Finally I made myself to compile all the informations about the heart of Prague — Old Town Square. It is the place reflecting various periods of Czech history, where every day thousands of tourists come to see famous Tyn Church, Clocks and have a beer with fantastic views. So let’s have a closer look at the attraction.
Old Town Square history
Old Town Square in Prague (Staroměstské náměstí) is a part of Staré Město — ancient town which today is just a district of the Czech capital. It used to be a huge market, but after the XVI century the marked was moved to the New Town (Nové Město). This step made the square more attractive and that is why new buildings appear in Staromak (the way locals call the place).
- Since that times the square becomes the centre of all social life of the city.
If you come to the Old Town Square in the morning or at night, when there are no people, you will have a perfect chance to see the place and discover most of its attractions. In the very centre there is a monument erected in 1915 in honor of Jan Hus (Pomník mistra Jana Husa). It is a very important person for the history not only of the Czech Republic, but also of whole Europe.
But for Jan Hus you will see hussites, emigrants, young mother. And on the basement of the monument the you will read “Love people”. This is the famous phrase of Jan Hus.
Marian Column and Prague Meridian
Closer to the centre of the Old Town Square there is another attraction, which most of tourists will not see, because it is just a line on the cobblestones. At the start of the line, which is called Prague Meridian until 1918 stood a huge Marian Column. The shadow from the column fell on the meridian and locals could check the time. That is why it is written there: “Meridianus quo olim tempus pragense dirigebatur”.
The rest of the attractions are based on the sides of the square. And since I promised, that we will have a very close look at this square, I suggest splitting it into 4 parts according to South, North, West, East and carefully go through them.
Western part of the Old Town Square is the most interesting, because there are the most popular sights, which all tourists visiting Prague for 1, 3 or more days, have to see.
The house №3 unites several buildings and make one complex which we all know as Old Town Hall, where the head of the city used to reside and work. The first time this place became so important was 1784, there year when 4 small towns were united into one: Stare Mesto, Mala Strana, Hradcany and Prague Castle.
This house has one of the most attractive towers and clocks in Europe: Old Town Square Tower and Astronomical Clock. Under the tower you will see 27 white crosses on the ground. This is the monument to 27 leaders of estate uprising, that took place in Prague in 1618. Later 12 heads of the leaders were put in cages and hung on the tower of Charles Bridge.
Just behind the Tower you will see a huge massive church, staying just at the northern corner of the square. So the house №4 is St. Nicholas Church, which today serves as a concert hall for organ music concerts.
The house №6 is an impressive building, where Ministry of Development works. It actually occupies two buildings dům «U Říšské brány» and Schierův dům. Between the Church and the Ministry goes Parziska street — the heart of shopping in Prague and the entrance to Josef – former jewish ghetto.
Eastern part of the square has two dominant constructions Kinsky Palace and Tyn Church. The house №12 is Palác Kinských — former residence of Kinsky family. Today it belongs to the national gallery and holds various exhibitions. By the way, in this palace was born the most well-known daughter of this family – Berta Kinska, who was nominated to Nobel price.
House №13 is the Stone Bell House or dům «U kamenného zvonu». It is considered to be one of the old constructions of the Old Town Square. House № 14 is the Tyn Church (Týnská škola) which is one of the 3 oldest education establishments in Prague. The first lesson was given in the school at the end of the XIII century and the last one — in the middle of the XIX.
Right behind the Tyn church you can see one of the most impressive buildings in the whole Old Town — Tyn Church. This church used to be the centre of Hussite movement at the beginning of the XV century.
I love to call this part of Old Town Square as a wall of the beautiful houses. All of them look unique and very attractive. But let’s look closer at some of them and learn some interesting facts.
The house №16 – has the name of Štorchův dům. It has a very bright facade with elements of decor from various times. The two people illustrated on the house are: Jan Kamenski and St Wenceslas. Do you know them? The former is the father of pedagogics as a science and the latter is the duke. But for gothic balcony and a statue of Madonna the house has roman style arch , where today you can find Thai massage.
The names of the rest houses in the Old Town Square:
- 17 dům «U Kamenného beránka»;
- 18 dům «U kamenného stolu»;
- 19 dům «U Lazara»;
- 20 dům «U bílého jednorožce»;
- 21 dům «U zlatého velblouda»;
- 22 dům «U zlatej koruny короны»;
- 23 dům «U čápa»;
- 24 dům «U červené lišky»;
- 25 dům «U modré husy»;
- 26 dům «Na Kamenci»;
- 27 dům «U vola»;
- 28 dům «U Kryštofa»;
- 29 dům «zlatého anděla».
To see almost all the attractions we were talking with you in this article you can use the link which will bring you to the Old Town Square in Prague web camera. The view of the Town Hall Tower and Tyn Church is absolutely fantastic.
I recommend you to avoid all the restaurants located in the square, because they charge too much. Of course, the view, especially from the outdoor summer terraces is stunning, but it is not the reason to sell half a liter of beer for 100 CZK, which is almost 4 Euros. I know that this is a normal price for people from many countries, but not for locals. For 100 CZK in some places you can drink 3 or even 4 beers. The same is with food. They serve tasty, good quality, but overpriced dishes.
But there is one amazing place with overpriced menu, though with amazing and even better to say – unique view on the Old Town Square. It is the restaurant in the Hotel U Prince, which you will find at the roof top terrace.
Hotel and apartments
And continuing the topic of hotels, hostels and apartments near the Old Town Square, I should say that it is a bit crazy idea to leave so close to such a busy place. Unlike others this Prague square is alive almost 24 hours. Thats is why it would be a bit more comfortable to live close, but not at the very Staromak. I looked through the hotels and apartments, where my friends and tourists used to stay and share with you the list of recommended places. But before, you can read my manual of how to book hotel in Prague.
There is one exchange office in the Old Town Square (you can see it in the image above) and I beg of you: never ever go there to exchange any money. They cheat and simple take you money with terrible rates and commissions. Read this article about reliable exchange offices in Prague and get ready for the trip in advance.
But for historical attraction, old town square serves also as a place where couples from all over the world want to take honeymoon, engagement or wedding photos. The architecture looks amazing! But there is even an option of getting married in Prague, provided you have all the documents prepared.
- I also carry out professional photo shootings, in case of interest let me know to firstname.lastname@example.org
To sum up. I love Prague and absolutely adore the Old Town Square, which is the heart of the city. But there are a lot of conditions, which make the place a bit annoying. Therefore here is my life hack list of thins to do at Staromak to enjoy it:
- come before 7 a.m.;
- come at night;
- climb the tower;
- watch the clock show;
- taste some street food;
- sit on the cobblestones;
- take photos;
- book a private city tour in Prague.
And the list of things you never do in the Old Town Square:
- take a taxi;
- exchange the money in the office;
- exchange money in the street with a stranger;
- book a dinner in the street restaurant.
I would strongly appreciate if you share with me and my readers your thoughts and impressions of this Prague Square in the comments below. Also leave there any questions you have, I will do my best to reply or improve the article.