Imagine yourself standing on a picturesque square in the centre of Prague. You are surrounded by more than a thousand years of history and the Old Town Square was here before many nation states were even formed. And it’s not dull either as the square is often used for sporting events (often the finish of the Prague Marathon), political events plus festivals and the Easter and Christmas markets to name but a few.
The Statue of Jan Hus Silhouetted Against a Government Building on the Old Town Square in Prague
PRAGUE OLD TOWN SQUARE – WHAT’S TO SEE?
Usually a square has a dominant feature but in the case of the Old Town Square there are several depending on how you enter the square.
The 13th Century Old Town Hall partly destroyed in world war two but the oldest parts are still here and as well as a great view from the gallery it hosts art and photo exhibitions. It’s also the location of the Orloj (Astronomical Clock and Calendarium) and scene of many weddings as you’ll see by the confetti and petals outside. Part of it’s grisly history includes the 1621 Memorial to the 27 Noblemen/Insurgents connected with the Protestant side of the thirty years war.
The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn is another dominant feature on the Old Town Square. Formerly a Czech Hussite (Protestant) church it changed sides during the Thirty Years War following the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 and has been a Catholic Chram (Church of significance) ever since. It’s one of the largest Gothic structures in Europe and stunningly beautiful inside.
Church of Our Lady Before Tyn in early evening sunshine
In the above picture you can see the House at the Stone Bell tucked in the corner. It’s at least as old as the church and maybe even a little older. You can go into this building because it’s part of the City Gallery.
House at the Stone Bell
The third dominant feature on the Old Town Square is the Church of ST Nicholas which is the tallest Baroque style structure on the Old Town Square dating back to the 1730’s. Still a regular church that does weddings and services it was closed for 90 years in the past and has been three different religious denominations in it’s time.
St Nicholas Church in the summer
The Baroque-style Kinsky Palace dominates the north-east side of the square. A pale orange coloured building, formerly one of the seats of the Kinsky family, scene of famous speeches, the birthplace of a Noble Prize winner, the high school of Franz Kafka and many other stories. Note that you can only visit here if it’s to see one of the temporary exhibitions held by the Prague National Gallery.
The Kinsky Palace on the Old Town Square
The Jan Hus Monument dominates the inside of the square. A huge grey/green monument dedicated to the Catholic priest Jan Hus and unveiled on the 500th anniversary of his death. The text has significance.
The Jan Hus Monument
There are other buildings on the Old Town Square but the latest addition is the Marian Column. Originally built in the 17th Century and rebuilt in 2020. So now you can see how it works with the Prague Meridian.