In the heart of the Old Town is the Old Town Square where centuries of notable entertainment have taken place and where a feeling of the dramatic history permeates the atmosphere. The Jan Hus statue is the centrepiece among a variety of surrounding historical buildings. The statue was erected on July 6th 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer’s death. The groundswell of supporters for his beliefs during the 14th & 15th centuries eventually led to the Hussite wars. Despite the initial outcry at the modern style of the sculpture the statue stands as a symbol of Czech identity.
More recently, on the 8th of May 1945, a large part of what is now the town hall, was destroyed by German tanks as they departed in defeat and lies preserved as reminder of this atrocity. One day before the end of the War 5000 Czechs were killed, as they fought against the Nazis shortly before they final liberation came and the soviet troops heralded over 40 years of communist rule.
Fortunately today the square is much more peaceful although it is still a popular space for political
speeches, Christmas festivities and large public gatherings. The most notable sights here,
easily viewed from the comfort of one of the out door cafes, are the Church of our Lady at Tyn,
the astronomical clock tower (a part of the town hall) and many buildings of the Romanesque, baroque
and gothic styles. A minutes walk down the famous and most expensive street Pariska will
lead you to the Jewish Quarter.
The Old Town Bridge Tower was designed by Peter Parler, the architect of the Charles Bridge, as a part of the fortification system around the Old Town. The Late Gothic Tower, known as the most beautiful bridge tower in Europe, was built between 1370 and 1391 at the Old Town side of the Charles Bridge and served as a gateway to Prague's city center.
The 64m tall tower was richly decorated on both the east and west facade, but the sculptures on the west facade (towards the Charles Bridge) were severely damaged during a siege by Swedish troops in 1648 and removed afterwards. Fortunately, the decorations on the east facade were preserved.
Above the arch are the coat of arms of all the lands that were part of the Bohemian Kingdom as well as the kingfisher, the symbol of King Wenceslas IV. The three statues above the coat of arms depict the patron saint of Bohemia, Saint Vitus in the center with King Charles IV to his left and King Wenceslas IV to his right. Near the top of the tower are two statues of Saint Sigismund and Saint Vojtech (Adalbert).
A long stairway leads to an observation room from where you have great views of Old Town and the Charles Bridge.
Accommodation of Old Town Square area
See other Prague Districts:
Prague Castle | Wenceslas Square | Old Town Square | Charles Bridge | Charles square | Lesser town | Petrin | Jewish town | Zizkov | Vinohrady
| Smichov | Vysehrad | Dejvice | Holesovice | Vrsovice | Karlin | Jizni Mesto | Prague Airport | Strasnice | Letna | Vysocany | New Town | Hradcany |
Troja | Stromovka | Pruhonice