The National Theatre, often called Golden Chappel (Zlatá kaplička) for its gold roof, is the most famous theatre in the Czech Republic. It was built in 1880 and seen as the symbol of the Czech national identity, culture and independence. Its construction was facilitated by collections of money among the broad masses, so the laying of the foundation stone on 16 May 1868 was proved to be the all-state political demonstration.
The National Theatre was opened for the first time on 11 June 1881 with the premiere of Bedřich Smetana's opera Libuše. After the short time the theatre was closed down due to the completion of the finishing touches. During this work the fire broke out, which destroyed the copper dome, the auditorium and the stage of the theatre.
After the original Neo-Renaissance building was destroyed by fire, it was reconstructed with the help of financial contributions from across the population.
In the course of its long history the theatre has hosted a wide variety of plays, operas and concerts and it is one of the oldest and most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic.