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Prague districts and neighborhoods - part nr. 3 - Old Town (Staré Město pražské)

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In this article, we would like to introduce differents districts and neighborhoods of the city. After Letná and Smíchov, our choice was made to Old Town of Prague (Staré Město pražské).
The Old Town of Prague 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.
Here are just a few parts of the interesting places, that you should see and visit.


1. Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) - is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge. Prague's Old Town Square is often bursting at the seams with tourists in the summer. Featuring various architectural styles including the gothic Týn Cathedral and baroque St. Nicholas' Church, the square is an oasis for travelers wearied by Prague's narrow streets. Among many churches, tourists may find the Astronomical Clock on this square, while the tower at the Old Town Hall offers a panoramic view of Old Town.
The Prague Astronomical Clock or Prague Orloj (Pražský orloj) is a medieval astronomical clock located in Prague. The Orloj is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square and is a popular tourist attraction. The Orloj is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; The Walk of the Apostles, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.

2. Charles Bridge (Karlův most) - is a famous historical bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river in Prague, Charles Bridge used to be the most important connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle and adjacent areas until 1841.

3. Old Town Bridge Tower (Staroměstská mostecká věž) is a gothic monument located in Prague, Czech Republic. It was built in the late 14th century, during the rule of the Emperor Charles IV. It was designed by the architect Petr Parléř.

4. The Church of Mother of God before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem, also Týnský chrám or just Týn), often translated as Church of Our Lady before Týn, is a gothic church and a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague, Czech Republic. It has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

5. Jewish Quarter (Židovská čtvrť - Josefov) - is a town quarter and the smallest cadastral area of Prague, today Czech Republic, formerly the Jewish ghetto of the town. It is completely surrounded by Old Town. The quarter is often represented by the flag of Prague's Jewish community, a yellow Magen David (Star of David) on a red field.

6. Powder Tower (Prašná brána) - a monumental entrance to the Old Town built by Matej Rejsek in the gothic style in 1475. Once it served as a gunpowder depot. In the late 19th century it was rebuilt by J. Mocker. The King's Court - life in medieval Prague (1st floor), the history of the city - market place, festivities, fashion, trades, punishments, prison, city seizure, the medieval family (2nd floor), the history of the Powder Gate - reproductions of historical graphic sheets on loan from the Prague City Archives (3rd floor).

7. Charles University, known also as Charles University in Prague (Universita Karlova or historically as the University of Prague) - is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, it was the first university in Central Europe. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe in continuous operation and ranks in the upper 1.5 percent of the world's best universities. Today, the university consists of 17 faculties located in Prague, Hradec Králové and Pilsen. Its academic publishing house is Karolinum Press. The university also operates several museums and two botanical gardens.
Its seal shows its protector Emperor Charles IV, with his coats of arms as King of the Romans and King of Bohemia, kneeling in front of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. It is surrounded by the inscription, Sigillum Universitatis Scolarium Studii Pragensis (English: Seal of the Prague academia).

8. The Rudolfinum - it is designed in the neo-renaissance style and is situated on Jan Palach Square on the bank of the river Vltava. Since its opening in 1885 it is associated with music and art. Currently Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Galerie Rudolfinum are based in the building. Its largest music auditorium, Dvořák Hall, is one of the main venues of the Prague Spring International Music Festival and is noted for its excellent acoustics.

9. The Clementinum (Klementinum) - is a historic complex of buildings in Prague. Until recently the complex hosted the National, University and Technical libraries; the City Library was also nearby on Mariánské Náměstí. In 2009, the Technical library and the Municipal library moved to the Prague National Technical Library. It is in use as the National Library of the Czech Republic. In 2005, the Czech National Library received the UNESCO Jikji prize (Memory of the World).

10. Municipal House (Obecní dům) - is a major civic landmark and concert hall in Prague, and an important building in architectural and political history in the Czech Republic. It stands on the Náměstí Republiky.

11. The convent of Saint Agnes (Klášter sv. Anežky České) is situated on the right bank of Vltava, in Prague Old Town area called „Na Františku". The monastery of Poor Clares of the Order of Saint Clare and Franciscans was founded in 1231 by Agnes of Bohemia, who also became the abbess of the convent. The National Gallery became the owner of the Convent of st Agnes in 1963 and the final phase of renovation followed. Since 1978, the convent is a national cultural heritage landmark and a gallery. Initially, Bohemian art of 19th and early 20th century was exhibited but today, a permanent exhibition of Medieval Arts of Bohemia and Central Europe is displayed. The cloister is used for temporary exhibitions.

12. Kinský Palace (Palác Kinských) - is a former palace, now an art museum, located on Old Town Square in the Old Town area of Prague, Czech Republic. The palace's name refers to its former ownership by the Kinský noble family.

13. Rotunda of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Rotunda Nalezení sv. Kříže) - is a Romanesque rotunda in Prague 1, Old Town quarter, on the crossing of Konviktská and Karolíny Světlé street. Its founding is considered after 1125.

14. St. Salvator Church (Kostel svatého Salvátora) - is one of two churches in the Klementinum, in Old Town, Prague.

15. The Bethlehem Chapel (Betlémská kaple) - is a medieval religious building in the Old Town of Prague, notable for its connection with the origins of the Bohemian Reformation, especially with the Czech reformer Jan Hus.

16. St. Castulus church (kostel svat=ho Haštala) - is a Gothic church with Romanesque and Baroque elements. It is located on the Castulus square, in Old town near Convent of Saint Agnes. It is the only church in the Czech Republic consecrated to Saint Castulus.

17. Kranner's Fountain, or Kranner Fountain (Krannerova kašna) - is a fountain and neo-gothic monument to Francis I Emperor, installed in Prague, Czech Republic. It features allegorical sculptures created by Josef Max.

18. The Church of St. Martin in the Wall (Kostel svatého Martina ve zdi) - is a Gothic church with Romanesque grounds, situated in the Old Town of Prague. It was built between 1178-1187 in the village of Újezd, thereafter known as Újezd u svatého Martina. The south wall of the church was built adjacent to the walls of the Old Town, hence the full name of the church "in the wall". The church belongs to the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.

19. Malé náměstí - is a square in Old Town, Prague, in the Czech Republic. The square is full colourful buildings and and a fully operating well (fountain) with ornate iron decoration.

20. Ovocný trh - this small, narrow square sits in the space between Celetna and Rytířska streets. The market has been in existence since the early 13th century and was a centre of the fruit and vegetable trade until the early 20th century. Its current name has been in use since 1870. A number of famous Prague buildings are located on the square - the Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo), the Karolinum, the Kolowrat Palace, the House of the Black Madonna (Dům U Černé Matky Boží), and the rear part of the Myslbek Palace. Today, the Fruit Market is part of the Old Town pedestrian zone.

21. Havelský Market (Havelské tržiště) - the only preserved market place in Old Town dating back to 1232. In addition to Havelská Street, where the current market is located, the original one extended to Rytířská Street and Uhelný trh, which run parallel to it. It offers a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and on weekends, mainly tourist items.

22. Paris Street (Pařížská ulice) - is a tree-lined street located in the Prague 1 District of the city which connects the Old Town Square with the Čechův Bridge. It is known as one of the most fashionable addresses in Prague and is home to various high-end shops. Home to luxury brands such as Prada, Cartier, Hugo Boss, and Tiffany and Co., Pařížská ulice is the place to shop if you are looking for high-end stores. The colorful window displays, interesting architecture, and upscale shops attract shoppers and tourists from all over the world.

23. Celetná - is a street in the Old Town, Prague, connecting the Old Town Square with the Powder Gate. It is one of the oldest streets in Prague. Celetná is a former Prague trade route. The street is named after bread that was baked in the area during the Middle Ages. It became a part of the Royal Route in the 14th century. The coronation parade would travel down Celetná.

24. Karlova street (Karlova ulice) - in the Old Town linking the Křižovnické square with Malé náměstí. In the 12th century, the stone Judith Bridge was built at an ancient Vltava River crossing and the importance of this street, connecting large marketplaces in the Old Town (the current Old Town Square) with the Prague Castle on the other side of the river increased sharply; the little narrow crooked street became a part of the main transport artery of the city. Residential houses and aristocratic palaces, which line the street, usually hide the remains of older structures under their Baroque façades; in many places, Gothic foundations have been preserved and the history of some objects goes back to those times. The street has carried its current name since 1848. Today, Karlova Street is part of the most frequented tourist routes through Prague.

25. Střelecký Island (Střelecký ostrov) - a romantic place hidden in the shade of mature trees in the heart of city under the Legion Bridge enchants visitors with its old-time atmosphere and exceptional views of the city directly from the surface of the Vltava River. Occasionally, celebrations, concerts, open-air festivals, and various other cultural events are held here.

26. Municipal Yard (Obecní dvůr) - over the course of its existence, the Obecní dvůr has served a number of functions, primarily business-related. The first recorded use was to stable horses and carriages, and later served as a royal firehouse. The House of the Censors (No. 798/5) was the actual location of the censors' offices in the 19th century. House no. 799/7 was occupied by the famous dynasty of Czech painters, the Mánes family. Antonín Mánes, founder of the Czech landscape school, had his studio in the next-door House of the Censors.

27. Topic house (Topičův dům) - located on Narodni Street, across from the National Theater, the pretty Topic House is yet another fine example of Art Nouveau architecture in Prague. The house is named after the famous publisher in Prague and was designed and built by Osvald Polivka, the famous architect responsible for the gorgeous Municipal House. The house was a cultural center of activities thanks to the Stransky family who were the founders of Lidove Noviny, the oldest paper in the country.

28. Lego Muzeum - on Národní Street, you can visit the Lego Museum, whose size and number of exhibits ranks it not only the largest in the Czech Republic but also in Europe. At 340 m2, you can see the largest exhibition of original models, the total of which exceeds 2,500 There is a remarkable five-meter model of Charles Bridge and a model of the National Museum - an amazing construction featuring actual building interiors. There's also a museum shop.

29. Charles Bridge Museum (Muzeum Karlova mostu) - close to the Charles Bridge, in several rooms of the original Crusaders hospital and Church of the Holy Spirit, is a museum dedicated to the second oldest stone bridge in the Czech Republic. You'll meet with the history of this one-of-a-kind place and its unique structure. This connector across the Vltava River transports us not only from the Old Town to the Lesser Quarter, but also to the time of the coronation of Czech kings, who rode across Charles Bridge along the Royal Route.

30. Sex Machines Museum - is a sex museum in Prague, which has a collection of sex devices. Established in 2002, it is located near the Old Town Square. The official website of the Sex Machines Museum describes itself as "an exposition of mechanical erotic appliances, the purpose of which is to bring pleasure and allow extraordinary and unusual positions during intercourse. It is the only sex museum in the world solely dedicated to sex machines.

31. The Prague Black Light Theatre Image - successfully combines black light theatre with pantomime, dance, fantastic colour effects and original music. The Image Black Light Theatre dates back to 1989 and is one of the best and most successful black light theatres in the Czech Republic.

32. Café Slavia - located on the corner of Národní street and Smetanovo nábřeží, next to the Vltava river and opposite the National Theatre. It was opened in August 1884. Poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke regularly spent time in the café. It was known for its associations with Prague's dissident community, hosting people such as Václav Havel, who would later become his country's president, and poet Jiří Kolář during the normalization period. It was also known as a place for writers, poets and other intellectuals to meet and discuss their ideas The café was closed in 1992 due to a legal dispute but re-opened in 1997. Café Slavia has been described as Prague's "best-known café".

33. U Medvídků Restaurant and Brewery - patronized by generations of Prague natives and foreign visitors because of its renowned Czech cuisine and excellent Budvar, is one of the largest and oldest beerhalls in Prague. The house is named after its owner Jan Medvídek (‘John Littlebear') who founded the brewery here in 1466.

34. U Vejvodů restaurant - this restaurant is famous not only for its typical Czech atmosphere in the style of the Old Bohemian alehouse, but also for its "Plzeň" beer of excellent quality and traditional Czech and international cuisine.

35. U Zlatého tygra (The Golden Tiger Beerhall) - is tucked away in a small street called Husova, a short walk from the tourist-teeming Karlova street. Thanks to the excellent Pilsner and the atmosphere, made famous by Bohumil Hrabal's short stories, it has become the iconic venue for Czech beer aficionados.

36. Hard Rock Cafe Prague - one of Europe's largest Hard Rock Cafe. Club is situated in the four-story, V.J.Rott building with a beautifully decorated neo-Renaissance façade and frescos. The cafe is located in the heart of old Prague less than 50 meters from the famous Old Town Square. The three-level, 1900 m² cafe includes two vibrant bars and features a unique compilation of memorabilia from Hard Rock's world-famous collection completed by a 5-meter custom-made chandelier in the shape of a guitar.

37. Harley's Bar - not far from the Old Town Square you will find a bar, where the excitement does not die down until the early morning hours; distinctive atmosphere, good music, interior decor in the style of the legendary motorcycle brand of that name, a wide selection of original cocktails and a bartending show.

38. Karlovy Lázně - with its five music clubs on five floors, is the largest facility of its kind in Central Europe. Original mosaic tiles in corridors and on the walls, partially preserved spa facilities and swimming pools in the style of Roman baths, which now - without water! - serves as a dance floor, combine with modern facilities and music to create an inimitable atmosphere.

39. Klub Lávka - this club's unique space offers stunning views of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, all to the sound of the rushing Vltava nearby. From Thursday to Friday, you can enjoy high-quality music productions, discos, and parties. The club also features a theatrical hall, a restaurant, and a newly renovated garden restaurant directly under the Charles Bridge.

40. Club Roxy - this Music Club in down-town Prague has a long tradition. As well as the four bars, visitors can enjoy a comfortable and pleasant ambiance enhanced by the vaulted ceilings of the historic cellars. In the course of its more than twenty year existence this club has hosted a wide range of international bands and musicians, including the foremost names of the domestic music scene, and many of these concerts have gained cult status.

Staroměstké náměstí s Orlojem   Karlův most   Staroměstská mostecká věž    Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem (Týnský chrám nebo kostel Panny Marie před Týnem)    Josefov   Prašáná brána   Univerzita Karlova      

Rudolfinum   Klementinum   Obecní dům   Klášter sv. Anežky České   Palác Kinských   Rotunda Nalezení sv. Kříže    Kostel Nejsvětějšího Salvátora       

Betlémská kaple    Kostel sv. Haštala   Krannerova kašna - neboli Pomník Františka   Kostel svatého Martina ve zdi   Malé náměstí (postaru též Malý rynek či Malý ryneček)   Ovocný trh    Havelské tržiště

Pařížská ulice nebo též Pařížská třída    Celetná   Karlova   Střelecký ostrov   Obecní dvůr   Topičův dům   Lego Muzeum      

Muzeum Karlova mostu   Sex Machines Museum   Image black light theatre   Kavárna Slavia   Restaurace U Medvídků    Dům U Vejvodů   U Zlatého tygra       

Hard Rock Cafe Praha    Harleys Bar   Karlovy lázně   Klub Lávka   Club Roxy