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Spend the night in Prague's Dancing House

Associated Press logo Associated Press 23/09/2016 Karel Janicek

For many of the millions of tourists who flood the Czech capital every year, taking a selfie in front of the Dancing House has become as important as walking across the medieval Charles Bridge.

The unusual building that resembles a pair of dancers is a rare example of contemporary architecture in Prague, which otherwise abounds with picturesque historical buildings, churches and monuments.

Originally designed as an office building, access for visitors has been limited. But now a part of it has been turned into a hotel.

Apart from staying in an architectural masterpiece, the 21 rooms offer breathtaking views of the city and of Prague Castle in particular. They can be seen from the beds, and in some of the rooms even from the bathtub and the toilet. Some rooms even have walls made of glass.

The Dancing House is located on the bank of the Vltava river, next to the building where the late President Vaclav Havel lived most of his life.

Havel is said to have been the first who approached Czech-Croatian architect Vlado Milunic with a request to make an architectural study of a possible arts centre. In 1992, the Dutch company Nationale Nederlanden acquired the land with the aim of construction an office building and Milunic approached famed architect Frank Gehry to participate. Their nine-story project was completed in 1996.

Due to its shape, the Dancing House has become a widely used nickname for the building, but it is also known as Ginger and Fred after famed dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

It's formed by two central towers; the one known as Ginger is made of glass and steel, while Fred has a concrete body and a metal head. The unusual architecture initially caused some controversy, with critics saying it doesn't fit its historical surroundings, but such arguments gradually disappeared as it drew the attention of an increasing number of tourists.

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