Old-Town Square, Prague
Old Town Square is almost always crowded. Tourists flock to see the Astronomical clock chime on the hour. There are many restaurants and lots of activitiy. So it easily becomes over crowded and unpleasant during the peak hours of the day. But as you can tell from my photo here it is not always jammed with tourists. I took this picture around 9:30 in the morning from the Old Town Tower. So to avoid the crowds visit the square earlier in the day or later in the evening.
Fondest memory: One of my fondest memories is seeing this great church in the evening with all of the lights shining on it. It takes on an almost fairy tale like appearance in the evenings.
Dedicated to the 14th century revolutionary is the JAN HUS MONUMENT , located in Old Town Square.
The Jan Hus Monument was unveiled in 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus at the stake after being declared a heretic.
The sculpture of the fervent Czech nationalist is by Ladislav Saloun.
Favorite thing: Not seen this in many guide books but Prague is the centre of Europe. Look out for the line in the cobbles between the astronomical clock and Tyn Cathedral in the old town square - thats the mark denoting the middle of Europe! In actual tfact I think it must be to do with the time meridian line or something as the geographical centre of Europe is much further Eastwards, somewhere in Northeast Poland or that region (thanks to VT'er German_Eagle for that info :-) )
The Old Town Square consists of a wonderful array of buildings - hardly a door or window the same. The many differing styles are a real vision - one of the most memorable squares I have ever seen.
The most striking feature is the astromomical clock on the Old Town Hall - the procession of its figures on the hour draws the crowds into the square.
Much more on this beautiful square can be seen in the must see section.
Favorite thing: This church was one of the centers of the Hussite movement, but was taken over by the Jesuits in the 17th century. (The building in front of the Church is the Tyn School.) The royal astronomer Tycho Brahe is buried here - he who died of a burst bladder at the court of Rudolf II. Another interesting thing here: the way in which one of the church's towers is slightly, but noticeably larger and taller than the other. In medieval times, it was widely believed to be necessary to have a larger "male" tower protecting a smaller and less dominant "female" tower.
Favorite thing: There is a tourist information centre at the main market square near the famous clock - Orloj. It is open all week long and you may gain some information there, as well as take a free map of the centre, buy postcards and even use toilet.;)
For my money Staromestske namesti ( the Old Town Squere) is the most beautiful part of Prague which every visitor must see standing there with a glass of excelent Czek beer in one hand, plus sausage or grilled meat in another. It used to be open city space but nowadays it looks more alike to October Fest.
The fact is, the square now looks much nicer and above all more coherent then it used to be 40 years ago, but still, I miss its old charm and serenity. I guess it comes with the ages, when one is young everything looks different and much better.
Fondest memory: But of course, it is only my personal opinion and impression.
Favorite thing: In Old Town Square on the right hand side as you are looking at Tyn Church there is a plaque on the wall. It states that Albert Einstein played his violin here for Kafka when he was working as a professor at the university in Prague in 1911-12
Prague is a wonderful city with many beautiful houses in different styles. The most beautiful houses can be found in the old town and Mala Strana.
What I remember and liked best were the atlantes. This are a set of sculptural figures of men used to support structures in architecture. I saw some in the Jewish quarter and in Mala Strana. This is so typical for Prague.
Favorite thing: The popular facade of the Storch House is one of many facades poring over the Old Town Square. The distinctive equestrian mural of St Wenceslas (the country's patron saint) is a few floors talls. The white lion (coat of arms of Bohemia) rests below the windows.
Favorite thing: If you had time to see just one thing in Prague, then Old Town Square would be a good choice. Prague's most famous square lies at the heart of the old town and contains some of the most important buildings and monuments in the city.
While checking out the Old Town Square you will see a small area with booths selling souvenirs. Right before checking them out there should be a stand with a long line. If you are hungry, get on line and buy some Trdelnik.
Watch they make it as you wait- they take the dough and put it on a metal rod that is then spun over a fire for it to bake. Then it is dipped in sugar, vanilla, toffee & almonds.
It is a really good, hot snack!
You are walking through the cobbled streets of Prague, crossing the beautiful Old Town Square, bundled up warm against the cold winter's night. You've made a few pub stops on the way, and the hot wine from the outside stall is keeping you warm inside.It's New Year's Eve, you're checked into a nice hotel, you've got your party gear on & you are feeling good.Suddenly, all hell breaks loose!
Loud explosions fill the air from all sides, flashes of light illuminate the sky and champagne corks fly. The air is awash with different languages - Czech, Italian, German, French, English and so many more. It's not a matter of walking here, it becomes one of sliding bit by bit between so many jolly people until you've finally found an open pocket of space to breathe & congratulate yourself on not catching fire.Yep, this is the spot, New Year's Eve in Prague; watch out for the ricochets and keep your flammable clothing at home! Forget house parties ...
For reasons known only to themselves, Czechs LOVE setting off fireworks, the size of which may just blow your hearing for a good time to come. In the Old Town Square they might also possibly catch your clothes, hair, eyelashes, and much more aflame - inexplicably, most fireworks are aimed straight into the crowds!Wherever you are - the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill, Prague Castle, on a dinner cruise, in a restaurant by the river or in a nightclub - Prague is a terrific city for New Year's Eve.
Fondest memory: Have you ever meet a New Year in prague?! - you should do that!!!
Christmas is a special time of year in Prague and the Christmas markets (Vanocni trh) are a key ingredient in the Czech festive magic. The Prague Christmas markets are a great opportunity for visitors and locals to come together and share some holiday spirit in a true 'winter wonderland' setting. The markets run daily throughout the whole festive period, from 9am to 7pm. The main ones are at Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square, with smaller ones taking place at Namesti Republiky and Havelske Trziste.
The Prague Christmas markets consist of rows of brightly decorated wooden huts, selling Czech handicrafts, hot food (corn on the cob, sausages and local specialties) and warm drinks. Outdoor christmas shopping is much easier with a cup of hot wine (svarene vino) in your hand!Great stocking stuffers can be found here, such as Czech glass, wooden toys, candles, Christmas tree ornaments and local hand-made jewellery. Finally, there are the wooden puppets, always puppets.....However, Christmas shopping isn't just about presents.
In Prague's Old Town Square there is a mini zoo. Youngsters and adults who have retained their childlike wonder can enjoy pony rides and stroke sheep, goats and even a lama. Next to the mini zoo, a Bethlehem manger scene is recreated in a wooden stable, complete with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the three kings and a straw floor. Most impressive of all is the Christmas tree, shipped from the Sumava mountains & erected in the Old Town Square. Draped in a blaze of lights and set against a dark gothic skyline, this is a spectacular sight.
Fondest memory: YEEEEEEES! - you should meet Christmas and New Year in Prague!!!
Favorite thing: In the Old Town Square between Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock there is a plaque set into the ground indicating the meridian line which means that Prague is the area in Europe where Central European Time is designated.