The Old Town Square is situated in the historical centre of Prague. It is the oldest square in the city and many important historical buildings are situated there – such as the Old Town City Hall with the famous Astronomical Clock. The Old Town Square is surrounded with houses, that are mostly of medieval origin. Many of them have Romanesque or Gothic cores and mainly Baroque facades. They are adorned with coloured house symbols – little sculptures or paintings, that gave the houses their names.
The Old Town City Hall with the big tower was built in the 14 th century. There is the medieval Astronomical Clock from 1410, with figures of apostles, that show in the windows above every hour.
Houses with Gothic features
The house “At the Golden Angel“ (No.29) is also called “At the Black Angel”. It stands by the former Church of St. Michael. There used to be a Gothic chapel in the 15 th century. A painting of an angel and a sculpture of St. Florian from 1760 can be seen there. The restaurant U Prince (“At the Prince”) is in the house nowadays.
At the corner of the Old Town Square and the Melantrichova street stands the house “At the Ox“ (No.27), an early-medieval house rebuilt in Baroque manner. It is connected by two arches over the Melantrichova street with the neighbouring house No.26, called Stepanovsky house. Originally a Romanesque house from around 1170 – 1200, it was modified several times. The Gothic archway from the 14 th century has a portal from the beginning of the 16 th century.
The house “At the Blue Goose“ (No.25) used to be a tavern in the middle ages. There was a wine house in the 16 th century. The house has a Gothic entrance hall and a gateway.
“At the Unicorn“ (No.20) is the name of the house with a Romanesque core from the 12 th century. It has a Gothic gateway with a valuable vault built by important Gothic architect Matthias Rejsek. The famous composer Bedrich Smetana had a private music school in this house in 1848.
House “At the Stone Table” – where writers used to meet
The house “At the Stone Table“ (No.18) is a place, where the literary salon of Berta Fantova used to be since 1907. The German-speaking writers living in Prague, such as Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel or Egon Erwin Kisch, used to meet there. Albert Einstein held several lectures in this house between 1910 and 1911. There is a restaurant nowadays.
Storch House with beautiful facade
The Storch House (No.16) is also called “At the Stone Virgin Mary”. It has a beautiful facade adorned with figurative paintings, depicting St. Wenceslas (the patron of Bohemia) and the three Magi, designed by Mikolas Ales in the 19 th century.
The Tyn School (No.14) at the corner of the Tynska street has the oldest Gothic archway in Prague. A parish school of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn used to be there between the 14 th and the 19 th century.
The Church of Our Lady before Tyn was built as the main Old Town church in the 14 th century. It was a church of the Protestant Hussites during the Hussite Wars in Bohemia. It has 80 metres high towers and there are tombs of important personalities inside, for example a tomb of the astronomer Tycho de Brahe.
Gothic house “At the Stone Bell”
The early-Gothic house At the Stone Bell (No.13) is one of the most interesting medieval buildings in Prague. It was probably built for the Royal Family in the second half of the 13 th century. Exhibitions of the City Gallery Prague take place there at the present time.
The Kinsky Palace (No.12) is regarded as the most beautiful Rococo building in Prague. Franz Kafka used to attend a German Grammar School in the palace between 1893 and 1901. There are exhibitions of the National Gallery in Prague and also the Kafka Bookshop nowadays.