The Old Town Square in Prague is probably the most famous square in Prague as well as the most beautiful square in Prague that you must visit! The name of the square has changed several times throughout its history, as has the architectural style and character of the place, but the most important sights on old town square have survived and are available for everyone to see. In this blog post we will briefly cover the history of Old Town Square and then point out the most important landmarks to visit and offer tips an which sites to visit once you’re done exploring.
This square in the Old city of Prague has been carrying its current name only since the year 1895. Before that, from as far back as the 13th century it was called the Old market. Then, from the 14th till 18th century it has changed name many times, mainly because of the influence of the German language. It covers an area of 9,000 m2 and it is the center of the Old Town in Prague.
Important buildings and monuments on Old Town Square
The square is surrounded by historical buildings, which belong to the long list of important historical and architectural sights to visit in Prague. The main sights and buildings on Old Town Square are:
- The Old Town Hall with the Astronomical Clock
- The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn
- The Stone Bell House
- The Baroque Church of St. Nicolas
- The Rococo Kinský Palace
And many others. In the middle of the square there is the monument of Jan Hus – a priest and church reformer who is an important figure of the Czech history. In front of the town hall you can see 27 crosses displayed in the stoned ground, they serve as a memorial to the 27 Czech masters that were executed in 1621.
Arguably the most important building is the Old Town Hall. In addition to a unique astronomical clock, which puts on a very pretty mechanical installation on display revealing the 12 apostles every hour (from 9 AM to 11 PM), you can also climb to the 41-meter high gallery of the tower, which we can certainly recommend. This is one of the most beautiful views of the Old Town and Lesser Town. It is open all year round every day from 9am to 10pm except for Monday when the opening hours begin at 11 AM. Admission is 250 CZK, for children 150 CZK, family admission costs 500 CZK. At the same time, we recommend seeing the interior of the town hall.
Where to continue on your journey from Old Town Square?
From the Old Town Square you can go directly to other important landmarks in Prague. There are seven streets on Old Town Square that you can continue on your way through Prague. East-facing Celetná street is part of the Royal Route in Prague and will lead you to the Powder Tower and to Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square) where the Municipal House of Prague is located.. The Týnská street passes along the left side of the Týnský Palace, it will lead you to the court of the Týnský palace also called Ungelt and then further along to Náměstí republiky. The Dlouhá třída street will take you in a similar direction to Josefov and the Old Jewish Quarter. There is also a large number of bars and pubs on the Dlouha třída street, so if you’re looking for a place to have a couple of drinks in the evening, be sure to come here!
The Pařížská street facing north is famous for its luxury shops and if you continue walking straight across the bridge, you can walk all the way to the Letná hilltop which has amazing views of Prague and great beer gardens. The Franz Kafka Square and the adjoining Kaprova Street to the west will lead you to the Vltava River where you can continue to visit the Lesser town on the other side of the river. The small square and the adjoining Karlove Street lead to the Charles Bridge. The Železná street facing south will take you all the way to Wenceslas Square.
If you’d like to get a good spot to watch the mechanical installation, we recommend to arrive at least 15 minutes before the hour as the place could get crowded very quickly. To enjoy the the whole of Old Town Square in Prague with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, we recommend waking up early and arriving before 8 AM, when there are hardly any tourists around.
Because the Old Town Square is a busy tourist spot, we recommend to skip most of the local restaurants as they have disproportionately high prices. A very good restaurant with reasonable prices and great local food that we recommend to visit is the Mincovna restaurant. Also avoid the exchange bureaus as they are known for giving very bad exchange rates.
Accommodation near Old Town Square
Most our Aparthotel residences are located within walking distance of the Old Town Square. If you’re looking for vacation apartments to rent, be sure to visit the Prague Residences site.
How to reach the Old Town Square
The Prague astronomical clock is located on the Old Town Hall in Old Town Square so you would be killing two birds with one stone if you were to visit the Old Town Square.
By tram: tram stop Staromestska; trams 2, 17, 18
By metro: Staromestska station (line A), or Mustek station (line A)