Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic. Picture: Supplied
Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic. Picture: Supplied

Step back in time to Old Town, Czech Republic

By Mpho Rantao Time of article published Oct 19, 2018

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Ever wanted to travel back in time and explore ancient cities back when they were thriving? 

A lot of countries still have remnants of cities that were populated during the 20th, 19th and earlier centuries - where the industrial revolution took place and inventions were created.

Places like Olde Town in the Czech Republic’s capital of Prague are great examples of preserved history and culture that helps to define the identity of a country like the Czech Republic - allowing visitors and residents to get a glimpse of what went down in the past.

Olde Town in the southern part of Prague is almost similar to a fairytale. It’s small, clustered buildings each have their own story to tell.

There are so many features and landmarks in the Old Town that is surrounded by the New Town but not overshadowed by the modern buildings - it’s like an open museum.

The first major landmark and feature of Old Town that people will encounter when they reach the Old Town Square is the giant astronomical clock that towers over the square.

The Astronomical Clock in old town square, Prague. Picture: Wikipedia

Known as Pražský orloj in Czech, the astronomical clock is a Medieval invention which was made in 1410 by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and professor of mathematics Jan Šindel.

Another big landmark that contributes to the Old Town’s identity is the small Jewish community known as Josefov - a former Jewish ghetto that was considered one of the smallest communities in Prague.

The town came into existence during the 10th century, but its population began to decrease around the 20th century as people moved out and buildings were built over the ghetto.

Most of the quarter was demolished between 1893 and 1913 as part of an initiative to model the city on Paris. Only six synagogues, the old cemetery, the Old Jewish Town Hall and German author Franz Kafka’s birthplace were left.

The memorial site of Franz Kafka's birth place. Picture: Supplied
An interesting landmark that connects the Old Town and New Town of Prague is the Charles Bridge (also known as Karluv Most), which is built over the Vltava river.

Completed in the 15th Century and named after King Charles IV, the Charles Bridge was built to replace the collapsed Judith Bridge after a massive flood.

King Charles IV Bridge in Prague. Picture: Wikipedia

The bridge also connects the Old Town to the Prague Castle. The interesting feature about the bridge is the 30 baroque-style statues and statuaries, that were all erected in 1700 with some having being replaced with replicas due to erosion and damage.

Other interesting landmarks and features in Old Town include the Kinsky Palace, the art museum of the Czech National Gallery,  the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn (which has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century), and a number of statues placed around the Old Town Square


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