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Old Town Square Panorama
Old Town Square, Prague
Jan Hus Memorial Circle
Jan Hus Memorial
Jan Hus Memorial and Tyn
Jan Hus Memorial Square
Rent Horse Carriages in Old Town Square, Prague

Note: Remember to bring a bag of gummy bears to The Bubble Man in the center of Old Town Square - he will make bubbles so you can take magical photos of the most famous town square in Prague. Tell him the American in Prague says "Hi!".

 

Old Town Square (Czech: Staroměstské náměstí) is a historic square in the Old Town quarter of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. It is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge.

The square features various architectural styles including the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, which has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century; the church's towers are 80 m high. Prague Orloj is a medieval astronomical clock located on the Old Town Hall. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still in operation.

The Baroque St. Nicholas Church is another church located in the square, while the tower of the Old Town Hall offers a panoramic view of Old Town. An art museum of the Czech National Gallery is located in Kinský Palace.

The square's center is home to a statue of religious reformer Jan Hus, who for his beliefs was burned at the stake in Constance, this led to the Hussite Wars. The statue known as the Jan Hus Memorial was erected on July 6, 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of his death.

In front of the Old Town Hall is also a memorial to martyrs (including Jan Jesenius and Maxmilián Hošťálek) beheaded on that spot during the Old Town Square execution by Habsburgs, after the Battle of White Mountain. Twenty-seven crosses mark the pavement in their honor. The crosses were installed during the repairs of Old Town Hall after the WW2, while a nearby plaque which lists the names of all 27 victims dates from 1911.

On November 3, 1918, a Marian Column that had been erected in the square shortly after the Thirty Years' War was demolished in celebration of independence from the Habsburg empire.

At Christmas and Easter, markets are held on the square, they resemble medieval markets. A tall decorated tree and a musical stage are set up.

The Christmas Markets on the Old Town Square are the largest Christmas markets in the Czech Republic and are visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors from the Czech Republic and abroad. The markets are mostly visited by Germans, Russians, Italians and British. In 2016, CNN rates Prague’s Christmas Markets among the world’s best.

 

Old Town Square Execution

Old Town Square execution (Czech: Staroměstská exekuce) was a mass execution of 27 Czech leaders (three noblemen, seven knights and 17 burghers) of the Protestant Bohemian Revolt by the Austrian House of Habsburg that took place on June 21, 1621 at the Old Town Square in Prague.

After the Protestant uprising of the Bohemian estates against the Catholic Habsburgs resulted in Thirty Years' War and a final defeat in the Battle of White Mountain, Habsburgs took their revenge and executed some of the key leaders of the uprising, although with some others the punishment was reduced and some were pardoned.

Some nobles involved in the uprising escaped into exile, such as Jindřich Matyáš Thurn. Martin Fruwein z Podolí (cs, de) was also expected to be executed, but he was found dead before the execution.

Old Town Square Execution
27 Executions in Prague Old Town Square
27 White Crosses

 

Stone Bell House

The Stone Bell House is located at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic. The house dates back to the second half of the 13th century. Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, was probably born there. Since 1988 it has been part of the Prague City Gallery.

 

Old Town

The Old Town of Prague (Czech: Staré Město pražské) is a medieval settlement of Prague, Czech Republic. It was separated from the outside by a semi-circular moat and wall, connected to the Vltava river at both of its ends. The moat is now covered up by the streets (from north to south-west) Revoluční, Na Příkopě, and Národní—which remain the official boundary of the cadastral community of Old Town. It is now part of Prague 1.

Notable places in the Old Town include the Old New Synagogue, Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock. The Old Town is surrounded by the New Town of Prague. Across the river Vltava connected by the Charles Bridge is the Lesser Town of Prague (Czech: Malá Strana). The former Jewish Town (Josefov) is located in the northwest corner of Old Town heading towards the Vltava.

From its early existence, around the 9th century, Staré Město was laid out of settlements which appeared from the spacious marketplace on the bank of Vltava. Records dating back to 1100 AD indicate that every Saturday a market was held on the marketplace, and large military gatherings also took place there. Thanks to trade the merchants of the area became rich, and when King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia gave them the privileges of township, the Town of Prague (Město pražské) was formed. According to ancient records, the city had around 13 gates, and a huge moat, providing strong defenses.

In 1338 the councilors of the Old Town of Prague were granted a permission by John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, to buy a magnificent patrician house from the family Volfin od Kamene (German: Wolfin von Stein) and rebuild it into their town hall – the still existing Old Town Hall. In the mid-14th century the importance of the Old Town of Prague increased rapidly. The city was prospering thanks to the development of trade and craftsmanship and became one of the most important Central European metropoles. Its brilliance and fame still further increased when the Bohemian king Charles IV became the Roman Emperor in 1355. Quite suddenly the attention of all medieval Europe was turned towards Prague, the residence of the head of the Holy Roman Empire. The original town hall was extended by a mighty square stone tower, a symbol of the power and pride of the town council of the first city in the Kingdom and Empire. In 1364 when it was completed the tower was the highest in the city.

After the city was expanded in the 14th century by Charles IV with the founding of the New Town of Prague, the moat and wall were dismantled.

In 1348 the University of Prague was founded by Charles IV. Since the late 14th century its main seat has been in Carolinum located in the Old Town of Prague. In 1357 Charles IV commenced building of a new bridge over the Vltava river connecting the Old Town with the Lesser Town of Prague. In 1391 the Bethlehem Chapel was built in the Old Town for sermons in Czech language. The chapel played an important role in the Bohemian Reformation and Hussite movement. In 1402–1413 the church reformer Jan Hus preached there.

In 1689 a great fire (called French fire) damaged a big part of the Old Town, including the Jewish Town. In 1784 the four quarters of Prague were united into the Royal Capital City of Prague with a common administration.

 

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