Old Town

History of Old Town

History of Old Town

If we came to Prague a thousand years ago, we would find a vast market in places where today is the Old Town Square. It was located right on the way from Prague Castle to Vysehrad. People started to build the first houses on the roads connecting these two fortresses. By the 13th century, the settlement looked like a real city. The market expanded. The areas around it were built up more or less chaotically.

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Old Town Square

Old Town Square

Once upon a time, on the site of the Old Town Square, there was a noisy market. Without any plan, a settlement began to be built around it. And later, the settlement turned into the Old Town. Old Town Square has always been the center of the town’s public life. The Town Hall was here. General meetings were held here. Town criers read the decrees of the king here. Convicts were executed here.

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Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

The predecessor of Charles Bridge — Judith's Bridge from the 12th century — was destroyed by a flood in 1342. King Charles IV invited Petr Parler — the same architect who built the cathedral at Prague Castle — to manage the construction of a new bridge. He also ordered the astrologist to find the best possible moment for construction to begin.

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Powder Gate

Powder Gate

Centuries ago, Mountain Gate from the 13th century stood on the site of Powder Gate. In 1348 the New Town was built around the Old Town. And there was no need to take good care of Old Town walls and gates as any conquering army would have to fight with the New Town first.

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Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock

Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock

King John of Bohemia allowed the Old Town to build a town hall in 1338. The house of Wolflin of Kamen from the end of the 13th century became a core of the new complex. It is the nearest house to the clock tower. Look at its beautifully decorated gothic portal! Soon the construction of the clock tower began. The city grew, and the councils needed more premises. They bought neighboring houses and built new ones.

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