Although Prague is a large city and even people who live there all their lives do not know many of its parts, the essential can be seen in just one day. The oldest parts of Prague, the historical heart of the town, are actually two quarters adjoninig the Vltava river from the opposite banks – Malá Strana (Little Quarter), and Staré město (The Old Town of Prague).
Different sources provide similar estimations on the population of the medieval Prague: around the year 1300, Prague had 8-10 thousand inhabitants, within the times of the developing efforts of Charles IV, this number rose to 40 thousand, but during the Hussite wars – and due to them – the number of inhabitants of Prague dropped to approx. 30 thousand, and this number did not change till the end of Middle Ages. Our walk through the essential Prague sights copies this medieval settlement, which was within an easy walking reach for medieval inhabitants – and for us, too.
The most adavantegous strategic point to start such a day walk through Prague are the premises of the Strahov monastery at the top of the hill over Prague Castle. From here you can observe and see the oldest historical centre of Prague, and get an idea of its size – and of your day walking task. Strahov is a word meaning in Czech Guarding place, this convent had its role in guarding the access way to the Prague Castle, the seat of Czech princes and kings, from the strategical western direction. Despite of seeing many changes within the nine centuries of its existence, its main disposition and setting remained preserved till our days.
The way from Strahov convent takes a short detour through Nový svět (The New World), a quarter of tiny picturesque houses, to Hradčanské square, just in front of the main gate to the Prague Castle complex. It should be the largest castle area in Central Europe, and is a complex composed of several churches and chapels, royal, noble and religious palaces, and many other buildings. Of course we will not miss the visit of The Cathedral of Saint Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert, which is a masterpiece of architects through the centuries.
Getting out of the Prague Castle, you can use two stairways – either the old or new castle stairway. They will take you to Malá Strana – Little Quarter – a place of noble palaces and gardens. No visitor should omit the Wallenstein palace and gardens. But a walk through the streets of Malá Strana will unveil many other palaces, architectural and historical beauties and interesting places. And all ways will take you to the Charles bridge, the connecting point between the two city parts since the mid- 14th century. The bridge itself would deserve a few hours of your attention, but let us pass it in a faster pace to get to the Old Town of Prague.
It used to be a commercial and – till the foundation of the New Town of Prague – also a craft and production part of the medieval town. A fact reflected in its image till nowadays: the old townsfolk houses are squeezed to each other in narrow and oblique streets, only here and there replaced by some more spacious sites – e.g. Clam-Gallas palace, or the Jesuit College Klementinum. The Jewish town is also a remarkable part of the Old Town.
Our walk ends up on the Old Town Square, which is the central part of the city since many centuries. The Town Hall, astronomical clock, St. Nicholas church and other famous sites that are notoriously famous do not need to be mentioned.
The best accommodation in Prague
Situated in the very centre of the Old Town of Prague, literally a few steps from the Old Town Square, Hotel Rott provides comfortable accommodation in rooms styled in the late 19th century elegance with all the modern amenities you can think of. With a view to the Little Square, streets of the Old Town or even over to the Prague Castle, you will feel and enjoy the legendary Prague atmosphere.
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The author of the article and the manager of the hotel in one has many years experience with writing texts, she has been working as a free-lance journalist contributing to different Czech daily newspapers and other periodics of all kinds. She has spent a part of her career working as a city guide, and her articles are therefore providing a highly informed insight of a person, who was not only born in Prague, but who has crisscrossed the city streets countless times, has read hundreds pages of literature about Prague, and who constantly strives to contribute to the good reputation of the city from her todays workplace. Hopefully with a success…