Old Town

Old Town (Czech: Staré Město) is one of the five original historical parts of Prague. It is located on the right (eastern) side of Vltava and in the great curve of the river. It was fenced by a semi-circular moat and wall on the south and east side, connected to Vltava at both of its ends. The moat is now covered up by the streets and boulevards Národni, Na Příkopě and Revoluční, which form the boundary between the Old Town and the New Town. The Old Town completely surrounds the tiny district of Josefov – former Jewish Quarter. The Old Town is now part of Praha 1.

Main Square of this district is the Old Town Square which is notable for the old town hall with the Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady before Týn. Other notable places in the Old Town include Carolinum, Clementinum, Church of Saint Giles, Bethlehem Chapel, Church of Saint Anne, Church of Saint James the Greater, Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia, Church of Saint Castulus, Church of Saint Gall, Powder Gate, Municipal House, Old Town Bridge Tower and many others.

History

From its early existence, approximately around 9th century Staré Město was laid out of settlements which appeared from the spacious marketplace of the bank of Vltava. The records dated back to 1100 indicate that every Saturday there was a market on the marketplace, and the large military gatherings also took place there. Thanks to the trade the nearby area merchants became rich, and when the King Vaclav I gave them the privileges of town, the town of Mesto Prazske (the town of Prague) was formed. According to ancient records, the city had around 13 gates, and a huge water-fence, providing strong defenses.

After the city was expanded in the 14th century by Charles IV with the founding of the New Town, the moat and wall were dismantled soon after.

Learn about the New Town of Prague.

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