Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Visiting Prague [Part 1/5]: Old Town Square

Prague is a strange combination of many worlds. Parts of it are Gothic and grim, others modern and vibrant while others have a classic historic charm. I had the fortune to spend a couple of days recently here, and in this travel series, I hope to show you the various facets this city has to offer. Even though we stayed in Prague for only four days, we managed to see most of it. The city is big, but the sights are close by and you can see pretty much all of them in a short amount of time. So let's get started...


This is a multi-part travel series. Other parts include:
Part One: Old Town Square
Part Two: Jewish Quarter and the river Vltava
Part Three: Prague Castle and Gardens
Part Four: Charles Bridge and Little Quarter
Part Five: A Night in Prague


click on the images for a bigger view


Our Day Begins

It was around 10 o'clock in the morning when Selma, Jasmina and I left our apartment. We booked it through Airbnb and in the images above you can see the part of town we stayed in. It was right next to the Old Town district, so it took us only a couple of tram stops to get there. As you will notice, this part of the city is colorful and bright, and features many beautiful residential buildings.


On the first day we decided not to use public transportation, but rather walk the 15 minutes into the city, so that we could really take it in. The weather on this day started out perfectly, and even though some grim clouds would greet us later, we had no rain or any more bad weather during our stay.

The Powder Tower

One of the first historic sights on our way was the Powder Tower (or Powder Gate). You can see it in the image below. It is one of the original 13 city gates, dating back to the 11th century. It separates the Old Town from the New Town. The gate was used to store gunpowder in the 17th century, hence the name.

Municipal House

The Municipal House is right next to the Powder Tower, and it only took us a few steps to reach it. It is a civic building that houses the Smetana Hall, which is a celebrated concert venue. In the 14th century this was the residence of the King of Bohemia.



Republic Square and Palladium Mall

Before we continued our walk to the historic center we stopped by the Rebublic Square (Náměstí Republiky, which is also a metro and tram station, we used many times during our stay). It's a 5 minute walk from the Republic Square to the Old Town Square. The large Palladium Mall can be found here. It opened in 2008 and is currently Prague's largest mall with a restaurant floor.


Next up is a shot of the aforementioned Palladium Mall. It looks like it's not big from the outside, but once you step inside, the place is huge. Somehow the two levels below ground extend far from the outer premises, and the two floors above also extend wider. It's a great way of having such a big building in the middle of a city.



Roaming the Streets of Prague

Getting to the Old Town Sqaure was a joy. The many streets you take to get there, are fascinating, and much time can be spent just by gazing at all the beauty. Like in the shot that follows, this little toy shop was just to cute not to window shop for a while.



The architecture is just fascinating. Of course, there are similarities with other European cities, mostly Budapest and Vienna, but there is also a strong presence of Gothic-style designs, that become more and more present as you get closer to the inner part of Prague.




Old Town Square in Prague

From its early existence, around the 9th century, the Old Town Square of Prague was laid out of settlements which appeared from the spacious marketplace on the bank of Vltava. Records dating back to 1100 AD indicate that every Saturday a market was held on the marketplace, and large military gatherings also took place there. Today, tourists (like us) roam the square, and take use of the many restaurants, cafes and other things this part of the city has to offer.


Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall Tower, built in 1338, is one of the most striking buildings in Prague. Inside is a staircase and an elevator. For a fee, you can climb or ride to the top of the tower to experience views over the Old Town Square and the rest of the Old Town.



Things to do in the Old Town of Prague

The Old Town of Prague is one of 4 major districts of the city (others are the Jewish Quarter (which you will see in Part 2), Prague Castle (Part 3) and Little Quarter (Part 4). The square offers many little cafes and restaurants, but also the usual tourist traps (as overpriced food, souvenirs and such). If you happen to be here at nightfall try the Dubliner Pub (they also serve food at a reasonable price). The simplest thing to do is just to enjoy the happenings on the square. An ever-changing cast of musicians, protesters, dance troupes, punks and vendors make the square as colorful as the buildings that surround it. The Astronomical Clock can be found behind the Old Town Hall and is also a sight not to be missed. Another important sight that graces the Old Town is the Church of Mother of God before Týn (which you can see 4 images down).





As our stay in the Old Town Square came to an end, we headed north to another distict of the city: the Jewish Quarter, which seems to be the richest part of the city and it houses important historical sights as well as the most expensive shops and boutiques. But more on that in the second part.




End of Part One
To be continued...

54 comments:

  1. stunning photography. your eye for color-combination is just so impressive.

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  2. WOW! What an amazing city and you have captured it so well with the beutiful and colourful building, and well as the atmosphere in the Square.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. As the parts continue the sights from the city just get better and better!

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  3. Mersad, I have enjoyed this visit to Prague. I love the old colorful buildings, the tower and the square. Beautiful photos, enjoy your day!

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  4. Excellent captures as always. It is a wonderful city but not for Beni I see.

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    1. He stayed with my parents in our mountain cottage during the visit, so I'm pretty sure he had a better time there :)

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  5. Fabulous series.. I'm drinking them in!

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  6. What a magical collection! Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  7. Always amazed by the skill it took to build the structures of long ago centuries.

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  8. I'd never had Prague placed on my "want-to-visit" list, but your photos have intrigued me and made me realize that this city if packed with interest. Great captures!
    Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-walk-on-beach.html

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    1. Thanks. Yes, it's deffinitley a must see European city.

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  9. The only European road trips I've had I have taken with sites like this one.

    ROG, ABCW

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    1. Thanks Roger, glad I can oblige.

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  10. Thanks for taking me back to Prague. We were there in 2012 and loved the city.

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  11. I love all the crazy LINES in image 2 and you know how much i love all this archtecture.. my favorite photo today is image 8...

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  12. Such a beautiful city and your photographs are amazing.

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  13. Hi Mersad,
    The photo's of Prague are truly amazing !

    thank you for sharing them with us.

    Best wishes,
    Di.
    ABCW team.

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  14. Such a colorful and beautiful city. Love all those old buildings! Fabulous photos!

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  15. Absolutely wonderful. I think I would have spent all my time in the older part of the city. I love it!

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  16. the powder tower still fascinates me. love the shot with the gold buildings on either side.

    The architecture IS amazing and the brick/cobblestones streets are wonderful.

    wonderful series of images Mersad.

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    1. Thanks Felicia. Yes, the Powder Tower is very impressive.

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  17. i have to say, the old towers, dark and gothic, are really striking! and i like the colorful buildings, too.

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  18. I think this is one of your very best series! There's a look you have on these that seems different and I love it.

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  19. What a beautiful city.

    Mollyxxx

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  20. It's hard to imagine that old cities like this really exist. Old Town architecture is breathtaking. It's wonderful that those of us who have not physically visited Prague can see it through your lens.

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    1. Thanks Kate. The architecture is something to behold and as the series continues you will see more and more of it.

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  21. Prag izgleda fenomenalno; dosta starih gradjevina koje su dobro ocuvane.

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    1. To je tačno, dosta je očuvano i konstantno se održava.

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  22. It does look like a beautiful city and one you could spend forever exploring. I love the buildings.

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  23. I have to say that I like the color in these city shots. Not used to seeing such colorful buildings.

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  24. Also der Turm von der OldTownHall erinnert mich ganz stark an den Uhrturm von Graz....und den habe ich immer schon geliebt ;-)

    Tolle Fotos.

    Herzliche Grüssle

    N☼va

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  25. Mersad, your photos are gorgeous! I love the perspective on the buildings you are showing, what a magnificent place! :)

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  26. Mersad, your photos are gorgeous! I love the perspective on the buildings you are showing, what a magnificent place! :)

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  27. Prague is so awesome! Your photos transports me to the city.

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    1. Thanks Ruth. Glad you like the photos.

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  28. absolutely beautiful! I love the yellow buildings!

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  29. It must be a wonderful town, it's on my travel list !

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  30. Just love the colorful buildings!

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  31. Yes, I remember Prague. Me and my hubby went there last year. A place worth visiting:)

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  32. Fabulous series of photos again, Mersad! It's so "different" and so beautiful there.

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  33. Great pictures of a wonderful city! :) I always enjoy virtually traveling with you.

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  34. Hi Mersad, So nice to meet you. Viewing Prague through your photos has been an exceptional experience this morning. Thank you for sharing! I hope you get to go on many other trips. WOW!

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  35. This is a lovely trip down memory lane, thank you as I visited Prague with my daughter a few years ago. Your photos are stunning. We had a fun time there too!
    Wren x

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  36. What a wonderful tour. It is certainly a beautiful city and your photographs are magnificent. Looking forward to part two.

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  37. My goodness what a delightful tour. Your photos are stunning and all the beauty of the city is shining through those photos. A wonderful share. As always, you share your wonderful travels here and I appreciate it very much. Thank you and have a great weekend.

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  38. Beautiful photos of a city I one day hope to visit. Love all the brightly colored buildings. When I visited Vienna and Bratislava I noticed the use of yellow, a color not common in architecture further west. It's warm and pretty. Thanks for sharing your travels.

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  39. Prague is so beautiful. At least this part you are showing us today. Thanks for sharing.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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  40. Oh to travel as frequently as you seem to do would be bliss!

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  41. isn't the first time that I'm looking your posts from the bottom to the top (from 5 to 1).
    I was far from the web in this period, but come back and see your great trip diary in Prague was beautiful.
    You put me back in Prague, I was there 3 years ago, love this city
    thanks for sharing your photos and story
    Ciao
    Stefano

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  42. The bright yellow buildings are so beautiful, and I especially love the juxtaposition with the dark Powder Tower. The Powder Tower and Municipal Building, as well as the Town Square Tower are all such stunning examples of beautiful architecture! Love your photos!

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  43. I must say this is a really beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing your love with us.

    Kotor to Prague

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