August 2, 2005
Staromestske Namesti (the Czech name for The Old Town Square) is the heart of Prague's famous Old Town and, to me, is one of the most beautiful historical sights in Europe.
Dating back to the late 12th century, the Old Town Square started its life as the main marketplace for Prague. Over the next few centuries, many buildings of varying styles, including Romanesque, baroque, and Gothic, were erected around the market. Nowhere else can you see such diverse architecture spanning centuries all in one glance!
Today, there are vendors in the early morning at wooden stalls around the perimeter of the square, selling their wares. You can purchase anything from a pashmina or fruits and vegetables to local handmade crafts, as well as the tacky mass-produced souvenirs available in all the tourist areas.
One of the most popular sights here is the Astronomical Clock. It contains figures of apostles from 1410. Twelve apostles appear every hour between 9am and 9pm, where huge crowds gather to watch. It's really a sight worth seeing.
The beautiful Saint Nicholas Church is also located here, and classical music concerts are performed inside daily.
On our first evening in Prague, we were surprised to first hear and then see more than 100,000 people crowded into the square. When we felt brave enough to venture out of our room, we discovered the crowd watching a hockey game on a huge flat screen and cheering voraciously. The Czechs had just beat the Canadians! It was cause for celebration throughout the city that night and the next. The Town Square has been the site of many such gatherings throughout Prague's history, although I doubt any were as joyful as this one.
You may want to wander down one of the many narrow cobblestone alleyways to see what adventure awaits around the next corner. Who knows what you'll find? One thing I can assure you is that wherever you look, it will take your breath away, and the city will entrance you, as it did me.
From journal A city that never ceases to amaze