Prague Old Town District – Prague 1
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 so check my Favourite Hotels in the Old Town.
Many 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.
What is there to see in Prague Old Town?
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 (Pinkas Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, Ceremonial Hall, Old/New Synagogue, High 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.
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.
Any Other Famous Bits?
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.