Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday's House Insignia of the Day Revealed - U Zlatého hada (The Golden Snake)

House at The Golden Snake (U Zlatého hada)

Depending on why you ask, they'll either call this The Golden Snake or The Golden Serpent.  Call it what you will, but I'm going with snake.

This is a late Gothic house that was rebuilt in Renaissance style with Baroque and Classicist adaptations.  The insignia is from the beginning of the 19th century.   

Apparently, one of the former owners of this house was merchant from Damascus named Gorgos Hatalah, whose real name was Georgious Deodatus Damascenus.  Gorgos is also the guy responsible for introducing coffee to Prague, and I adore him for that.  Coffee wasn't popular like it is today, some would even say it was exotic.  
Gorgos would walk the streets of Prague wearing traditional garb - caftan, baboosh, turban - carrying a container full of hot coals to warm the coffee and a kettle atop his head.  He'd also carry small cups and sugar and would sell this exotic drink called coffee to people he persuaded to try the beverage.  Praguers were initially weary, but eventually coffee was running through their veins and they wanted needed more.  Gorgos was successful because he opened what was probably the first coffeehouse in Prague - it was located in the house U tří pštrosů (The Three Ostriches) in the Lesser Town.  Business grew though, and eventually his enterprise relocated to a larger location, and that was here at The Golden Snake.

Today, a cafe/restaurant is situated in this building, aptly named http://www.uzlatehohada.cz/ (At the Golden Snake)

Location:  Liliová 181/17, Staré Město (Old Town)