Prague Old Town – Prague One District

Prague Old Town District – Prague One

People researching a trip to Prague will soon realise that Prague 1 is the centre of the city and the Prague Old Town is the centre of Prague 1. It’s the smallest geographical area of the city and it should be possible to walk between any two points in the Prague Old Town in less than 8 minutes.

Sunset,  Old Town Hall and Tyn Church, Old Town Square, Prague
Sunset, Old Town Hall and Tyn Church, Old Town Square, Prague

Accommodation In The Prague Old Town

There are several high quality hotels within a stones throw of the Old Town Hall including the Old Town Square Hotel, Grand Hotel Praha, Hotel U Prince, Hotel Rott and Hotel Ventana to name the closest. Check my Favourite Hotels in the Old Town plus get some inside tips.

Many of these buildings in the vicinity of the Old Town Square have basements and foundations dating back to the 11th Century but when describing the Prague Old Town then certainly the word Gothic will come to mind. Either highly visible Gothic like the House at the Stone Bell, The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn or the Old Town Hall. Or there’s the hidden Gothic i.e. most of the ornate building facades adjacent to the Old Town Hall and extending through Celetna to the Powder Gate, are all hiding Gothic structures.

Tourism and Attractions

As mentioned above, if you stood in the centre of the Old Town Square you would see the major attractions Old Town Hall (which includes the Astronomical Clock and Viewing Gallery), Saint Nicholas Church, Kinsky Palace (National Gallery), Church of Our Lady Before Tyn and the House at the Stone Bell. Within 5 minutes walk you find the Jewish Quarter including Pinkas Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, Old Ceremonial Hall, Old/New Synagogue, Jewish Town Hall, Spanish Synagogue, The Klementinum (National Baroque Library), The Karolinum (Charles University), Saint Agnes Convent (National Gallery), Powder Gate, Cubism Museum, The Rudolfinum, Charles Bridge, Bethlehem Chapel, Estates Theatre and many other smaller attractions as well.

Italian Renaissance in the Tyn Courtyard, Prague Old Town
Italian Renaissance in the Tyn Courtyard, Prague Old Town

What else is special?

Prague Old Town also has the largest pedestrianised areas in the city or at least where pedestrians have priority. That means a lot of cafes, restaurants and bars within easy reach. The Old Town also has two of my favourite Jazz Clubs in the city, Agharta and Ungelt which are both within 50 metres of the Old Town Square. The Old Town Square itself will be in constant use for Christmas and Easter markets, sports events, cultural events, protests and spontaneous celebrations so there’s always something going on.

You might hear of the Royal Road or Royal Route. This is not entirely contained within Prague Old Town but stretches from the Powder Gate through the Old Town Square, via Karlova to the Charles Bridge and this route contains the bulk of the shops and businesses. There’s also the riverside. From behind Saint Agnes Convent you can walk along the riverside of the Prague Old Town as far as the Rudolfinum. Although not famous you’ll enjoy getting lost in the narrow lanes and passages.

If you want a more structured view of the area then check the Old Town and Jewish Quarter walking tour. If you are looking for an understanding of why the area looks like it does then check the Prague Architecture tour.

a narrow cobble stone passageway with some wall grafitti
The Old Town has many narrow streets and passages
a view of a tree and a church framed by an arch
Havelska looking towards ST Gallus Church
a baroque style church and neo-baroque buildings in background and an ash tree decorated with easter eggs and ribbons
The Old Town Square during the Easter market
a woman making bubbles from string between two sticks
Street performer on the Old Town Square

Transport and Access

As mentioned above, the square area is largely pedestrianised so taxis will pick-up and drop-off at defined places but walk 400 metres and you’ll find Staromestska (metro/tram), Republic Square (metro/tram) and Mustek (metro). Here’s a guide on How to Use a Touch-Screen Ticket Machine.

Something Related or a Few Minutes Away

Districts – Lesser Town

Districts – Wenceslas Square

Districts – Hradčany (Castle)

Districts – Josefov (Jewish)

Districts – Republic Square

Districts – Karlin

Some Random Things to Do and See in Prague