Prague's Old Town Square
A visit to the Old Town Square, in the heart of Prague, allows visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and get a sense for what life was like here centuries ago. One of two main squares in Prague, the Old Town Square comes alive each day with the sights, sounds and aromas of the old world.
Guests stroll along 700 year old cobblestone as they peruse the small wooden huts set up by local merchants. These artisans sell handmade items such as woolen scarves and mittens, scented candles, wooden marionettes, crystals and glass jewelry, fresh baked goods and wines. Many offer demonstrations right in the square, enabling tourists to see how the items they have purchased are truly crafted.
Another of the charming features of the Old Town Square are the street musicians and dancers, most wearing traditional Czech clothing, that select open areas and put on
impromptu performances to the delight of many.
The Old Town Square features some of the most famous attractions in Prague, such as the Church of St. Nicholas, the Church of Our Lady Before the Tyn and the Old Town Hall at which the Astronomical Clock is featured. Hundreds of visitors gather on the streets outside the Old Town Hall for a chance to see the 15th Century Astronomical Clock work its magic. The clock sounds every hour on the hour, and features intricate replicas of the 12 apostles in a procession led by the figure of Christ. It also features a skeleton sounding its death toll and 12 medallions representing the 12 signs of the zodiac. The tower onto which the clock was added, was erected in 1338.
After witnessing the clock’s historic display, one might be tempted to walk down the cobblestone street and take a cozy horse-drawn carriage ride about the Old Town Square and surrounding streets. Carriages line up outside of the Old Town Hall and treat paying customers to an historic trip through the magnificent streets. The carriages can easily seat a family of four and they provide ample opportunities to take photographs, or merely relax and drink in the memories.
If you happen to be fortunate enough to be in Prague on a day when the Church of St. Nicholas is having a concert, you’ll be in for a real treat. The church was completed in 1735 and serves as a venue for many classical music concerts.
Afterward, you might can satisfy your appetite by ducking into one of many restaurants that line the area. A friendly, smiling maitre d’ will standing by to invite you to peruse the menu and offer you a comfortable seat in their sidewalk cafe or to dine inside of their more cozy establishment. Most of the venues are comparably priced and offer menus in at least 6 languages to make ordering for foreigners an easy and comfortable experience. The wait staff speaks flawless English and usually at least 1 to 2 additional languages!
If you are interested in experiencing a hip, modern venue in the heart of the Old Town, you can do it by visiting BED. This restaurant has a distinct club vibe and is illuminated by ever changing lighting in subtle shades of pink, green and blue. Guests are seated shoeless on large beds covered in white linen and treated to excellent cocktails and entrees while modern music pulses around them. This is more of an adults only venue, though we did take children in for dinner and the staff was most accommodating and friendly.
Returning to the Old Town Square after dinner, most of the vendors are still open selling their wares in the cozy little huts. You may find a luscious dessert or after dinner wine to enjoy while beginning the stroll back to your hotel.
Before you leave the square, be sure to look back and catch a glimpse of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn. Its spires cut into the night sky and the lighting surrounding them is quite magical.
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