Posted by: LM | April 2, 2008

Old Town Square

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One of the first things I stumbled upon in my research about Prague was their Old Town Square. What I didn’t know at the time is that most cities in Europe have sections which they call their “Old Town”. This was great for a history buff like me because seeing buildings older than my entire home country was a thrill that never got old. After 10 months of living in Prague I could still walk into Old Town Square and feel transported into another time.

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There are several important things within Prague’s Old Town Square. Most famous is probably the Astronomical Clock (also called the Orloj). It’s a Medieval Clock that was built around 1410 and erected on the western wall of the old City Hall. When you look at pictures of the thing it looks enormous. In actuality, it’s not very big. That was the first thing I noticed about it. And truthfully, it’s not very impressive by today’s highly technological standards. Still, when I would stand in front of it when it struck (as it does every hour) and thought about the fact that this thing was almost 600 years old, I was amazed. People gather around, without fail, every hour and wait to see “the show”. I can’t really describe what it’s like when it strikes without making it sound ridiculous (and, if I’m honest, the clock was a running joke between my friends and I while we were over there. It’s extremely anti-climactic.), but if you’re in Prague… go see it. It’s a must-see, truly, and actually kind of cool when taken in context. But don’t worry about seeing it more than once. 🙂

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Right across the way from the clock is an old Cathedral. It’s called Our Lady Before Tyn (or just Tyn). To me, seeing this old cathedral was one of the highlights of the square. It was built in the 14th century and though it’s been surrounded by modern buildings, shops, museums, and tourists in the 700 years since then, nothing can take away from it’s ancient and amazing charm. You don’t even need to go inside to enjoy it (though that is an option). It’s architecutre is enough to impress anyone. It’s only rivaled, in my opinion, by the larger and more famous St. Vitus’ Cathedral that’s attached to Prague Castle (we’ll go there later).

With all these awesome old monuments being mentioned, I’ve yet to address my absolute favorite part of Old Town Square: the festivals. One of the many things I adore about the Czech people is that they use any excuse to have a party. Every little event constitutes canceling work and having a holiday. It’s truly an admirable trait of theirs. Whenever one of these holidays comes along (most notably Christmas and Easter) they decorate the square with all kinds of things and set up a fantastic outdoor festival.

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People flood into the square to see the massive Christmas tree that stands there starting in mid-November. There’s live music performed either by a choir or small folk group every night. There are small little shops in the booths that are all around and also food to buy. All of this is done entirely in a medieval theme. It’s great!

Even when there aren’t any festivals going on and tourist season is on standby, Prague’s best foot is still put forward in Old Town Square. There are tons of things to see and do and great little shops surrounding the history contained there. It’s definitely one of the great highlights of a great city.

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Responses

  1. The architecture looks gorgeous!!!

  2. way to not have me in ANY of those pictures. thanks a lot, “team” fun. more like Kristin is Fun Alone. man.

  3. I loved looking at your blog!!!!! You are an amazing writer!!! I hope you are having a great year. I came to the easter play to see you. You did an amazing job I could listen to you sing for hours.
    Sum

  4. One of my girls in the dorm is czecheslavokian or how ever you spell it. She looked at your sight with me. Oh by the way I live in Oregon now and I am an Academy Dean. I love it!! I have so much fun, but I am moving back to Loma Linda in June.
    Love ya Lots
    Summer

  5. i really enjoyed taking a peek at this blog. really neat pictures seeing personal taken pictures out side the U.S. which I have never been and you are very lucky to experience this in prague.
    sincerly,
    Drew Miller
    (Miss Randals friend)

  6. Hey this is a really neat page. My family is from Czech and I really enjoyed this page.

  7. my family is from the czech republic


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