About Prague Old Town Square
Prague’s Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti) was established in the twelfth century and originally served as the city’s main marketplace.
Prague Old Town Square history
One of Europe’s most beautiful and busiest urban spaces, the Old Town Square has been Prague’s principal public square since the 10th century, and was its main marketplace until the beginning of the 20th century.
Over the centuries, the Old Town Square has been populated with buildings from each era, including Baroque sites such as St Nicholas’s Church, the Gothic Týn Cathedral and Romanesque architecture. During the 11th century, the city spread from the Castle to the right bank of the Vltava River. The first mentions of a market in the centre of the square date back to the end of the 11th century.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, Prague continued to grow, and in the 14th century, it was transformed into an imperial capital. The Town Hall was established during the second half of the 15th century.
One of the main sites at the Old Town Square is the statue of Jan Hus, the fifteenth century Czech Catholic priest and religious reformer who was burnt at the stake on charges of heresy. The statue was erected on 6 July 1915 on the five hundredth anniversary of his death and is known as the Jan Hus Memorial.
The brass strip on the ground to the south of the Hus statue is the so-called Prague Meridian. Until 1915 the square’s main feature was a 17th-century plague column, the shadow of which used to cross the meridian at high noon.
Prague Old Town Square today
Today Old Town Square is where all tourists converge, some coming from Charles Bridge, some from the start of the Royal Way. It is a lively space and features historic buildings of note. There are busking jazz bands and al fresco concerts, political meetings and fashion shows, as well as Christmas and Easter markets.
The Old Town Square is also where visitors can find the Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock. The Old Town Hall is one of the most impressive buildings in Prague and the clock is located on its southern wall.
Getting to Prague Old Town Square
Prague Old Town Square marks the beginning of the historic district of Prague. The nearest metro and tram station is Staroměstská.