The 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.

The photo of the Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, Old Town Square, Prague

That is the reason why it is quite easy to get lost in this part of Prague. Almost all streets are crooked. Some parts of the market acquired a particular specialization. Today we can see it reading the names of some streets and squares: Rybná (Fish street), Masná (Meat street), Uhelný trh (Coal market).

At the same time, the city walls were built around the settlement. It was not only a protection but also a privilege. The king himself had to permit the construction. The walls of the Old Town stretched from the Vltava river at the convent of Saint Agnes, approximately along the line of modern streets Revoluční, Na Příkopě, 28.říina, Národní, where they again ended at the Vltava bank.

There were seven main gates and five additional ones. Today the only evidence of fortifications is the Powder Gate and the names of some streets: Na Příkopě - On the Moat, Můstek - Bridge. Ten meters wide and eight meters deep moat surrounded the Town. When the water level in the river rose, the moat flooded, turning the Old Town into an island.

The photo of the Powder Tower, Prague

In the XIV century, the city received another privilege. King John the Blind Luxembourg allowed the construction of the town hall. And today we can see that very hall and with the famous astronomical clock on it.

The photo of the Church of Saint Nicholas, Old Town Square

The reforms of Joseph II Habsburg brought significant changes to the Old Town in the second half of the 18th century. At that time, many convents and churches were closed - Church of St.Nicholas in the Old Town Square, to name one.

Even greater changes occurred at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. About 600 buildings were destroyed during the massive rebuilding of the city, which took place at that time. This project significantly the Jewish quarter and the eastern part of the town from the Old Town square to Republic square. New houses mainly in Art Noveau style were built on the site of destroyed ones.

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