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Prague - Old Town (Stare Mesto)

Old Town, the oldest of the various 'towns' that compose Prague, is situated in a semicircular bend of the Vltava River and, therefore, ideally protected. The beginnings of Old Town date back to the first millennium.

Prague Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge is one of the best-loved and most significant structures in Prague, built during the reign of Charles IV. The bridge spans the Vltava River, linking Old Town and the Lesser Town.

From the bridge, there are marvelous views of the Vltava river Valley, with its numerous bridges, the Zofin and Strelecky Island, the Old Town and the Lesser Town, dominated by Hradcany Castle. The bridge, supported by 16 piers, is 520 metres long and nearly 10 metres wide. Charles Bridge is best-known for its characteristic sculptural decoration. On each side of the bridge, there are 15 statues. The most famous sculpture is St. Jan Nepomucky.


Prague Old Town Square

Old Town Square

The centre of the Old Town has always been the Old Town Square dominated by the twin spires of the Church of Our Lady of Tyn and the Town Hall of the Old Town. Old Town Square represents the centre of Prague, even today.

The spacious square (9 000 square metres) was originally the market place of the Old Town during the 11th and 12th centuries and lay on the route of the traditional coronation procession of Czech kings, from Vysehrad to Hradcany. The square has been the scene of great events, both glorious and tragic.


Prague Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall

Old Town gained the right to found its own Town Hall from King John of Luxembourg, in 1338, after several previous attempts. The Old Town Hall consists of a complex of several buildings, standing above Early Gothic and partly Romanesque foundations. The nucleus of the Town Hall was formed around a house belonging to the Stein family, to which a square tower was added in 1364.

Prague Astronomical Clock

There is an astronomical clock in the tower. The clock was originally installed in 1410, but in 1490, it was rebuilt by the Master Hanus, of Charles University. The main attraction is the procession of the 12 Apostles, which takes place every hour on the hour. The figures of the Apostles were added in the 17th century.

Prague Palace

The Goltz-Kinsky Palace

This palace is the most beautiful Rococo building in Prague. It was built in the years 1755-1765. In 1635, the original buildings were owned by Count R. Kinsky. It was built by Anselmo Lurago, after oldest plans by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer and is considered his masterpiece. The building once housed a German grammar school, attended by Franz Kafka.

Prague Old Town Square

St. Nicholas Church in the Old Town

This Baroque Church, with its monumental south front, long nave with side chapels and dome, was built by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer between 1732-1737, just along the border of the former Jewish Town.

Prague Tyn Church

The Church of Our Lady of Tyn

Originally a Romanesque church and, later, early Gothic, the church underwent a radical reconstruction in the last third of the 14th century and early 15th century, in which Peter Parler´s workshop participated. Its 80 metres high towers, or spires, are emblematic of the whole city of Prague.

Prague Old Town Tour

The Tyn Court - “Ungelt”

The history of this enclosed court dates to the 11th century. It was once a medieval trading centre and taxes were required to be paid there. The name Ungelt reminds of the medieval function of this placed called Tyn: foreign merchants visiting Prague gathered here and, in earlier times, enjoyed the protection of the sovereign in return for the payment of a fee (tax), as goods were made, stored, bought and sold here.

Touring Old Town Prague

The Powder Tower

The construction of this 65 metre high monument, one of the most outstanding from the Late Gothic Period and the work of the architect Matej Rejsek, was begun in 1475 in honor of King Vladislav Jagiello. One of the most notable monuments on the boundary of the old Town and New Town, the tower used to be called the Kutnohorska tower, as it led to the silver mining town Kutna Hora. The Tower served as a gunpowder storage site at one time and a wooden bridge connected the gate with the former Royal Court. Inside the tower, there are two richly decorated halls.

Prague Municipal House

The Municipal House

This cultural and social centre of Prague, a representative Art Noveau building, was erected on the location of the former Royal Court in 1906-1912. Its interior contains a Smetana concert hall, a nice café in the ground floor, a restaurant, a wine restaurant, ball-rooms and exhibition halls. On 28 October, 1918, the Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed there and in 1989, the so-called round table discussion between the former communist government and its opposition, under the leadership of Vaclav Havel, took place there.

The Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter is a part of Prague's Old Town. The district is also named Josefov after the emperor Josef II. The Jewish town was added to Prague's historical center in 1850. Prague´s Jewish community was one of the oldest in Europe. Prague's Jewish population has lived in this area for centuries but was nearly destroyed during World War II. Today, the Jewish Museum consists of five synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Ceremonial Hall. See more about the Jewish Quarter here.

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