Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Prague Old Town Square

The heart of old Prague is the Old Town Square -- Staroměstské náměstí. It has been the heart since the 10th century and its main market place until the beginning of the 20th century. There are beautiful pastel-coloured buildings in Romanesque or Gothic style. It is where the famous astronomical clock is located. Not all of its wondrous functions are operable, but great crowds come to see it anyway.

This is the city hall tower. The top of the clock can be seen in the lower left corner.
The National Gallery is a grand building facing the square.

A monument honoring Jan Hus, the Czech Hussite reformer, erected in 1915 on the occasion of his 500th birthday, dominates the center of the square. It shows two groups of people, a young mother symbolising national rebirth and the figure of Hus emphasising the moral authority of the man who gave up life rather than his beliefs.

The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn was built in 1365 on the site of an earlier Romanesque church. Its magnificent multiple steeples are 262 feet high and dominate the square. Between the early 15th century and the year of 1620 it was the main Hussite church in Prague. One of the more modern sights was this velocipede built for a half dozen people. All the riders had to pedal, while one of them steered. It was amusing to watch its progress across the square.

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