Prague (Czech Republic): what to see in the capital


What to see in Prague, itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest in the capital of the Czech Republic, including Charles Bridge, Castle, Old Town and St. Vitus Cathedral.

Tourist information

Capital of central Bohemia and a city characterized by harmonious architecture and precious artistic treasures, Prague is crossed by the Vltava river, whose banks are connected by numerous bridges, including the famous Charles Bridge.

After the fall of the communist regime, from 1990 onwards it developed relentlessly, evolving at all levels and giving strong impetus to tourism which was almost absent before.

Visited annually by over 3 million people, Prague is characterized, from an architectural point of view, by a concentration of different styles, including art nouveau, baroque, cubism, gothic, neoclassical and ultramodern.

What see

Among the main tourist attractions of Prague, Stare Mesto, various places related to Franz Kafka, Malá Strana, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, Lennon Wall, Jewish cemetery and Nove Mesto, district where the Town Hall is located, are worth mentioning.

In the evening it is very nice to stop in the large square in front of the Church of Tyn which, with its soft lights and the particular scenery, instills an irresistible charm in the soul.

To the right of the river is the old town Stare Mesto, full of historic buildings and monuments, including the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria di Týn and the Baroque church of San Nicola.

It was from the twelfth century that this part of the city began to be populated, following Mala Strana and the whole area around the castle.

It housed Italian, German, French and Jewish emigrants.

The Mala Strana district arose from 1257, on the left bank of the Vltava between the hills of Hradcany and Petrin.

Its founder was King Otakar II Premysl, who thus intended to accommodate German settlers.

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At the time of Charles IV there was a huge expansion of the urban fabric, restructuring and completion of churches, fortifications and defense works.

After the fires that occurred in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the neighborhood was rebuilt and enlarged, making it a residential neighborhood.

Noble and wealthy people chose this district as a permanent residence, enriching it with sumptuous palaces and splendid places of worship.

To accentuate the charm of Mala Strana contributed the fact that, along its streets, the path of coronation of the Bohemian rulers took place.

In Mala Strana, a small town, it is possible to admire various Baroque palaces and Hradcany Castle, once the residence of the Bohemian kings.

Next to the Castle is the Cathedral of San Vito, built in the Gothic style, where the tombs of the kings are kept.

From an artistic point of view, the Church of San Giorgio and the Powder Tower also deserve attention.

In the center of the city there is the Jewish Ghetto, a district that contains many interesting testimonies, including the Staronova Skola Synagogue and the Beth-Hachajim cemetery.

The ancient heart of the Mala Strana district is divided into two small squares, overlooked by buildings of considerable architectural thickness.

In the upper square there is the eighteenth-century Colonna della Peste, with sculptures depicting the Holy Trinity and the patron saints of Bohemia, made by F. Geiger and J.O.Mayer.

In its place there existed a fountain as, moreover, also in the lower square.

This fountain was also replaced by a monument to Radetzky, now preserved in the lapidary of the National Museum.

Among the buildings, the Kaiserstejn Palace stands out, built in the first half of the seventeenth century by the meeting of some pre-existing Gothic residences, including the stone table house, with clear rococo features, Palazzo Liechtenstein, dating back to the end of the seventeenth century, Mala Town Hall Strange, from the late Renaissance period and marked by a plaque on the facade in memory of the promulgation of the Confessio Bohema of 1575.

In later times, at the behest of the Roman emperor Charles IV, the city was enlarged with the construction of the new city or Nove Mesto, where the less wealthy classes went to live.

At that time, the New Town was divided, from Mala Strana, Stare Mesto and the Castle, by a large moat corresponding today to a stretch of via Na Prikope, a name that means via della Fossa.

Note that near the Na Prikope street there is also the Mustek metro stop, where the translated name has the meaning of Ponticello which corresponds to the same point where the ancient bridge over the moat was that connected the new part with the old part of the city, which at that time was reserved only to wealthy and noble classes.

In Nove Mesto there are many public administration buildings, shopping centers, important museums and banks.

Itinerary on foot

- The Castle, a grandiose fortress dating back to the ninth century, was enlarged over the centuries with Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, which testify to the various historical periods with their architectural and artistic tendencies. It was the residence of the Bohemian kings, emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, presidents of Czechoslovakia and presidents of the Czech Republic. Inside, the jewels of the Bohemian crown are kept. Inside this grandiose complex are the Prague Cathedral, the Convent of San Giorgio, the Basilica of San Giorgio, the Royal Palace and the Galleries of Renaissance and Baroque painting.

- The construction of the Cathedral of San Vito, which is located inside the Castle, was started in 926 and finished in 1929. The first church, built by St. Wenceslaus between 1060 and 1096, was followed by the construction of a Basilica in Romanesque style and, in the first half of the fourteenth century, the construction of the Gothic cathedral was inaugurated by Charles IV, which lasted for about 600 years. In the beautiful chapel of St. Wenceslas, where precious state jewels are found, the coronations of Bohemian kings and queens took place in the past. From the top of the bell tower you can admire an extraordinary panorama of Prague.

The buildings included in the Castle include the Royal Palace, built in the eleventh century on the site where a ninth-century princely court was located.

The building, initially Romanesque, was transformed and enlarged in the following centuries.

Until the Habsburg period, the palace was the seat of the Bohemian rulers.

The Basilica and the Monastery of San Giorgio overlook the apse of the Cathedral of San Vito, on Piazza San Giorgio.

The Basilica is a seventeenth-century Romanesque building with Baroque facade, while the Monastery, dating back to the year 973, was the first building founded by the monastic order in Bohemia, repeatedly destroyed, rebuilt and transformed.

The visit to the Castle includes Viuzza D’oro, a picturesque road lined with huts, which apparently were built in the late sixteenth century to house Rodolfo II's guards and goldsmiths would later settle there.

- Charles Bridge, a fascinating and panoramic stone bridge in Gothic style, connects the districts of Stare Mesto and Mala Strana and represents one of the symbols of Prague. The works for the construction of the bridge began in the second half of the fourteenth century on a project by the architects P. Parler and J. Ottl at the behest of Charles IV and the work was completed in the fifteenth century under the reign of Wenceslaus IV. The bridge, which survived numerous floods of the Vltava, houses a real sculpture gallery on its sides. Street artists often perform on it and there are constantly some street vendors of souvenirs.

- Mala Strana, is a characteristic and suggestive district of Prague which is located on the left bank of the Vltava. Built starting from 1257 to house the German colonists, enlarged and renovated in the time of Charles IV and destroyed by fire in the XV-XVI centuries, the neighborhood was subsequently rebuilt with splendid palaces and places of worship to become a sought-after residential neighborhood. The path of the coronation of the Bohemian Sovereigns took place along its streets.

- Staromestske namesti, a beautiful square in the old town, is located on the right bank of the Vltava in the district of Stare Mesto and constitutes a heritage of historical importance and extraordinary architectural wealth, in which the main tragic and happy events that characterized the history of the city of Prague. The square overlooks important buildings including the Church of Santa Maria di Tyn, the Church of San Nicola, the Kinsky Palace, the Old Town Hall, with the famous astronomical clock, as well as buildings with fine decorations and refined architectural details.

The Astronomical Clock, dating back to medieval times and located on the south side of the town hall in Piazza della Città Vecchia, is an indispensable source of attraction for many tourists.

The mechanism includes the astronomical dial, which also represents the positions of the Sun and Moon in the sky, the procession of the Apostles, which starts moving at the stroke of each hour with the twelve figures that make it up, and a lower dial , made up of 12 medallions that symbolize the months of the year.

- In the Jewish quarter, one of the oldest in the city, there are synagogues and an old cemetery for Jews.

Quick Trips and Tips: Prague, Czech Republic (August 2022)

Tags: Czech Republic