Until the twentieth century, Old Town Square was the most important square in Prague. It sat at the intersection of merchant routes, so it was an important market place that sold goods from faraway cities. As Prague grew, many different styles of architecture were used in buildings around the square. Tourists come to view these diverse buildings and immerse themselves in the history of Prague.
There are three things not to be missed during a visit to Old Town Square and one of them is the Jan Hus monument. The statue was placed in the middle of the square to commemorate his death in 1415. He was a leader of the reformation movement who was labeled a heretic and burned to death. Following his death, the reform movement grew which led to the Hussite Wars.
The Old Town City Hall was built in the 14th century but parts of it were destroyed and rebuilt. Because of this it looks like two buildings instead of one. The most impressive feature of this building is the tower that is 69.5 metres high. It is open to the public and visitors will have a panoramic view from the top.
The Town Hall Tower houses the Prague astronomical clock which is a favorite tourist attraction. It was built in 1410 and it chimes on the hour, exactly. It has the 12 Apostles that appear hourly between nine in the morning and nine in the evening. It also shows celestial events, including the path of the sun, moon phases, and the equinoxes. It also has a calendar and shows the zodiac.
Two beautiful and grand churches in Old Town Square should not be missed. One is a Baroque church built in 1735 named the Church of St. Nicholas. Paintings illustrate the lives of St. Nicholas and St. Benedict and the rest of the church is decorated with frescoes and statues.
The Church of Our Lady before Tyn is an example of Gothic architecture and construction began in 1365 and was not completed until the 1400s. The 80 metre tall steeples reach high over the square and each has four spires. One famous person entombed in this church is Tycho Brahe, an astronomer who worked for Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II.
Wenceslas Square is the other major square in Prague and is very close to Old Town Square. Here you will find many places to stay, to dine, and to shop. Wenceslas Square also offers different types of entertainment and nightlife. There are also bus lines and trams to take you anywhere in the city.
Charles Bridge is also close to Old Town Square and is 520 metres long. It spans the Vltava River and has 30 statues of saints and patron saints along it. The original statues were replaced in the 20th century and can be seen in the National Museum.