Cutting a swathe through the Baroque beauty of Prague’s historic heart, Nerudova runs uphill through Malá Strana (Lesser Town), forming a link between Charles Bridge and Prague Castle on the west banks of the Vltava River. In the days of the Czech monarchy, the street formed part of the Royal Way, which the king followed from the Old Town Square to the castle on ceremonial occasions.
Now named after the famous 19th-century poet Jan Neruda, who lived at no. 47, the street is composed of brightly colored and gabled Baroque townhouses and palaces, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries and today bursting with boutique hotels, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants; as the street wends up towards the castle it becomes the province of several overseas embassies. Unusual features of Nerudova are the symbols painted or carved on to the façades of the buildings; these represent the professions of the original owners in the days before street numbering was introduced; thus a musician lived at ‘At the Three Violins’ (no. 12) and a goldsmith at ‘At the Golden Cup’ (no. 16). An intriguing pharmacy with its original interior dating from 1821 is located at ‘At the Golden Lion’ (no. 32) and the elegant Morzin Palace (no. 5) is embellished with imposing statues of Moors; this is currently the Romanian Embassy.