Prague was 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’, the Old Town, the New Town, the Jewish Quarter; 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 built on the hills alongside the Vltava River, 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:
- Castle district (or Hradčany)
- Old Town (or Staré Město)
- Little Quarter (or Malá Strana)
- New Town (or Nové Město)
- Jewish Quarter
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 second one, focusing on Staré Město, otherwise known as Old Town.
Key Attractions of Old Town
Old Town Square
The heart of any European city is always the historic old town centre. And, Prague’s is definitely that. It’s one of Europe’s most speculator town squares, covering an area of over 9,000 square meters, from which the whole city can be explored from.
It dates back to the 9th century where merchants from all over the world would meet here, as a central crossroad for trade routes. Today, it’s bustling with activity with constant stream of people morning, noon and night. Which is all part of the experience.
The buildings are a kaleidoscope of every colour you can imagine. Spend some time admiring each building’s architecture full of wonderful intricate details.
Old Town Hall
Church of Our Lady Before Týn
Church of St James
One of Prague’s best examples of art nouveau building. There is so much detail in its design and decor. The street level restaurant and café are the perfect backdrop, but if you want to see more, that is only by a guided tour.
Beyond the Key Attractions
Now, for my favourites from this area…
Brewery – Pivnice U Kata (U Radnice 6) – you can feel the history as you are sampling some of Prague’s best brews
Restaurant – U Medviku (Na Perstyne 7) – although highly recommended (we didn’t actually eat here) if you want to enjoy a traditional Czech dinner this is the place to go
Cocktail bar with terrace – Bugsy’s (Parázská 10) – this is amongst the nicest shopping street and popular with the local business crowd
Best vantage point – the astronomical tower of course
Best concert – Prague is famous for offering evening classical concerts, and you will be overwhelmed with the choices. We did two, and it makes for a great way to see the interiors of these wonderfully historic churches.
- Saint Martin in the Wall Church – is a gothic church dating back to 1187. The exterior is unassuming, and the interior is simple, yet beautiful – but trust me it is the best place for a classical concert, as the acoustics are amazing.
- Church of St James – due to the high number of tourists that visit this church in the day, we thought we would take in a concert and sit and appreciate all the details.
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.