March 3, 2009

Old Town Square

Filed under: Highlights — admin @ 7:50 am

Another very popular tourist attraction in Prague is, not without reason, Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). The first feature that normally meets the eye of visitors as they approach the square is the baroque facade of the Church of Our Lady before Týn. Many people gather in front of the famous astronomical clock on front of the old town hall building, especially at the strike of the hour, when tbe clock animates and the 12 apostles briefly look onto the square from two small windows. Old town square is as popular with tourists, as it is with the locals, who come to the square to enjoy the delicacies sold at little markets that are set up in occasion of festivities such as Christmas or carnival. Also to see in Old Town Square is the Jan Hus Memorial, and the Church of St. Nicholas, Kinský Palace, the House of the Stone Bell and the facade of the Štorch House. It is worthwhile to take the lift from the Tourist information office to the top of the Old Town Hall tower, and admire the square from above.

Old Town Square

The Church of Our Lady before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem), was built between the 14th and 16th century replacing an older version of the church. Matthias of Arras first, and Peter Parler later (both architects famous for their work on St. Vitus Cathedral), contributed to its design. Controlled at times by the hussites, it is now a Roman Catholic church.

Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

The baroque style St. Nicholas Church (Kostel svatého Mikuláše) is newer than the Tyn Church, having been completed in 1735. It is now Hussite church.

Church of St. Nicholas

The ground floor of the 14th century Old town hall now hosts the tourist information office. Past the tourists information desk there is the lift (and the walkway) that takes to the top of the ~70m. tall tower, from where one can admire a great view of the buildings of old town square, as well as most of the roofs of old town. From outside the tourist office, the most striking feature of the Old Town Hall is the Prague astronomical clock (Pražský orloj), the ‘orloj’. The famous Prague orloj was made in 1410 by Mikuláš of Kadaň.

Prague Astronomical Clock, the Orloj

Kinský Palace (Palác Kinských) is an important historical location: From the balcony of this building, on the 25th of February 1948 communist leader Klement Gottwald announced the resignation of many opposition leaders, marking the beginning of a communist era that would last 42 years.

Kinsky Palace (Palác Kinských)

On the right of Kinský Palace, the 13th century House of the Stone Bell (Dům U Kamenného zvonu), named after the bell that adorns one of it’s corners, is used exhibitions and concerts.

House of the Stone Bell

The huge statue in the center of the square, the Jan Hus memorial, is more modern. It was created between 1901 and 1915 by Czech sculptor Ladislav Šaloun.

Jan Hus Memorial statue

1 Comment

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    Pingback by Prague Gallery Blog » Celetna — April 6, 2009 @ 8:35 am

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