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Prague District:

New Town Landmarks:

New Town Squares:

Wenceslas Square
The Dancing House

The New Town (Czech: Nové Město) is a quarter in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. New Town is the youngest and largest of the five independent (from the Middle Ages until 1784) towns that today comprise the historic center of modern Prague. New Town was founded in 1348 by Charles IV just outside the city walls to the east and south of the Old Town and encompassed an area of 7.5 km²; about three times the size of the Old Town. The population of Prague in 1378 was well over 40,000, perhaps as much as twice that, making it the 4th most populated city north of the Alps and, by area, the 3rd largest city in Europe. Although New Town can trace its current layout to its construction in the 14th century, only few churches and administrative buildings from this time survive.

Sights

  • Dvořák Museum
  • Fred and Ginger
  • National Museum
  • National Theater
  • U Fleků Beer Hall
  • Žofín Palace

Squares

  • The Horse Market, today Wenceslas Square
  • The Cattle Market, today Charles Square
  • The Hay Market (Senovážné náměstí),
    south of today's Náměstí Republiky
  • Na Karlově

 

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.

 

In 1378 a census commissioned by Charles IV found that Prague had 40,000 inhabitants making it the fourth largest city north of the Alps after Paris, Ghent and Bruges. Based on physical area, Prague was the third-largest city in Europe after Rome and Constantinople. When one compares Prague with the other cities in medieval Europe and in particular with the established cities of the 12th to 14th Centuries, the privileged position of the Prague New Town becomes clear. Charles IV "... conceived here the largest urban planning project of the Middle Ages, and at the time, its equal could not be found in Europe. In the mid fourteenth Century in Europe there was no other city, in which an enclosed building project was organized and executed on such a scale, over two square kilometers. There is no other city, in which 18 to 27 meter-wide roads were created; where an arterial road was wide three-quarters of a kilometer long and over 60 meters wide and in the New Town alone was the central marketplace larger than most entire cities of this time including its walls. Here was planned and established the real administrative, cultural and economic center of Central Europe." (Vilém Lorenc, p13)

 

New Town Hall

The New Town Hall (Czech: Novoměstská radnice) is the administrative centre of Prague's (medieval) New Town Quarter, or "Nové Město". In 1419 it was the site of the 1st of the 3 defenestrations of Prague.

Hotel Uvropa Statue
Vodickova Elementary School
Palladium in Prague
Jan Palach Memorial

 

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