OLD TOWN SQUARE (NÁMĚSTÍ NÁMĚSTÍ)
Petit Futé's opinion on OLD TOWN SQUARE (NÁMĚSTÍ NÁMĚSTÍ)
This square is a real giant stage, supporting major historical events. Today it is the place of a permanent animation, a great meeting place for tourists, but also for students from neighbouring universities. The background consists of a juxtaposition of palaces, public buildings, churches, houses, which superimpose styles, colours and periods in great harmony. These houses bear pretty names: the Stone Lamb (No. 17, Renaissance portal), the Golden Unicorn (No. 20, Gothic portal), the White Unicorn (No. 15, Venetian gables), the Stone Bell (No. 13, Gothic) or the Goltz-Kinsky Palace, a Rococo palace where Kafka's father once owned a shop. If you approach the square from Melantrichova Street, you will find yourself facing the Town Hall, a complex of several houses built over the centuries.
Many notable facades follow one another on the south side. At number 16, the Storch house, named after its owner, a famous Prague publisher, presents paintings signed by Mikolas Ales. We will also focus on the Renaissance style of the facade of the U Kamenneho Beranka house (Au petit lamneau de pierre) at number 18. At number 24, the house U Zlatého Jednorozce (Golden Unicorn) has a baroque facade and a Gothic portal. The composer Bedrich Smetana founded his musical school there in 1848. At number 27, admire the baroque facade, decorated with a Virgin and Child. At the corner of the house U Zlatého Andela (At the golden corner), note the statue of Saint Florian, at the corner of the facade.
The Old Town Square contains some of Prague's most famous monuments: the astronomical clock, the town hall and the church of St. Nicholas. As you walk through it, you will see a long metal strip: it materializes the Prague meridian that allowed you to read the time in the Middle Ages.
Jan Hus Memorial. As for the immense sculpted ensemble, it is the Jan Hus Memorial, a reformer burned in 1415. It was built by Ladislav Šaloun between 1903 and 1915, the year of its inauguration and the 500th anniversary of Hus' death. The whole quickly became a symbol of opposition to Austria and of national awakening. It sits in the middle of the square and is the place where all meetings are held. On the base, it reads "Love others..." in Czech - and, further on, the slogan of the Velvet Revolution "Pravda vítězí" (the truth will win)
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