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Prague - Hiking tour passing the historic old town

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Prague - Hiking tour passing the historic old town

By public transport we were traveling from the Campsite Triocamp to the city of Prague, first by bus, then we continued by tram until one of the many Moldau bridges in the old town.

Even the approach allowed a continuous view of the Prague Castle and the widely visible St. Vitus Cathedral. We left the tram right at the bridge, so we continued our walk to the Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square with the Týn Church, Ungelt, City Hall and Astronomical Clock on foot, all of the above locations are among the most famous sights of Prague's Old Town. The second medieval castle, Vyšehrad with St. Peter and Paul's Church, is also one of the better known buildings. The old town of Prague is characterized by its old houses, which often go back to Romanesque and Gothic, its numerous churches and narrow streets. On the Lesser Town and in the Hradschin city, on the other hand, Renaissance and Baroque palaces dominate.

In the Lesser Town, on the Kampa Island, there is the famous John Lennon Wall. Not far from the two districts you will find Strahov Monastery. In the old Jewish quarter Josefov several synagogues and the old Jewish cemetery are preserved.

Historical background of Prague city center

The settlement of the territory of Prague dates back to the Paleolithic. Throughout prehistoric and protohistoric times, the Prague Basin was one of the most densely populated and almost continuously inhabited landscapes in Bohemia. Until about 50 BC the Celtic Boiers settled there, then the Germanic Marcomanni for more then 500 years. First Slavic groups entered the area from about the second half of the 6th century. In the 9th century, the Prague Castle was built with the suburbium located below today's Lesser Town and in the 10th century a second castle on the Vyšehrad as the seat of the Přemyslids was erected. In the protection of the two castles on both sides of the Moldau settlements of local craftsmen and German and Jewish merchants were developed.

Early middle ages development of Prague

Around 1230/1234 Wenceslas I had attached the largest of these settlements to the Vltava river and granted the city rights. Prague became the royal residence of the Bohemian rulers. His son, Přemysl Ottokar II, moved part of the Czech population living on the other side of the Vltava River below the castle and in 1257 founded the first new town in Prague, the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). The third city in Prague was built by the royalties before 1320, the dependent Hradschin city (also castle town, Hradčany) immediately west of the castle.

Prague as a seat of Holy Roman Empire

Under Emperor Charles IV and his son Wenceslas IV, Prague flourished as the imperial seat of the Holy Roman Empire in the second half of the 14th century, economically, culturally, politically and in many other areas. Here, in 1348, Charles University was founded as the first university in Central Europe. The construction of the new town of Prague happened in the same year, the agglomeration with well more then 40,000 inhabitants was the fourth largest city north of the Alps and in terms of their area third largest city in Europe. From the year 1419, however, it was severely shaken in the Hussite Wars and partially destroyed.

New Town at Karls Square

New Town, founded in the middle of the 14th century, most houses of the New Town Hall are on Karls Square, many gothic and baroque churches and monasteries, and the largest and busiest square in Prague, Wenceslas Square, which, as a boulevard lined with sophisticated shopping arcades, hardly recalls its medieval origins, in the immediate vicinity you will find the church Maria.

At the end of the 16th century, Emperor Rudolf II restored Prague to his seat of residence. From this time magnificent baroque palaces and churches testify the richness. The second Prague lintel triggered the Thirty Years' War. The Seven Years War left its mark on the city too. In 1784, the four formerly independent cities of Hradčany, Lesser Town (Malá Strana), Old Town (Staré Město) and New Town (Nové město) joined forces to form the common city of Prague.

Architectual Highlights in Prague

Prague is also famous for its numerous Art Nouveau buildings. In Prague, cubism also influenced architecture. Cubist architecture is considered a Czech specialty. A well-known example is the house of the Black Madonna by the architect Josef Gočár. The modern architecture is also represented by the settlement of builders Prague, which is located just outside the district of Dejvice (Prague 6), and a few exceptional buildings such as the Villa Müller by Adolf Loos, Frank Gehry's Dancing House.

Bridges and Towers in Prague

The 13 large Prague Moldavian bridges from different times shape the cityscape. The Prague TV tower towers far above the rooftops of the Žižkov district. Another observation and transmission tower is the lookout tower Petřín, modeled on the Eiffel Tower. The 60 meter high tower was opened in 1891.

There are also many attractions outside the city center such as the White Mountain (Bílá hora) with the renaissance hunting lodge Stern, the nearby Benedictine monastery Břevnov, the castle Ctěnice, the baroque castle Troja with its ceiling paintings and the Prague Zoo. To the west is the Řepora open-air museum, which recreates a 14th-century settlement, lot of more places to see.

Please read as well:

Prague - join the Kingdom of the Railways
Passing green belt Hradschin to the German Embassy

Prague City Tourism

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