© Libor Sváček, archiv CzechTourism

On the biggest square in the Czech Republic

Prague

Length 4 km Duration 1 Day

The itinerary involves walking in combination with travelling on public transport.

Take a walk through the part of the historical centre of Prague, which owes its existence to the astute ruler Charles IV.

The first stop on the journey following in Charles IV’s footsteps in Prague is Vyšehrad Castle and the city walls that originally enclosed the entire New Town and have been preserved in very good condition at this spot, though in their later Baroque form. By the way, the corner of Na Slupi Street and the edge of Nusle Valley is the only place where the Gothic walls from the 14th century have been preserved, a fact highlighted by a commemorative plaque. At Vyšehrad, why not take a guided tour through history and listen to the legends associated with this place. In the northernmost part of the fortification, you simply cannot miss the amphitheatre, which hosts numerous theatre performances in the summer.

From Vyšehrad, descend to the bank of the River Vltava. The next stop is another significant site of New Town, the Na Slovanech monastery, also known as Emauzy. To build it, Charles IV had to get permission from the Pope to found a monastery of the Order of St. Benedict with liturgy in the Old Church Slavonic language. Next is Charles Square, one of the largest squares in Europe. Before being named after the Emperor, it had had several other names, the most famous being “Cattle Market”, used in the 15th century when big markets selling beef cattle were held here. Many years ago there used to be several significant buildings here that unfortunately have not been preserved such as the Chapel of Corpus Christi, where the Crown Jewels and relics of saints were exhibited each year.

From Charles Square, move on to a much smaller square bearing the name Jungmann. Here pay a visit to the Church of the Virgin Mary of Snow. Even after the lowering of the presbytery by one meter, its vault is higher than that of St. Vitus Cathedral and is the tallest in Prague. Just a few steps from Jungmann Square is Wenceslas Square, one of the most significant places in modern Czech history. It was originally called the Horse Market and was an important centre of trade and crafts. It acquired its present name only in the 19th century. It is the second largest square in the Czech Republic, with the imposing equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas, the main patron saint of the Czech lands. It was created by the most prominent Czech sculptor of the late 19th and early 20th century – Josef Václav Myslbek.

From this place, which is so important to the Czech nation, move on to the ancient Charles’ Dormitory, also called Carolinum. It is a national cultural heritage site and a symbol of Charles University founded in 1348, one of the oldest universities in Europe. From here we recommend taking a short walk to Old Town Square, where you can climb up the Old Town Hall Tower and reward yourself for the effort by enjoying a beautiful view of the entire historical centre. In the square there is also the House of the Stone Bell, a former palace, where Charles IV may well have been born.

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