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Lesser-Known Sights of Old Town Square

30 June, 2020


Old Town Square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Even though the square is stunning, there is so much more than meets the eye. Because our students have several months to explore the city, here are a few places we recommend checking out before your semester is over. It doesn’t take much to find hidden gems among the tourist traps of the city—you just have to know where to look. Take the tram or metro to the Staromestka station and start exploring! 

Prague Meridian

You’ve probably already walked over this without even knowing it. This fascinating historical feature is laid right into the cobblestones of Old Town Square! The long thin, bronze line runs diagonally across the square and was used in the past to predict high-noon. The former Marian column’s shadow would fall directly upon the meridian, however the Marian column was torn down in 1918 as locals protested the Habsburg Monarchy. While it’s no longer a usable timepiece, this is a unique reminder of days past where shadows were a huge tool in knowing when it was time to go for lunch.

 

Go Underground

Some of the best parts of the Old Town Square are actually underneath it. Did you know that the initial street level of the Old Town is actually a few meters beneath your feet? After fighting the tides of frequent floods, the city officials in the 13th century decided to raise the ground level of the city approximately one story, which resulted in today’s labyrinth of underground attractions. In the Old Town Hall, it’s possible to take a guided tour of some of the building’s original features. Please note that you can only see these fascinating chambers with a guide. You’ll see prison cells, a chapel and even walk through a corridor that 800 years ago had been a bustling city street.

 

Old Town Hall

The fascinating underground isn’t the only thing Prague’s Old Town Hall has to offer. You probably best know the Old Town Hall as the place you can go to observe the iconic astronomical clock, but many people never go inside. The building dates back to 1338 and expanded since then. You can see many ornate staterooms and even a gothic chapel. This is a spectacular place to while away a weekday afternoon. You can even get combination tickets that also include the underground portion of the hall. Don't forget to bring your student ID so you can get discounted admission! 

There you have it! How many of these sites have you walked past with no clue what lurked just beyond a door or beneath your feet? If you find anything else hiding behind the corners, doors or cobblestones of Old Town Square, let us know! We can’t wait to see what you find. Don't forget to check out next week's blog about the neighborhood, Prague 2!