Lesser Town, Prague
Lesser Town Bridge Tower is the taller of the two towers on the Mala Strana (Lesser Town) side of the Charles Bridge. It was built in the second half of the 15th century under King George of Podebrady, following the example of the tower on the opposite side of the bridge. It is connected by a gate with Judith Tower, the only remaining part of the Romanesque bridge destroyed by flood in 1342. Great for aerial views again but we missed this one as we never came across it opened during our visit.
A strange square as it has two parts - being split by the dominant church of St Nicholas with its two towers almost hugging each other. Quite busy with traffic here too a ride through here on the number 22 or 23 tram and up to the other side of the castle is a popular trip.
Here can be seen the plague memorial (1713) outside the Lichtenstein palace.
Lovely views up to the spires of Hadcrany complex too.
I didn't realize at the time, the Lesser Town Square is divided in two by St. Nicholas Church. The result is, and Upper and Lower Square, probably blending into one now, not the case in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages, in the centre were two churches with a cemetery, a school and small houses where craftsmen and merchants lived. Butchers must have been in high demand in 1784, as there were three rows of butchers shops. The Upper Square was where seamstresses, goldsmiths, stirrup makers and other craftsmen had their shops, it became a square of the aristocracy.
The Square has quite a few buildings with interesting architecture, doors, sculptures, wrought-iron, and interesting tales to tell.
Some of the more interesting buildings were Šternberský Palace (No. 7/19). In 1684, it was built by joining two houses together - Now it has a lovey Baroque façade. Rudolf II used the Palace as accommodation for foreign delegations. I wonder what he thought when the Turkish Ambassador "Mehmet Beg" arrived with an entourage including a few Camels!!!
Another impressive building, is on the corner of Letenská Street, it's the former Lesser Town Town Hall (No.35/21), rebuilt in its present early Baroque style between 1617-1630. Next door, the house used to be a brewery, it has a Baroque fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary on the facade. . Then there is another Palace - Kaiserstein Palace (No. 37/23) which has allegories of the four seasons on the roof and above the middle window of the first floor, the Kaiserstein coat of arms.
So, as you can read, there are interesting sights to be seen here if you are willing to stop and have a closer look!
This was the central marketplace for the Little Quarter since its origins in the 1200's. All the buildings that surround the square have been redone since the Renaissance or Baroque periods but all have a medieval charm to them. There are plenty of things to see around the square and many shops, clubs and restaurants. Conveniently there is a tram stop close to the center of the square. Use Trams numbers 12, 22, or 23, or you can walk up from the Malostranska metro stop.
I am talking about the unusual house/building names I found in Prague!
I was nearly at the Vlata River when I came across these three attractive buildings!
The first was known as "AT the Black Bear and the other "AT Saviours."
Originally two Gothic houses were joined together, then the left one was reconstructed in Renaissance style and the right house in Baroque style. The façade is still the same as it was in the 18th century. There is a small statue of St. Saviour on the façade of "AT SAVIOURS," and a relief of a Bear above the first floor of 'AT THE BLACK BEAR."
At the Black Bear and At Saviour’s ARE AT Mostecká Street 4/53, Lesser Town
Adjoining these, is the Renaissance house which was originally built as part of the former Bishop’s Court, then rebuilt in Baroque style, now in Classicist style.
At the (Huge) Whale IS AT Mostecká Street 2/59, Lesser Town
This street is appropriately named after Jan Neruda who lived along this narrow passage in the mid 19th century. Unlike today, Prague didn't use house numbers until the late 1700's. The houses were distinguished with signs and other features that set them apart from their neighbors. The street is the home to both Italian and Romanian embassies (in what were once Baroque palaces). There are a number of crests or other decorations that you may see on the rows of houses as you make your way up towards the castle. Along the street are some cafe's to recharge your energy or shops to get recharged batteries.
one of the many lanes on Mala Strana (Lesser Town) between The Old Town Square and Charles Bridge. There are a lots of souvenirs shops. The all houses around are decorated often with figures and beautiful ornaments.
After alighting from St. Nicholas Church, I headed across to the Holy Trinity Column located in Lesser Square. Built in 1715, the monument was erected in memory of the terrible plague that had raged through Prague the previous two years.
The column is a 20 metre high sandstone Obelisk inlaid with marble, with a symbol of God's eye on the top.
A little lower down, is the statue of the Holy Trinity, then the rest is decorated with statues of the Czech patron saints including St. Wenceslas, St. Adalbert, St. Ludmila, St. John of Nepomuk and St. Procopius. The three fountains at the foot of the column symbolize life, charity and salvation.
To the right side of the Charles Bridge in Mala Strana you can see a house with three ostriches. In 1597 Jan Fux was a rich merchant that dealt in feathers of ostrich, used by the officials and courtiers of the castle. In 1606 he reconstructed the house and he painted a fresco with three ostriches.
In the Morzin Palave (1714) ,one of the finest Baroque palaces in the Lesser Quarter,the Baroque architecture of Giovanni Santini combines with the sculpture of Ferdinand Maximilian Brokoff to form a harmonious whole. The balcony is supported on fgures of Moors - heraldic emblems of the Morzin family. Above the doorway are allegoriesof day and night. The building is now occupied by the Rumanian Embassy.
In a way this felt more comfortable to be on the other side of the river, away from the busy traffic of people, and glitter shopping. It is called Lesser Town, but maybe is More town. Not as many shops to see, but a great deal of restaurants and good detail on facades of buildings. The St. Nicholas church was built 1257, burned and rebuilt 1600-1700 era. The baroque fell is nice.
This is the street you will be walking along once you cross into the Little Quarter. There are some great looking buildings on either side of the street and some were once used by the Court of the Bishop of Prague. There are a few buildings of note on the left hand side, built in the Baroque and Rococo styles. The Little Quarter square will be in front of you and you will be able to see the Church of St. Nicolas.
PALACES - Prague surely has more than its fair share!
Here in Lesser Square, I found another large Palace, built in Classicist style in 1621 by reconstructing five existing houses for Charles of Liechtenstein, . The Palace takes up the whole western side of the square! In 1791, it was decided to change the front of the building to one single Classicist façade. At the same time, the interiors were rebuilt.
Over the years, it has been the Prague Postal Office, later, a Decorative Arts Exhibition took place there, then between 1848-1918, the home of the Provincial Military headquartes, and now the seat of the Academy of Performing Arts. Worth looking at, are the 27 columns with reliefs of male heads. These men were condemned to death by Karel of Liechtenstein and were executed on the Old Town Square in 1621. Family members of the condemned men gathered at the Palace pleading for their liberation.
Infront of the Palace and in the street, were many Cars & drivers that could be hired for sightseeing around Prague.
Quite a few different types to choose from!
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 church of our lady beneath the chain is the oldest church in the little quarter. it was founded by king vladislav II in the 12th century. vladislav presented the church to the knights of st. john. this fortified monastery guarded the little quarter approach to the old judith bridge. in the 14th century the original romanesque building was demolished and the twin towers were erected that are seen today. a must see attraction in the church is karel sketa's painting of the virgin mary and st. john comming to the aid of the knights of malta in the battle of lepanto.