There are many secular and educational buildings in New Town, but also especially magnificent gothic and baroque churches. These nevertheless are not the main drawing points for tourists. New Town's most famous landmark is Wenceslas Square, which was originally built as a horsemarket and now functions as a center of commerce and tourism. In the 15th century, the Novoměstská radnice, or New Town Hall, was the site of the first of the three defenestrations of Prague.
No doubt in connection with his coronation as king under the Holy Roman Empire in 1346, Charles IV decided to found a new city in Prague. After he had achieved the city's independence within the church with the creation of the Archbishopric of Prague in 1344, the foundation of the New Town was intended further to enhance the status of the city which was the new residence of the king. In addition, the housing problem within the city walls of Prague that had already been apparent under Charles IV's father John of Luxembourg was crying out for a solution. Many people, mostly poorer Czechs, had settled in suburbs situated at the base of the city walls, and the banks of the Vltava were almost continuously built over.
What was original about Charles IV's action was that he chose, instead of creating an administratively dependent suburb, or an extension of the old town, as was the usual practice, to create in the New Town an independent royal city with its own legal framework. Nevertheless, Charles planned a physical and legal union with the old part of town and decreed a common administration in 1367; however, primarily due to the opposition of the two town councils, this failed and had to be abandoned as little as ten years later. After many rights and liberties had been granted to the inhabitants of the new city, the inhabitants of the old part of town, which was now enclosed by the New Town on all sides, likewise had their existing rights and liberties confirmed in writing, and they were given the assurance of free access through both the northern gates of the New Town.
Together with the establishment of the New Town, the king made further efforts to increase the significance of the town. It was not only to be the new residence of the king and a center for scholarship - on 7 April 1348, Charles University was founded as the first university in central Europe - and for the arts, but it was intended to become an important economic center in Central Europe. To that end a shift of Central European traffic routes and the creation of new routes was planned, as well as making the Vltava navigable; and the plans had been carried out to some extent. The construction of the New Town was probably essentially complete as early as 1367, at the time of the short-lived union with the Old Town.