The center of ancient Prague, the Old Town (Stare Mesto) makes a popular starting point for walking tours of the city, sprawled along the eastern banks of the Vltava River and connected to the Lesser Town by the grand Charles Bridge. A key part of the UNESCO World Heritage city, the Old Town’s medieval churches, ancient buildings and maze of cobblestone lanes is historic Prague at its most picturesque, with many structures dating back to the 13th century.
The Old Town Square is the focal point of the district, presided over by the Lady Before Tyn Cathedral, the central Jan Hus statue and the Old Town Hall with its Astronomical Clock tower – one of the most iconic landmarks of Prague, dating back to the early 15th century. The square’s mix of distinctive pastel-shaded buildings and fine Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture has long provided the backdrop for city life, and the public square, once a medieval market, is a popular venue for national celebrations, protests and political events.
Other notable buildings in the Old Town include the 13th century Convent of St Agnes, Prague’s earliest example of Gothic design; the Baroque Church of St. Nicholas; and the exquisite Art Nouveau Municipal Hall, a masterpiece crafted by some of the most prominent Czech artists of the 19th century. Just north of Wenceslas Square, the boundary point of the New Town, the Carolinum, part of the Charles University (the oldest university north of the Alps), and the 18th century Estates Theater, Prague's oldest theatre, are also worth a look.