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Old Town Square

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The Old Town Square in Prague (also known as Staroměstské náměstí) is both the center of the city and the perfect starting point for the various highlights of Prague. It is the oldest and also the most significant square in Prague. The mix of Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque buildings offers visitors an impressive sight and promises a journey through the rich history and culture of Prague.
Jessica DonevBy Jessica Donev
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Tours

Here you find various tours through Prague, which also visit the Old Town Square.
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Prague: Ghosts and Legends of the Old Town Evening Tour
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(3606)
 
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Prague: Old Town, Medieval Underground & Dungeon Tour
4.1starstarstarstarstar empty(5403)
 
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Prague: Old Town and Jewish Quarter Tour
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Prague: Ghosts and Legends Nighttime Guided Walking Tour
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10 tips for visiting the Old Town Square

View of the Old Town Square from the Town Hall | Flickr: Michael Pance CC-BY 2.0
1
The early birdIt's best to come early in the morning if you want to avoid crowds and enjoy the atmosphere in peace before the city comes to life.
Tree cake 'Trdelník' | Flickr: DeepakG CC-BY-SA 2.0
2
The Clock is tickingThe astronomical clock, also known as the Prague Astronomical Clock is a landmark on the Old Town Square. It's best to come on the hour to admire the impressive mechanism with its figures during the hourly performance.
3
Culture in abundanceIn the warm months, concerts and festivals often take place on the square. In the winter, you can find the beautiful Christmas market at the Old Town Square. Check before your visit if cultural events are happening, so you don't miss out.
4
Market bustleAt the market on the Old Town Square, visitors find souvenirs, handicrafts, and local products. Take your time to browse the stands and find extravagant unique items.
5
Explore the areaThe alleyways and cobblestone streets around the Old Town Square offer much to see. Here you also find traditional shops, cozy cafés, and authentic restaurants.
6
Foodie TipBook a table in time for dinner around the Old Town Square. We recommend U Pivrnice or U Provaznice for traditional Czech dishes like Svíčková or Guláš. For those who enjoy cocktails, heading to The Alchemist is your best bet. Absinth can be enjoyed in many bars, the colorful walls and cotton clouds on the ceilings of Green Flamingo almost magically attracted me.
7
Teyn ChurchThe Gothic church with its distinctive towers is an architectural gem. Enter the church to also admire the interior.
8
Enjoy the viewClimb the Tower of the Old Town Hall for a breathtaking view of Prague. From here you can see the Teyn Church as well as St. Nicholas Church. In the distance stretches the majestic Prague Castle, while at the same time the view extends over numerous towers, domes, and roofs of the multifaceted Prague architecture.
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Use an audio guide or book a tour guideGothic, baroque, and Romanesque buildings surround the Old Town Square. To understand the history of each building and monument, you should book a guide.
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Enjoy the sunsetThe Old Town Square is especially magical at sunset and after dark, when it's illuminated.
The Old Town Square from a bird's eye view | Flickr: R Boed CC-BY 2.0

The history of the Old Town Square

The Old Town Square in Prague is a historical marketplace that has witnessed political upheavals, religious conflicts, and cultural changes over the centuries.
Traditional music group at the Old Town Square | Flickr: R Boed CC-BY 2.0

The Old Town Square: 12th to 20th Century

The origins of this historic marketplace date back to the 12th century. Located in the heart of Prague's Old Town, the square was a central trading place, surrounded by markets, shops, and craft businesses. Over the centuries, the Old Town Square experienced numerous political and cultural changes.

The square played a key role during the Hussite Wars in the 15th century when public executions took place here. The famous astronomical clock, the Prague Astronomical Clock, was installed in the 15th century and remains a fascinating masterpiece of engineering to this day.

During the Reformation and the subsequent Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Old Town Square played a significant role in religious conflicts. In the Baroque period, the square received its characteristic appearance with magnificent palaces and churches.
The Old Town Square at Easter and the monument of Jan Hus | Flickr: Guillaume Baviere CC-BY 2.0

The Old Town Square: 20th Century to the Present

In the 20th century, the Old Town Square was the scene of significant political events, including demonstrations during the Velvet Revolution which ultimately led to the democratization of Czechoslovakia.

Today, the Old Town Square is not only a well-known, historical center, but also a vibrant meeting point for locals and tourists. With its impressive architecture, traditional markets, and diverse culinary offerings, the Old Town Square reflects the rich history and vibrant present of Prague.
The house “At the Minute” | Flickr: Jan Helebrant CC-BY 2.0

Remarkable buildings and monuments of the Old Town Square

The buildings and monuments not only give the Old Town Square an impressive silhouette, but also tell the history and culture of Prague with their various architectural styles and historical events.
Astronomical Clock | Flickr: gravitat-OFF CC-BY 2.0

Prague City Hall (Staroměstská radnice)

The Prague City Hall is an imposing Gothic building on the Old Town Square and houses the famous Prague Astronomical Clock. The tower offers a great view of the city.

Teyn Church (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem)

The Teyn Chruch is a Gothic church with distinctive, pointed towers. The interior impresses with its rich furnishings and artworks.

The house “At the Minute” (Dům U Minuty)

To the left of the Old Town Hall is the House 'at the minute'. The facade of this building is characterized by striking Sgraffito decorations from the 17th century. These artistic representations include biblical episodes, motifs from ancient mythology, and scenes from life during the Renaissance.

St. Nicholas Church (Chrám svatého Mikuláše)

This baroque church on the Old Town Square is known for its magnificent interior furnishings and the impressive dome.

Goltz-Kinsky Palace (Palác Goltz-Kinských or Palác Kinských)

The Rococo Palace Golz-Kinsky was designed by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer and built by Anselmo Lurago between 1755 and 1765. In the 19th century, the building served as a German-speaking grammar school attended by Franz Kafka and Max Brod. Today, the palace houses the Prague National Gallery (Národní galerie v Praze), which uses it for art exhibitions. It also encompasses the meticulously restored Kinsky Library as well as the Administration of the National Gallery.

House at the White Unicorn (U Bílého jednorožce)

In the cellar of the house, remnants of the original Romanesque building with Gothic vaults can still be found. In the 19th century, the house hosted the Pharmacy at the White Unicorn, named after the house sign from the 16th century – a lamb with a horn.
In the early 20th century, the property belonged to the couple Berta and Max Fanta. Max Fanta, a pharmacist, invented the Fantashell here. Berta Fanta ran a literary salon on the first floor, which served as a meeting point for well-known Prague intellectuals, including Franz Kafka, Samuel Hugo Bergmann, Franz Werfel and Max Brod. The founder of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and the renowned physicist Albert Einstein, who taught at Prague University from 1911 to 1912, were also guests. A bust of Einstein next to the entrance commemorates his visit today.
Palais Glotz-Kinsky | Flickr: Björn S... CC-BY 2.0

The House at the Stone Bell (Dům U Kamenného zvonu)

This now Gothic house is one of the oldest buildings on the Old Town Square. It was built in the 14th century, Baroque-ized in the 17th century, and returned to its Gothic state in 1961. Today, it hosts a small exhibition about the history of the house and its reconstruction.

Monument for Jan Hus (Pomník mistra Jana Husa)

The bronze monument commemorates Jan Hus, an important reformer who played a significant role during the Hussite Wars.

Marian Column (Marianslázně)

Since June 2020, the Marian Column once again adorns the Old Town Square. It was originally torn down by demonstrators in 1918, as a symbol of defeat following the proclamation of independent Czechoslovakia.

Prague Meridian (Pražský poledník)

The line of the meridian at the coordinates 14°25’17’’ was once used for the determination of noon. Since the 1990s, the meridian has been marked with a brass rail with Latin and Czech inscriptions. Translated, the inscription reads: “The meridian through which Prague time was once aligned.”

Monument to the Executions of 1621 (Pomník popravených z roku 1621)

27 crosses commemorate the executed 27 leaders of the Bohemian Estates' Revolt against the Habsburgs in 1621. The names of the victims are listed on the bronze commemorative plaque on the town hall's wall. The monument was erected in the 1960s to remember the victims of Habsburg King Ferdinand II.

Frequently Asked Questions

What else can I find near the Old Town Square?

To the northwest of the Old Town Square, after the Parizska (Paris Street) with its many high-end shops, is the Jewish Quarter with the Old-New Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, and the Jewish Cemetery.
To the east, if you walk along Celetná Street, you will come to the Powder Tower.
Heading west, stroll through many narrow alleys, past many shops, the Hard Rock Cafe Prague and cafes where you can buy spit cake (Trdelník), past the Klementinum (a Jesuit college), and onwards to the Charles Bridge. Continuing from here will take you to the Prague Castle.
To the southeast, walk up to the Wenceslas Square, where you can catch a glimpse of the impressive National Museum.
Read more.

What other highlights are there in the immediate vicinity of the Old Town Square?

Throughout the entire Old Town of Prague, you will find numerous museums, such as the Czech Beer Museum or the Illusion Art Museum. A highlight of my visit was the toy store Hamleys, where you can not only shop but also play AR games or laser tag. Of course, there are also numerous shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes in the immediate vicinity. Do some research before your visit to find out which of the many highlights of Prague belongs in your travel plan. Read more.

What should I pay attention to?

In places with a high volume of tourist traffic, such as the Old Town Square, visitors must be careful not to become victims of pickpockets. There is an alcohol ban at the Old Town Square. Therefore, the beer purchased at the stands should be consumed there. Food stands often sell overly large portions at high prices, such as Prague ham. It's best to order a smaller portion than you originally wanted, as you will still get more than what you've asked for. Read more.

Which events at the Old Town Square should I not miss?

If you visit Prague during the Christmas season, it's worth visiting the Christmas Market at the Old Town Square. In addition to stands selling food, souvenirs, or handicrafts, you will also find a large, illuminated Christmas tree, a viewing platform, and two stages where dance groups or singers perform.
Around Easter, the Easter Market opens its stands at the Old Town Square. In addition to Prague delicacies, you can buy artfully painted eggs or admire the colorfully decorated Easter tree. A giant rabbit with an Easter egg stands next to the Marian column.
Events take place all year round at and around the Old Town Square. It's best to find out before your trip so you don't miss any highlights.
Read more.

Is the Old Town Square wheelchair accessible?

The Old Town Square in Prague is largely covered with cobblestones and can therefore pose a certain challenge to people with mobility limitations or wheelchair users. Some areas of the square may be difficult to access due to unevenness and historical paving stones. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Old Town Square in Prague is a public space and is always accessible to visitors. Shops, restaurants, cafés, and market stalls have varying opening hours.

tickets

Admission to the Old Town Square is free. Those who want to know more about the square with its buildings and monuments can book a guided tour or an audio tour.

address

Staroměstské nám.
110 00 Josefov
Czech Republic

website

Official site: -1

how to get there

Take the metro line A to the Staroměstská station. The line A and B stop at the Můstek station, which is just a few minutes away from the Old Town Square.
Arriving by car is difficult, as the Old Town of Prague is restricted for private car traffic. It is best to park the car in the Palladium garage or at the Rudolfinum parking lot.
Taxis and Uber are available in Prague. They too can get to the Old Town Square.
If your hotel is in the Old Town of Prague, it's best to walk to the Old Town Square, or take a few stops on the tram or buses. The alleys can be very winding, so take a look at a navigation app or the brown signs.
Jessica Donev
Written byJessica DonevJessica is the definition of Jack of all trades. When she wants to do something, she just does it. That's why Jessica is an event manager, professional dancer, trainer, content creator, speaker / presenter in training and much more. Having traveled the world a lot, she knows what's important when traveling and shares it with you here on TicketLens.
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