The National Theatre is one of the most memorable buildings not only in Prague but in the whole of the Czech Republic. The foundation stone was laid amid great festivity on 16 May 1868. It was built according to the plans of the architect Josef Zitek in the North Italian Late Renaissance style. The first performance took place here in July 1881. In August of the same year, before it was opened for the public, the theatre burnt down. The restoration of the theatre was financed with the help of the whole nation. It was reopened on 18 Novemer 1884.