Lesser Town -Mala Strana-, Prague
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 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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 church dominates the view at Mala Strana from the castle but is often overlooked. That's a pity, this is a very nice Baroque church that is very different than the other Baroque churches in this city. The reason for this; the church was originally Gothic and still has Gothic outlines, the current Baroque look dates from 1727-1731 and was designed by architect Killian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.
In 2003 the 775th birthday of the church was celebrated.
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.