Old Town Square

Staré Mesto
Prague 1
Old Town Square

The heart of medieval Prague, the Old Town Square has its origins in the twelfth century and has witnessed many of the city's momentous events. It is surrounded by examples of beautiful architecture from various ages with many buildings having been added to over the years; a baroque or Renaissance façade may hide a Gothic or Romanesque cellar below. Free of traffic, it is a natural meeting place and attracts stallholders and entertainers who provide a carnival atmosphere every day.

The Orloj (Astronomical Clock) on the wall of the Old Town Hall dates from the early fifteenth century and chimes on the hour when a procession of wooden apostle statues emerge from a door on one side to enact a medieval morality scene before disappearing behind a door on the opposite side.

As well as the more famous attractions of the Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the square has several other interesting buildings such as the baroque church of St. Nicholas, the rococo Kinsky Palace (housing the National Gallery graphic collection) and the fourteenth-century Stone Bell house. There are also memorials to those who were martyred in the square; most notably Jan Hus, whose death was followed by thirty-five years of the Hussite wars.

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