The Lesser Town (Malá Strana in Czech, which literally means Lesser Side) is one of main historical parts of Prague. Together with Hradčany, it is located on the left (western) bank of the Vltava river. It originated as several villages just below the Prague Castle. It is connected to the Old Town by the famous Charles Bridge. It housed a large number of noble palaces while the right-bank towns were comparatively more bourgeois.
Malá Strana, originally called Menší Město Pražské (Lesser Town of Prague), was created by king Přemysl Otakar II in 1257 by merging a number of settlements beneath the Prague Castle into a single administrative unit. This new town became a Royal town, and immediately got many privileges. The residents were mostly German craftsmen, invited by the King. The center of the town was the market place, which later evolved into Malostranské náměstí.
Like in many other parts of Prague, we can see traces of Emperor Charles IV, such as the Hunger Wall. In 1541 Malá Strana was heavily damaged by fire. Therefore most of the architecture there is today in the Baroque Style and many palaces of noble families were built on sites of residential houses.
Important landmarks of the Lesser Town Include the Lesser Town Square with monumental Church of Saint Nicholas, Church of Saint Thomas, Church of Our Lady under Chain, Church of Our Lady Victorious with the famous statue of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, Lesser Town Bridge Tower, Kampa, Wallenstein Palace and more.
Learn about the Hradčany district next.