paving, typical for buildings from the middle ages, as well as various boxes in the wall, whose function has not been revealed to this date. In one of the rooms the archaeological survey revealed the torso of a secret room, but what it hides has, much like the rest of the two adjacent buildings, remained a secret.