Lesser Town -Mala Strana-, Prague
Half way between the castle and the old city, close to the north exit of Charles bridge, this wonderful baroque quarter is a hub in transport around town.
Waiting for the tram is not so boring as in many other places.
The curch of Panny Marie Vitezne is known under few names, those in Czech are too complicated so let me write translation in English only; the Church of Our Lady Victorious and Saint Anthony of Padua, also known as, The Church of the Infant Jesus of Prague. It is a Baroque church located in Karmelitska street in the Lesser Town.
This church has exceptional significance because in it is preserved and venerated the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. In 1628 Countess Polyxena from Lobkowitz donated to the church the statuette of the Instant Jesus which is attracting great number pilgrims and visitors from all over the world.
The church was built in 1611-1613 by Giovanni Maria Filippi for the German-speaking Lutherans, and it was the first Baroque church in Prague. After the Battle of the White Mountain, in 1620, the protestants were defeated and Czech began its return to Catholicism. The church was given to the Carmelites and they changed the original orientation of the church, from the western to the eastern side.Emperor Josef II closed down the adjoining monastery and the Carmelites had to leave. The administration of the church was entrusted to the Mlatese Order. By the wish of Cardinal Vlk, the discalced Carmelites returned to the church on 1993, after a break of 200 years.
U Luzickeho seminare is probably the most popular and most visited street in Mala Strana. There are number of restaurants and breweries but this street is best known for the most narrow street in Prague. Actually, it is so narrow that there must be traffic lights in order people wouldn't collide. This street, which has no name, goes down to the Certovka restaurant, offering spectacular view of Karluv most.
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
Mala Strana (Lesser Town or Little Quarter) clusters around the foot of Prague Castle. Almost too picturesque for its own good - with it's ancient burgher houses and the St. Nicolas Church - the area is now a favourite setting for movies and commercials.
Most tourists pass through Mala Strana as they climb up from Charles Bridge to Prague Castle, along Nerudova Street.
At the heart of Mala Strana is Malastranske Namesti. In and around this delightful baroque quarter, in the narrow cobblestone side streets, visitors will discover small boutique shops, traditional Czech pubs, restaurants and interesting buildings to explore.
Mala Strana started life in the 8th or 9th century as a market settlement.
In 1257 Premysl Otakar II granted it town status and around 1360-1362 fortifications were built on the orders of Charles IV. This has been known for centuries as the Hunger Wall, built with the aim of giving employment to the poor during a period of famine.
Mala Strana was almost destroyed twice: first during a battle between the Hussites and the Prague Castle garrison in 1419, and then in the Great Fire of Prague in 1514. Renaissance buildings and palaces replaced the destroyed houses.
The baroque churches and palaces that give Mala Strana its charm date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
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.