Old Town Square: Attractions, Shopping & History

Updated at  2. May 2023 from Burak
Altstädter Ring in Prague

The 9,000 square meter square includes some of the most famous landmarks in Prague.

Some of them are the Prague City Hall, the Jan Hus Monument, and the Astronomical Clock. Street performers provide entertainment and it is surrounded by numerous cafes and restaurants. The buildings have beautiful facades and some are built on foundation walls from the 12th century.

Old Town Square is the most central square in all of Prague, so most city tours start here.

What Can I Do at the Old Town Square?

1. Town Hall and Town Hall Tower

The Town Hall is located on the southeast corner of the Old Town Square and is one of the main attractions in Prague. Its tower offers the best view over the city. Built in 1338, the citizens financed it at that time from the beer tax. Badly damaged during World War II, it has not been used as a town hall since 1945, but serves for various cultural events.

It is freely accessible to the public. Its historical halls, the catacombs under the town hall, and the town hall tower are especially worth mentioning.

2. Astronomical Clock

The Astronomical Clock on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall is considered a masterpiece of Gothic science and technology. Every hour on the hour, between 9:00 and 23:00, a small spectacle takes place on the Town Hall clock, lasting exactly 45 seconds. Two windows of the clock open and the twelve apostles pass by while the Grim Reaper rings the death bell with one hand and holds up an hourglass with the other.

3. Jan Hus Monument

The stone and bronze monument was created by Ladislav Šaloun (1870-1946) and is one of the most important Art Nouveau sculptures in Prague. It was completed in 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Czech reformer Jan Hus and is considered a symbol of the national independence of the Czech people. Jan Hus preached reform of the Catholic Church a century before Luther and was burned alive at the stake for it in 1415.

His martyrdom 4 years later triggered the first Defenestration of Prague and the 18-year Hussite Wars that followed.

4. Teyn Church

Just opposite the Old Town Hall stands Teyn Church. It was built from the middle of the 14th to the beginning of the 16th century and is one of the most important Gothic sacral buildings in Prague. Its completion was delayed by the fact that gallows were made from the wooden beams that were intended for the roof truss; it was only 20 years later that the roof could be completed. The two towers, called Adam and Eve, were not finished until the beginning of the 16th century.

The church contains numerous Gothic and early Baroque works as well as works from the Renaissance period, of which the altarpieces by Karel Škréta and the tombstone of the astronomer Tycho Brahe are particularly noteworthy.

The Prague baptismal font from 1414 is the oldest baptismal font, and the organ from 1673 is the oldest organ in Prague.

5. House to the Minute (Residential House of Franz Kafka)

The House of the Minute is located very close to the Old Town Hall. The facade is decorated by sgraffito, which takes up biblical and mythological themes as well as contemporary Renaissance legends. The house was built as a late Gothic building in the first half of the 15th century and is considered a typical representative of Bohemian civic Renaissance architecture. It is protected as a cultural monument.

In the years 1889 - 1896, Franz Kafka lived here with his parents and his 3 sisters were born here.

6. Concerts in the Church of St. Nicholas

Near the Jan Hus Monument stands the baroque St. Nicholas Church, first mentioned in a document in 1273. The Benedictine monks rebuilt the church in the baroque style in the 18th century. Between 1870 and 1914 St. Nicholas Church was rented to the Russian Orthodox parish. The 1400 kilogram chandelier is a gift from the Russian Tsar, Alexander II.

Prague's most famous Baroque church hosts almost daily classical concerts with the 18th century organ. The church is not heated.

Do not confuse St. Nicholas Church with the church of the same name on Lesser Town Square opposite the Vltava River.

7. Shopping on Paris Street

The 24-meter wide and 660-meter long boulevard runs through the Jewish quarter and connects the Old Town Square with the Vltava River.

Parizska - Paris Street in English - is the most expensive and luxurious shopping street in Prague. The stores and boutiques in the Art Nouveau and Neo-Baroque buildings offer a mix of international brands and luxury brands such as Cartier, Dior, Gucci, Burberry, Hermes, Rolex, Prada, Boss, Armani, Louis Vuitton, and more.

The numerous restaurants and cafes along the boulevard are also in the upper price range.

8. Prague National Gallery 

The National Gallery in Prague is the most important art museum in the Czech Republic. It is the second oldest gallery in Europe after the Louvre in Paris. Its permanent exhibitions are shown in various buildings in Prague. One of them is the baroque Goltz-Kinsky Palace on Old Town Square, which exhibits works of art from Asia and Africa as well as from Islamic cultural circles.

The palace used to house a German-language humanist high school, which many years ago was attended by Franz Kafka and his longtime friend Max Brod.

9. Illusion Art Museum Prague

This small museum is located in a historically landmarked 15th century building opposite the Old Town Hall and is spread over 2 floors. Illusion art in various styles, some historical, some contemporary, trick art, and spatial illusions make the visit an unforgettable experience where visitors rediscover perspective.

Since it is located directly across from City Hall, there is a fantastic view of the Astronomical City Hall Clock from both floors.

10. Madame Tussaud´s Prague

Since 2019, Madame Tussauds wax museum has a branch in Prague. The entrance is just around the corner by Teyn Church. Music and movie stars, athletes as well as famous personalities from Czech and international history are immortalized here. Right at the entrance you are greeted by Bruce Willis.

11. Central Gallery

Close to Teyn Church is the White Unicorn House, which is connected to the neighboring Teyn School by a Gothic portico.

The Central Gallery showson three floors three different exhibitions: Works by the Spanish artist Salvador Dali, the exhibition "Andy Warhol - I'm OK," and works by the Czech Art Nouveau painter and designer Alfons Mucha.

12. House of the Stone Bell

To the right of the late Baroque Goltz-Kinsky Palace stands the House of the Stone Bel. Originally built in the Gothic style, the house was hidden behind a Baroque facade for many years until this was finally removed and the building was restored to its original Gothic form through lengthy reconstruction work. Charles IV is said to have lived here during the renovation of Prague Castle.

Today, the Gallery of Prague uses the building for regular short-term exhibitions from Czech as well as international, modern, and contemporary art.

In the basement of the building there is a lapidarium and a small exhibition about the history of the building and its reconstruction.

How Do I to Get to Old Town Square?

You can reach Old Town Square by Metro A, green line, Staroměstská stop, which means "Old Town" in English.

The square is centrally located between many other Prague sights, for example, on the footpath between Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square, and the Jewish Quarter.

History of the Old Town Square

The largest and most important square in historic Prague was built as early as the 10th century. It served as a market place where merchants sold fish, meat, spices, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and wooden goods, among other things.

Numerous houses were built around the square in the 12th and 13th centuries, and in some cases their Romanesque and early Gothic foundations are still preserved today.

The famous Prague Town Hall was built in the 14th century, as was Teyn Church. The square developed into the political center of Prague's Old Town, various celebrations and popular assemblies were held here, and the royal processions to Prague Castle passed through the square.

However, over the centuries the square also witnessed uprisings, riots, and executions. Some 27 Bohemian rebels were executed here in 1621.

In 1962, the Old Town Square was declared a national cultural monument.

Today, the Old Town Square is a pedestrian zone and a main attraction for tourists with its many restaurants and cafes. Christmas and Easter markets are also set up here.


  • Address: Staromestské námestí, 110 00 Prague
  • Public Transport: metro line A, green line, Staroměstská stop

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