This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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June 20, 2011
From journal Prague - A Meetin' Place
June 24, 2009
From journal The City of a Hundred Towers
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
June 13, 2006
From journal Immersing Yourself in Prague
by captain oddsocks
March 16, 2006
The old town square was originally a marketplace. Its dominant buildings include the old town hall, Týn church and the church of sv Mikuláš/St Nicholas. On the town hall is an astronomical clock that must be among the most recognisable monuments in Europe. Every day thousands upon thousands of photographs are taken by the hordes of tourists that gather to watch the hourly mechanical show. The double-towered facade of the Gothic Týn church peers over the square towards the baroque church of sv Mikuláš, and the art nouveau monument to reformist religious leader Jan Hus in the middle of the square.
Prague’s Jewish quarter lies between the old town square and the Vltava River. Several synagogues and a cemetery survived Nazi occupation because they were intended for Hitler’s’ "Exotic museum of an extinct race". Little else remains of the ghetto after the late19th/early20th century "sanitization" (demolition of the original buildings and the construction of five storey Art Nouveau palaces and leafy boulevards). The old-new synagogue from 1270 is one of Prague’s oldest surviving buildings and the 12000-headstone Jewish cemetery is the oldest in Europe. The Jewish quarter’s most famous son, Franz Kafka, is commemorated with monuments and plaques but lays in rest across town in the Žižkov cemetery. The monuments of the Jewish quarter are closed on Saturdays.
An enormous shopping precinct, lined with brand-name stores, hotels and casinos. Václavské námìstí/Wenceslas square is also central to most of the important events in modern Czech history. There were great gatherings on the square in the revolutionary year of 1848 and again to celebrate independence from Austria-Hungary at the end of WWI. In early 1969, shortly after the military suppression of the Prague spring, a student named Jan Palach set himself alight in protest and died of his injuries a few days later. His funeral became the focus for a nationwide demonstration and a monument to his memory lays at the museum end of the square, near the horseback statue of St Wenceslas that keeps watch along the length of the square. Václav Havel and Alexander Dubèek announced the end of the communist era to an enormous crowd here in 1989.
Karlùv most/Charles bridge was built across the Vltava river before 1400 to replace the Judith bridge, which was destroyed by floods. According to legend, Charles Bridge owes its longevity to eggs mixed into the mortar at the instruction of Europe’s greatest Gothic builder, Peter Parler. The stone bridge has a steep-roofed Gothic tower at each end and is lined on both sides by a series of 30 statues depicting the saints most important to the Czech nation. The pedestrian-only bridge is often extremely crowded and you’ll have to get up very early if you’d like to photograph it without the throngs.
From journal Czech Republic Highlights - An Itinerary
April 8, 2002
This square is the historical centre of the city, the old marketplace where the various trade routes of Central Europe intersected and where the merchants traded there wares. The square has always been right at the heart of the city’s turbulent history and some of its most important events have been played out here.
In the centre of the square is self-taught Czech artist Ladislav Šaloun's 1915 Art Nouveau statue of Czech church reformer Jan Hus who was burned for heresy in 1415 by the Holy Roman Emperor. This is an emotive symbol for the Czech people and was covered with flowers in 1915 after the Habsburg’s refused to hold an official unveiling, daubed with Swastikas in 1939 by invading Nazis, draped in black during the soviet invasion of 1968 and still a popular meeting place for local and tourists alike today.
Surrounding the square is a bewildering array of fine Baroque buildings including Staroměstské Radnice with its ever popular astronomical clock, ubiquitous Prague architect K. I. Dienzenhofer’s 1732 Kostel sv. Mikuláše (St. Nicholas’s Church) and 1755 Palác Goltz-Kinský now home to the National Gallery and rising above it all the magnificent twin spires of the Gothic Kostel Panny Marie před Týnen (Our Lady of Týn Church).
Most of the rest of the buildings have been given over to overpriced café’s that spill-out into the square with the pavement seating areas, there are still some relatively cheap-eats to be grabbed however from the stall of the small tourist market behind the Staroměstské Radnice, which also has a large pavement seating area.
Taken together this creates one of Prague’s truly unmissable sights although during the day, especially during the hourly chiming of the clock, the crowds can make the place unbearable if however you get there early in the morning you’ll have the place pretty much to yourself.
From journal Prague’s Old Town: City of a Hundred Spires and a Billion Tourists
December 11, 2000
Buzzing with activity, Staromestske Namesti is centrally located at will be passed through numerous times on your journeys from one end of town to another. It's also a great place to stop, rest, and people watch. Soaking up the character of this great plaza is fun, until the snow has completely soaked into your shoes.
From journal Czech Republic: Prague
heber ctity, Utah
February 12, 2007
From journal Prague Deserves at Least a Week
July 14, 2005
It is also the site for the city’s main market place, which definitely adds to the atmosphere of Prague. Enjoy browsing among the wooden stalls searching for that bargain or memento to bring home with you.
Essentially a touristy market, it has more than its fair share of idiosyncratic souvenirs, more so on weekends. Some hark back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire - it's not every day that you can buy a suit of armour from the days of old. As well as the bags, hats, and general paraphernalia, there is a section entirely dedicated to roots and fruits.
Prague's Old Town is bounded on two sides by the Vltava, turning sharply eastwards. The Old Town Square, Staromestké námestí, is just south of Josefov (the Old Jewish Quarter), where of the streets around have been pedestrianised. The nearest Metro stop is Mustek (line A or B).
Although there isn't a great deal of choice, it's cheap and prices remain the same throughout all of the wooden stalls.
From journal A city that never ceases to amaze
November 30, 2002
Dominating this spot, the Astonomical (or as some argue, Astrological) Clock of Old Town Hall warranted photo-taking, but we did not stay for the hourly display of its dazzling parts in motion. Already partially obscured by others waiting to see this display, the clock is, indeed, beautiful, so my husband persevered and got some good photos of it from different perspectives. Since it is nearly seven hundred years old, the clock is really worth seeing for its plant and animal carvings represent masterly craftsmanship. And it really is an astrological, not astronomical, clock with its 12 signs of the zodiac. Later, we were to see the original calendar face of this clock at the city Museum. We did not take the guided tour of the Town Hall as its entrance was already stuffed with fellow tourists waiting to enter.
Other notable sites here are the Church of Our Lady before Tyn (Gothic) and the baroque Church of St. Nicholas. And, of course, there's the Memorial to Jan Hus,smack dab in the middle of this square, which more accurately conforms to one’s expectations of a "square,’ than Vaclavske Namesti does,and it attracts the highest crowd concentration. History is all around you in this square, but, if you dislike crowds, as I do, you only look at the exteriors. Fortunately, the exteriors are magnificent. The visitor should not miss this site because it juxtaposes so dramatically in miniature the old and the new, in a space more concentrated than Vaclavske Namesti.
From journal So, You want to go to Prague?
by Wildcat Dianne
November 26, 2003
Staromestske Namestie is lined with old cobbled roads, Baroque buildings, old churches, and statues. Its most popular sight is the Staromestske Radnice (Town Hall) with its tall towers and famous Astronomical Clock (orloj), which deserves its own separate journal entry. The Staromestske Radnice is a series of private buildings dating from 1338. The row style of housing was because the city of Prague was short of money and this was the most cost-effective of architecture.
At the end of World War II, Nazi shells partially destroyed the Gothic chapel and a wing on the north side with shells. The chapel has been reconstructed since then. On the tower's eastern side, a plaque commemorates the Red Army and Czechoslovak victory in 1945 at Dukla Pass in Slovakia. This was the first area that was liberated in what was then occupied Czechoslovakia.
Also on the eastern face of the Town Hall is a plaque that contains a roll call of the 27 Czech Protestant nobles who were beheaded here in 1621 after the Battle of Bila Hora. Bila Hora was a hill near Prague where Czech Protestants during the 30 Years War staged an unsuccessful revolt against the Hapsburg Empire, which had recently taken over Bohemia and Moravia. There are crosses on the ground where the executions took place, and I found them very chilling.
Also nearby is the statue of another Protestant martyr, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake in Constance, Germany in 1415. The statue was unveiled in Staromestske Namestie in 1915, the 500th anniversary of Hus's death.
Staromestske Namesti is located in the heart of Prague's Old Town, or Stare Mesto. It is a mandatory visit when you visit Prague, but it is very crowded in the summertime and around Christmastime with tourists from all over the world. The best time to visit it without the crowds is in the fall or springtime. I went during the summer, and it was a quick trip that didn't allow me to soak in the culture and history of this beautiful and historic place in the old city of Prague.
From journal Golden Prague