Places Around Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti)
Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí)
From the 10th – 12th century, the Old Town Square in the city of Prague has been teeming with wealthy merchants who sell their products, turning the square into a central marketplace. This has become the heart and pulse of the city. This little town has also been a living witness to both tragic and great events in the history of its people and country.
The old Town Square occupies 1.7 hectares of land. There is a hint of Gothic and Romanesque styles in the architecture as you study the many colourful buildings in the area. This historical treasure of Prague sits amongst a maze of narrow cobbled streets. Located between the Vltava River and the Wenceslas Square, it is one of the main draws for visitors to the city. It's ancient, well-preserved buildings, many of them UNESCO protected, provide many of the images you will see in books about Prague. The Square is dominated by the monument of Jan Hus, one of the most important Czech reformers and nationalists. He was born in 1369 and was the first rector of Charles University.
Among others, he simplified the Czech writing rules and he was not afraid to criticize the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church firmly and the Papacy at those times. In 1415 he was declared a heretic and burned at the stake. On 6 July 1915, at 500 years after Jan Hus’ death, the monument now towering over the Old Town Square was unveiled. It is the work of Ladislav Saloud, inspired by the famous sculptures of the French artist Auguste Rodin. Despite the initial outcry at the modern style of the sculpture the statue stands as a symbol of Czech identity.
Today the Square is a popular space for political speeches, Christmas festivities and large public gatherings. Now, a lot of charming cafes and restaurants, as well as galleries and various shops cater to the needs of the tourists who flock the area. The most notable sights here, easily viewed from the comfort of one of the outdoor cafes, are the Church of Our Lady at Tyn, with it's exquisite Gothic towers; the Astronomical Clock, a part of the town hall; the Baroque St Nikolas Church, located to the west of the Square and many buildings of the Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles. A visit to Prague will not be complete without going to the Old Town Square where the heart of the city lies.