Prague has been known to have many nicknames. The ‘city of a hundred spires’, ‘the magic city’, ‘the mother of cities’, ‘the city with 100 bell towers’, ‘the golden city’; and the ‘heart of Europe’. Travel to Prague and you will instantly understand why. It is a captivating city full of beautiful buildings and historical sites just waiting to be explored. This bohemian city sits on the hills alongside the Vltava River. It features a stunning skyline of Gothic spires. It is so photogenic with its cobblestone streets, red rooftops, extensive gardens and brightly coloured buildings.

Prague used to be known as the ‘Five Towns’, although it is divided into 10 separate districts. Most visitors tend to concentrate on the five historic towns:

  1. Castle district (or Hradčany)
  2. Old Town (or Staré Město)
  3. Little Quarter (or Malá Strana)
  4. New Town (or Nové Město)
  5. Jewish Quarter (or Josefov)

This travel guide is part of a five-part series focusing on each of the five areas at a time. It will highlight some of the area’s best of, so you won’t miss a thing. This is the fourth one, focusing on Nové Město or New Town.

Take a tour of Prague's Historical city of Nové Město, which means New Town.

The History of New Town

Despite its name, New Town was founded by Charles IV in 1348, is considered the youngest of the five historic areas. This area of Prague is a mix of new and historic buildings, as much of it was redeveloped during the late 19th century.

This area is noticeably different than the other historic areas of Prague. Not only due to its architecture, but also its size. New Town is twice as large as Old Town. It is sprawled across one of the banks of the Vltata River and features, not just one but three large squares – Wenceslas, Charles and Republic Square.

Also, it features public transportation (bus, tram and metro) – where the other areas are mainly foot traffic only. New Town is the business and party neighbourhood of Prague – holding the greatest number of international hotels, theaters, chain stores, night clubs, cafés, restaurants and fast food. It’s crawling with tourists and young people. So, if that is your vibe, this is where you need to be!

Key Attractions

The Squares – Wenceslas, Charles and Hay

All three squares were founded in 1348 – one used for horses (Wenceslas), one for cattle (Charles) and one for hay (Hay). All three are connected by today’s Vodičkova and Jindřišská streets and each have their own metro station.

Wenceslas Square is the heart of New Town. It doesn’t look like your typical European square, rather it looks like a long broad boulevard. However, it is here where many historical moments in the country’s history took place. The revolution in 1848, the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, and the anticommunist protests in 1989. Also, it’s where you will find patriot holiday celebrations and political protests. At the top of the square sits the National Museum, built in 1880s. It features intellectual and scientific history of the Czech Republic.

Wenceslas Square is the heart of the city of Prague's New Town

Charles Square is the largest square in Prague. It was supposed to be the most important square in the city, and is where the New Town Hall was built, but despite those plans, Wenceslas Square later became the most important square. In the 1860s, a large portion of the square was turned into a park.

Lastly, there is Hay Square, the smallest and least important,  so much so it was never renamed during its course of history. 

The New Town Hall

The New Town Hall was built in 1377, and has quite the history. Have you ever heard the term ‘defenestration’ which literally means throwing out of a window? Well, the term just might have originated here. In 1419, two councilors were thrown from the window to their death which began the Hussite revolution.

The Town Hall of Prague's New Town historical district

The Dancing House

The Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry designed this office building and nicknamed it ‘Fred and Ginger’ as he thought the two glass towers resembled two dancers. Officially this building is known as the Nationale-Nederlanden, and it was completed in 1996. The building is not open to the public, as it is used for office space. But, there is a restaurant on the top floor and would offer wonderful views of the Vltava River.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Nové Město |

The National Theater

The best view of this magnificent building is from the Charles Bridge. I fell I love with the architecture which has a mix of Austrian and Italian influences. Since 1881 it offers ballet, opera and theater productions. My biggest regret was not getting tickets in advance and being able to see the inside. Don’t miss out the opportunity, click here for their website.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Nové Město |

The Museums

The most notable museums in this area are:

  1. Mucha – featuring art nouveau
  2. National – featuring intellectual and scientific history

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Nové Město |

As a holidaymaker…

Prague is easily one of Europe’s most photogenic cities. From its medley of architectural styles to its numerous landmarks. Time has stood still in Prague’s five historical quarters, straight out of a fairytale. 

Be sure to check out the other four historical areas within this blog series. 

A Guide to Prague's Historical Quarters: Castle District |

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  1. I did not know that Prague used to be known as “Five Towns”. When we visited we wandered around and did not really appreciate the very different town settings. Reading this blog post showed me that we visited many of the great spots in New Town. The architectural wonders were a bit draw for a visit toe h the National Theater and the Dancing House. Next time we will have to check out the museums.

  2. The architecture in Prague is just so clearly what makes it such an amazing city. I would seriously just need to dedicate at least two days to going around and taking pictures of all these beautiful buildings. I’ve seen pictures of the ‘Fred and Ginger’ building, but honestly don’t even think I knew it was located here. You mention that the architect is Canadian; do you know why it might have ‘Netherlands’ in the official name?

  3. This brings back such wonderful memories of visiting Prague! It’s such a varied city, and I love that you are paying homage to each of it’s neighborhoods. And I agree – the architecture of the National Theatre is just stunning!

    1. Thank you Dani for your comment. I am so glad you agree that you like the architecture of the National Theatre as much as I do.

  4. My sister visited Prague last year and I wish I could have visited some of the places you both went to. I don’t believe she visited the New Town Hall. I have heard of the term “throwing it out of the window” which is interesting to learn that it originated from this building!

    1. Thanks for you comment Candy. You will just have to return with her! Yes, pretty frightening to know how that term got started.

  5. One of my current housemates actually grew up in Prague and hearing her talk about it really makes me want to visit! I lobe how you’ve split it up into a series. How funny (well, I guess not for the people involved) that defenestration originated here!

    1. Thanks Maggie, I am glad you like how I have broken it up into a series. I do hope you get a chance to visit one day soon.

  6. I am so excited to (hopefully) be visiting Prague late this year for the holidays. I have got to see the National Theater and the Dancing House. The Fred and Ginger is totally up my alley for really cool architecture. I have heard of the term defenestration but had no idea it more than likely originated here!

    1. Thanks Heather for your comment. I know you love bridges, so best advice when you go, get up at dawn and shoot Charles Bridge. Not only for the light but the amount of people.

  7. Wow, New Town was built in 1348 that’s a cool fact. I love the Dancing building especially the name Fred and Ginger Prague is definitely on my short list to visit.

    1. Thank you Wendy for your comment. Appreciate you taking the time and hope you do get to visit it one day.

  8. Great tip about buying tickets ahead of time for the theater- I would want to see and opera. I love the idea that there are so many historical sights here, but like the idea of checking out the pedestrian neighborhoods.

    1. Thank you Jamie for your comment. I definitely did not spend much time here, and it was my least favourite part of Prague.

  9. Renee, totally enjoyed reading and have saved for future reference. I have been wanting to visit Prague for the past few years, since relocated to Europe. Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Marilyn. I am happy to hear you enjoyed it and hope you get to visit the beautiful city one day soon.

  10. This is awesome Renee as we are heading to Prague in July this year. I have saved to read later and share with my sisters. Will be reading your other posts as the days go by.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading this, and so happy to know that this will be useful to your upcoming trip to Prague. It sounds like you will have a great trip, have fun planning!

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