Mala Strana, which translates as Lesser Town or, more elegantly, as Little Quarter, is located below Prague Castle hill, on the opposite side of the Vltava River to the Old Town area. In fact, the famous Charles Bridge connects Mala Strana to Stare Mesto. I prefer the term Little Quarter when talking about this very charming area of the city because Lesser Town just doesn't do it justice. More than any other neighborhood in Prague, Little Town seems to have fozen in time back in the 18th century. Initially home to German and Italian immigrants, Little Town's reputation soon grew to attract members of the upper class, especially following the construction of Wallenstein Palace. Lying in front of the Chuch of St. Nicholas, Little Town Square has always been at the center of the area's life - when Little Quarter was founded in 1257, it was used as a marketplace as well as a place for public executions. The early medieval buildings have since been replaced by beautiful Baroque palaces that are now home to various restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. There is a fun, vibrant atmosphere in this part of the city, which is only made more enjoyable by the fact that it isn't as crowded as Old Town Square.
As you get off Charles Bridge on the Little Town side, make sure to take plenty of time to raise your eyes and admire the mix of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. A fun feature of most streets in the area is that back before numbers were introduced for addresses, people would used signs to distinguish their houses. That's why you'll find the house at the Three Fiddles, the house at the Green Lobster, the house at the Golden Horseshoe, etc. The signs that were made up to identify each house can still be seen on a majority of the dwellings. Its truly worth getting lost in the area's winding streets to take a look at the charming colourful houses. Nerudova Street, which connects Little Town to Prague Castle, is especially worth the detour.
The Lesser Town Bridge Tower is the ancient gate to the Lesser Town (Mala Strana) and situated at one end of Charles Bridge.
It is the main pedestrian entrance to the Lesser Town.
The Tower was built in the second half of the 15th century.
Inside the Lesser Town Bridge Tower is an exhibition dedicated to the rich history of Charles Bridge.
You can climb stairs to the top for a fine view over the Lesser Town, Charles Bridge, the Vltava River and across into Prague's Old Town.
The Lesser Town or Little Side or "Small Town" or maybe any other adjective that means less or small --- as opposed to the Old Town is actually the other side of the Charles Bridge.
This part of the town is the one I mistake for the old town square. I thought I've seen 'em all until I discovered the real old town.
Mala Strana or Lesser town is actually not lesser - it has a lot of things going on around - for one it's the way to the Prague Castle by walk. Lots of restaurants, outdoor cafe, souvenir shops, stores, churches, old buildings and other attractions in the area. And it's not lesser in terms of land area cuz trhe Petrin lookout tower is still a part of the lesser town which I thought was far from the area since it's on top of the hills.
During the medieval time, this is the settlement area of ethnic Germans of Prague.
The neoclassical national museum is right at the end of the long boulevard of the Wenceslas Square in the new town. Houses millions of articles in almost all subjects - historical, arts, prehistory, music, archeological findings, etc...
The museum is founded in 1818.
Normally open from 9am to 5pm, but check their website for current ones as they tend to change from time to time.
FREE admission to the main building every first Monday of the month.
Normal entry fee is 120 CZK, Students 70 CZK, Family of 4 is 150 CZK.
Phototography & video fee : 50 CZK
Guided tour in czech language: 10 CZK
One of Prague specific architectural characteristics are the house symbols. You can see them almost everywhere in the old centre of the city. They are said to bring good luck upon the house they are attached to. Some just specified their owners' trade or craft.
The oldest of Prague's house emblems are from the second half of the 14th century. The house numbers were introduced in Prague in 1770.
The 1 in the picture, just between the Golden Cup and the Thun Palace, is the House of St John of Nepomuk.
The House at the Golden Lion houses the Dittrich Pharmacy.
The Historical Pharmacies exhibition belonging to the National Museum can be found here. This is where you can learn about the Culture of Pharmaceutical Work and Pharmacies in Bohemia and Moravia from the Renaissance up to the 19th century.
Oct-March Tue-Fri 11-17, weekends and holidays 10-17
Apr-Sep Tue-Fri 12-18, weekends and holidays 10-18
This building is the result of the joining together of 3 buildings, which happened in the 2nd half of the 17th century. Morzin had it transformed in the 1st half of the 18th century.
The building now houses the Romanian Embassy.
Take a look at the Moors supporting the balcony, and the allegories of Day and Night above the portal.
The Palace was built in the 1st half of the 18th century, according to the plans of Santini, who was comissioned by Kolovrat.
This is now the home to the Italian Embassy.
The magnificent portal is crowned with the Kolovrat eagles and representations of Jupiter with an eagle and Juno with a peacock.
This house has got a red lion holding a golden cup in his fore paw, thus the name.
It used to be the home of Petr Brandl, famous Czech painter, whose work can be seen at the Church of St Margaret in Prague-Brevnov or the Church of St James.
This used to be the home of the violin-makers, the Edlingers. They were so successful that they exported their products abroad.
It’s said that during the full moon you can still hear mysterious tones of violins.
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