Old Town, Prague Stare Mesto
The Old Town (Stare Mesto), is the historic area of Prague, centered around the Old Town Square. The Old Town holds some of Prague's most interesting sights, including the Tyn Church, the Klementinum, the convent of St Agnes, as well as numerous other churches, and architecture that dates back to the 11th Century. The Jewish Quarter of Josefov is located just north of the Old Town Square and contains some unique sights, including the Jewish Museum, which consists of a number of sights spread throughout the Jewish Quarter. Visitors will have an easy time amusing themselves in Prague's Old Town.
Old Town Map
Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock
The Old Town Hall (Staromestská radnice) on Prague's Old Town Square is no longer an administrative center. Instead, it seems the building's main purpose is to attract tourists. Drawing the crowds, which gather around the building at the top of the hour, is the Astronomical Clock (orloj) that adorns the Old Town Hall. The Astronomical Clock was designed by Mikulás of Kadan and built in 1410. It was later redesigned in the late 1400s and the artists in charge or the reconstruction is said to have been blinded following the completion of the project. This was apparently done to prevent him from creating any replicas. On the hour the clock comes to life with the 12 Apostles and other figures that appear and parade by in procession.The Old Town Hall has some other interesting attributes, and is actually a complex consisting of several buildings. A Gothic doorway marks the main entrance and visitors should consider having a look inside. Occasionally art exhibitions are held here. There is also a chapel on site, built in 1381, and the basement, which is sometimes open to visitors, is the old prison. Visitors can go to the top of the Old Town Hall tower, either via stairs or an elevator, for fine views out over Prague.
The Charles bridge (Karluv Most) boasts 32 points of interest in 520m / 1720ft. Visitors will find everything from a lucky plaque that you rub to one of the finest examples of Gothic gates, and sketch artists lining the walkway.Built in 1357 the Charles Bridge had an auspicious start. To avoid being destroyed by floods a great deal of luck was required. This luck was provided by having the initial bridge stone laid in 1357 on the 9th of July at 5:31. This date is a palindrome: 135797531. Also taken into consideration was the alignment of the bridge. It is perfectly aligned with the tomb of St Vitus and the setting sun on the equinox. Roman engineering also helped!To see who the bridge was named after, go to the Old Town end of the bridge and here you will find a statue of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV with four women at the base.The statue of John of Nepomuk unveiled in 1683 is the oldest monument on the Charles Bridge. Rubbing the plaque at the base of the statue is considered lucky but be sure of your wish, you are only allowed one rub and wish per lifetime! Don't touch the dog, it's considered unlucky.
Naprstek Museum of Asian, African, and American Culture
The Naprstek's Museum of Asian, African, and American Art (Naprstkovo Muzeum Asijskych, Africhych a Americhych Kultur) has a long history. The founder Vojta Naprstek, first opened the Czech Industrial Museum in the 19th Century, which eventually also included ethnographic and artistic collections from around the world. Long after his death the museum changed and became more international and focused on culture. Today the Naprstek's Museum of Asian, African, and American Culture focuses on Praehistory and Antiquity of the Near East and North Africa, Non-European Numismatics, Ethnography, Asian Arts and Crafts, and also contains a library.The Naprstek's Museum of Asian, African, and American Culture displays both a permanent collection as well as changing exhibitions. Of the permanent collection, almost half of the items come from Asia. This museum is also the leading Czech museum in Ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Museum of Communism
The Museum of Communism in Prague examines the history of communism in Prague and the Czech Republic. It provides a look at the theory and the reality of communism, and the impact it had on all aspects of life in the Czech Republic. The museum describes it as, "The Dream, the Reality, and the Nightmare". On display are statues of communist figures, including Marx and Lenin, propaganda posters and writings used to control the citizens during the 1950s and 1960s, photographs from the time of the Soviet occupation, and a continuously running film on Vaclav Haval and the coercion and tactics of the secret police. There are also objects from every day life during the Soviet era, including a recreated Communist-era classroom and workshop. The Museum of Communism also looks at the Velvet Revolution and the end of the communist era in Prague.
Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia
Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia (Kláster sv. Anezky Ceské) dates to the 13th Century, when it was home to the order of the Poor Clares of Bohemia. The convent is thought to have been founded by St Agnes of Bohemia. She was not actually canonized until 1990 when Pope John Paul II visited Prague. The Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia is now one of the seven venues used by the National Gallery to display exhibits. On display here are the works of Czech artists from the 14th Century, as well as 15th and 16th Century works by Central European artists. The galleries collection at this convent is entitled "Medieval Art in Bohemia and Central Europe".The Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia is actually a complex consisting of several Gothic buildings.
Veletrzní Palace (Veletrzní Palác) is a relatively modern structure in Prague. It was built in 1925 for trade fairs and was later acquired and remodeled by the National Gallery. The Veletrzní Palace holds a large portion of the National Gallery's collection of works. The Gallery is entitled "Art of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries". As always, there is a strong emphasis on Czech artists while also incorporating the works of foreign artists. The collection includes a variety of pieces and themes such as fine art photography, furniture, fashion, applied arts, drawing, prints, sculptures and multi-media works. Some of the better known artists represented here are Rodin and Picasso.Temporary exhibits are also held at the Veletrzní Palace on the main floor.
The Clementinum (Klementinum) is the home of the Czech National Library in Prague. This beautiful baroque building was originally a Jesuit College and later came to house the Jesuit book collection as well as the collection from the Karolinum, which they acquired. The library eventually fell to the state after the Jesuits were expelled and the Clementinum became a legal public library in 1782 shortly after it became the National Library.The Clementinum collection is huge and currently collects a copy of every book published in the Czech Republic. It houses one of the largest Slavic literature collections. The library contains some six million books.
The Ungelt Courtyard, behind the Tyn Church, dates to the 11th Century. It was originally used by merchants coming to Prague, and who would set up on the Old Town Square to sell their merchandise. The merchants would store their goods in the Ungelt Courtyard and also pay taxes here. The area is uniquely set up, with only two entrance points to allow for better security and monitoring of goods coming and going. The area was recently restored in the mid 1990s, and is now a beautiful outdoor area with restaurants and cafés, and one of the most prestigious areas in Prague. A mixture of architectural styles grace the courtyard, including the beautiful Renaissance Granovsky Palace.
Museum of Czech Cubism (Black Madonna House)
The Museum of Czech Cubism (Dum u Cerne Matki Bozi) opened to the public in 2003. It is the first museum of its kind in Prague or the Czech Republic. Located in the Black Madonna House, this 20th Century building is itself a fine example of Cubist Architecture. On display at the Museum of Czech Cubism visitors will find paintings, furniture, and graphics by cubist artists. The museum also discusses Cubist architecture. Significant names represented here include Filla, Kubista, and Gutfreund.The Museum of Czech Cubism features both a permanent collection and temporary exhibits.
The Prague Municipal House (Obecni Dum) is one of the greatest examples of Art Nouveau in the city. Built in the early 20th Century, this building has some striking features and is hard to miss. The façade contains a large mural on the arch above the second floor balcony, and a large dome rests behind and above the arch. The interior of the Municipal House, which contains the largest concert hall in Prague, is equally impressive and tours are available to the public. Also on site at the Municipal House are the Art Nouveau Café and a couple of restaurants.
The Old Powder Gate (Prasná brána), or Powder Tower as it is sometimes called, was built in the 15th Century to be one of the main entrances to the walled city of Prague. It was reconstructed later on. The Powder Gate is at the start of Celetná Street and the Royal Route, along which bohemian monarchs would walk on their way to be crowned at St Vitus Cathedral. The name Powder Gate was adopted long after it was built, when the tower was no longer needed as a defensive measure and was instead turned into a storage tower for gunpowder.
Prague Tyn Church
The most visible landmark on the Old Town Square, and one of Prague's most recognized buildings, is the Tyn Church (Chrám Matky Bozí pred Tynem. Unmistakable due to the two large spires which flank each side of the church, the main entrance to the church is, oddly enough, not visible from the Old Town Square. The T
Map - Old Town
Map of Prague Attractions
More Prague Attractions
Popular Destinations Nearby