The Golden Lane originated after the construction of the northern wall of the Castle. The area of the northern bailey was used for the building of modest dwellings, which are now the last remainder of the small–scale architecture of Prague Castle. They were inhabited by the castle servants, perhaps goldsmiths (the name "Golden Lane" is documented from the 16th century and the castle marksmen. The tiny houses were occupied until World War II, but already during the period of the First Republic care was taken to ensure that the picturesque character of the lane was not changed in the course of modifications. From 1916 to 1917 house No. 22 was inhabited by the writer Franz Kafka.
The appearance of a 16th–century dwelling is best demonstrated by house No. 20 with a frame upper floor. The original size is documented by house No. 13, which is the only dwelling here to have adhered to the present to the original regulation according to which the room had to be built in an arch of the wall – its facade does not protrude into the lane at all.
The staircase in house No. 12 affords access to the terrace in front of the tower called Daliborka. This round cannon tower formed a part of the Jagiello fortification system and its bottom floor was used as a prison from the beginning. The first and also the best–known prisoner was the knight Dalibor of Kozojedy, who was imprisoned here in 1498. Another well–known prisoner was Baron Frantisek Antonin Spork of East Bohemia, renowned in the 18th century as an admirer and patron of art.