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Guide to the Centre of Prague

Prague, one of the most wonderful European cities, listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO, has a lot of to offer to lovers of architecture, history, and culture. Come with us to see the most interesting places in the historical centre of Prague you can’t really afford to miss.

 

Prague 1

Prague 1 is the central part of Prague and it is historically divided into several parts:  Staré Město, Josefov, Hradčany, Malá Strana, Nové Město, Holešovice, and Vinohrady. We have selected the most attractive places in the heat of the Prague centre to guide you right now.

Staré Město (Old Town)

Staré Město (Old Town) is the oldest part of the city together with the Prague Castle, and the real heart of Prague. Its centre consists of Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) with the city hall and a horologium with chronometer, zodiac, and rotating statues of Appostles. On the opposite side of the square, Prague, the city of hundred spires is completed with two 80m towers of Chrám Matky Boží před Týnem (Church of Our Lady before Týn) that makes up an inseparable part of Prague’s panorama. From Old Town Square stroll through the famous Prague street Pařížská. Pařížská Street, renowned today mainly as a popular shopping boulevard, was founded at the turn of the 19th and 20th century during the redevelopment of the Jewish Town, current Josefov. You can find there also one of the oldest synagogues in Central Europe, Old-New Synagogue. With the emergence of the synagogue is linked also the emergence of a Jewish cemetery called Jewish Garden, which was located in the New Town.

In the Middle Age, the Old Town was surrounded by fortification included in which was Prašná brána (Powder Tower), still used to enter the City. It is followed by Celetná Street, one of the historically most important streets, which became a part of so-called Královská cesta (Royal Route) – the route Czech monarchs have to pass through their crowning day. In the first third of the street there is a pearl of Czech cubisms, the oldest cubism-style building in Prague Dům U Černé Matky Boží (House of Black Madonna).

Another, absolutely exceptional sightseeing monument, just five minutes from the Old Town Square is Rudolfinum, a multi-purpose community centre with concert and exhibition halls built in neo-Renaissance style. 

If you cross the bridge by Rudolfinum to the other Vltava River’s bank, it is only a few steps to the most significant Czech sightseeing monument, the symbol of Czech statehood and thousands years of Prague’s history – Pražský hrad (Prague Castle). When visiting the Castle, pay attention to the extensive set of palaces and church buildings. The most sought-after is the St. Vitus  Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and Starý královský palác (Old Royal Palace). Should you be tired, you can have some rest at the royal gardens that are one of the gems of garden architecture in Prague. Or, you can be tempted to come and see an exhibition in the area of the Castle, and finish your visit by a small walk in Zlatá ulička (Golden Lane)

 

Malá Strana

Cross the Vltava River back from the Old Town to Malá Strana, which was historically the second oldest town. It was founded in 1257 to reinforce the defence of the Castle, and it also offers many wonderful places to come and see thanks to its long history.

One of them is the Valdštejnský palác (Valdštejn Palace), one of the most important buildings of early Czech baroque era. If you want some rest after visiting the palace amid the greenery, you can have it despite you are in the centre of Prague – right next in the palace gardens under Prague Castle.

The imaginary centre of Malá Strana is Malostranské náměstí (Malá Strana Square) formed by several important buildings. Worth of visiting are Chrám sv. Mikuláše (St. Nichola’s Temple), Lichtenštejnský palác (Lichtenštejn Palace) or Šternberský palác (Šternberk Palace).

An arm of the Vltava River called Čertovka separates Malá Strana from popular Prague’s island, also known as Venice of Prague, Kampa. This is a popular stop for locals and tourists who take snaps before famous Lennon Wall or having their rest in a bench in a park or some of the restaurants, as well as for movie makers who opted for this location to shoot many movies here.

You can come from Kampa to the most famous bridges of all ones in Prague – Karlův most (Charles Bridge) to return back to Staré Město. When crossing this significant Gothic monument of Prague, you can take look at 31 sculptures created by world famous sculptors from the 17th and 19th centuries, for example Jan Brokoff or Matyáš Bernard Braun.

Charles Bridge will guide you in front of the second largest structural monument in Prague, which is Klementinum. It took over 200 years to finish the building and it was originally used as Jesuit dormitories in addition to a library, printing house, and a hospital. Today, Klementinum is the seat of the National Library.

Walking along the Vltava River on Smetanově nábřeží (Smetana Riverbank) will guide you to the National Theatre being the significant symbol of the national revival. If you come from the theatre back to the centre, some of the streets will guide you soon to the second of the two most famous squares in Prague – Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square). The square was renamed from Horse Market Square in 1913 after installation of Myslbek’s sculpture of St. Wenceslas. Just a few steps above “the horse”, how the sculpture is called, there are the National Museum. On the contrary, from its lower edge, majestic building in classicism style of Stavovské divadlo (Stavovské Theatre) is located here as well as Karolinum, the heart of Charles University popular amid students, who ceremonially conclude their studies here after successful completion of their studies.