The Republic Square
The Republic Square is just couple of minutes walk away, there are the famous Powder tower, Municipal house and the largest shopping centres “palladium” and “Kotva”.
Powder gate – the gate stood already in the 13th century, it was one of 13 entrances to the Old city. In 1475 the cornerstone of the new tower was laid by king Vladislav Jagiellonian. Gate as a gift from the city authorities, in honor of the coronation was erected by the eminent architect Matej Rejsek on the model of the old town bridge tower built a century earlier by the famous architect Peter Phalerum. The priority was not the guard gate features, and a refined decoration of the facade as a relief of worthy additions to the architecture of the neighboring Royal court. After 8 years, when the king was forced to flee the city, up in arms, the construction was suspended. After returning to Prague, the king settled for more security at Prague castle. Its current name it received in the 17th century, when it served as a gunpowder warehouse. Sculpture, badly damaged during the Prussian occupation of Prague in 1757, and in most suspended, were restored during the reconstruction of the gate in 1876.
The municipal house – the most famous in Prague the art Nouveau building. It stands on the site of the former Royal residence of the kings in 1383-1485, For centuries was abandoned, and then partially used as a Seminary, postmeasles was a military school. In the early 20th century it was demolished, built on the site of today’s culture center (1905-1911) with exhibition halls and a large concert hall. The facade of the building is decorated with stucco mouldings and allegorical sculptures. Above the main entrance features a huge semicircular mosaic entitled “In honor of Prague”. Inside is topped with a glass dome of Prague’s main concert hall and the soul of the building – Hall of bedřich Smetana, often used as a dance hall. The interior is decorated with works of the most famous Czech artists of the first decades of the 20th century, including Alfons Mucha. There are several rooms for meetings and conferences, offices, a cafe and a restaurant where visitors can relax, enjoying a variety of decorative ornaments in art Nouveau style (secession).
On the old town square we go down the street Zelenoy. This is one of the oldest streets in Prague, was a continuation of the old trade route from Eastern Bohemia. Its name derives from the word “salt” – the names of the braided loaf, which was baked here in the middle ages. The prestige of the street increased in the 14th century, when it became part of the Royal route, along which moved the coronation procession. In the basements of local buildings is the foundations of Romanesque and Gothic buildings, but most buildings with decorative house signs on the facade was rebuilt in Baroque style. In the house of “The Black virgin” (U Černé Matky boží) you can see an interesting collection of Czech cubism, including paintings, sculpture, furniture, architectural plans and objects of decorative art.
The old town square (Staroměstské náměstí)
A lot of extremely rich Prague history remember the walls of the buildings around the old town square. In its Northern part is white facade of the Baroque Church of St. Nicholas. The Eastern side boasts two splendid examples of architecture of its time – the “house of the Stone bell” (U Kamenného zvonu), to whom the Cathedral was restored the original appearance of Gothic bourgeois Palace, and the Palace in the Rococo style kind of Goltz-Kinsky. The area is framed by a number of buildings with colorful facades in pastel colours. Such Romanesque and Gothic houses with colourful facades and charming house signs adorn the southern part of the area. Particularly striking is the quarter between the streets Zelenoy and Iron. The old town square was always a busy place, today it offers tourists information center, as well as a variety of restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries.
One of the most notable buildings on the old town square is the old town hall, built on the orders of king John of Luxembourg in 1338 as the seat of the city Council. Over time the building was annexed several neighbouring houses, which were made in the aisles. Today, the block of buildings of the town hall consists of several objects in the style of Gothic and Renaissance, mostly carefully restored after damage by the Nazis at the end of the war in 1945. The height of the tower is 69,5 meters, it offers a wonderful view of the city. The first chimes were installed on the tower in the early 15th century. In 1490 they were improved by the master hanuš. Fearing that he will be able to repeat his masterful work for other customers, by order of the city Council, he was deprived of sight. Clockwork, extant, despite later repairs, looks just like him gathered in 1572 year, the watchmaker Jan Taborska.
Wenceslas square (Václavské náměstí)
The dominant feature of the square is the equestrian statue of St. Václav steameye and behind him the majestic building of the National Museum. In the middle ages there was Horse market. And today it is an important trading center. Walking around the square, pay attention to the building. Most of them were built at the turn of 19-20 centuries in the course of the restructuring of the square. There are a lot of outstanding examples of decorative styles that were typical for Czech architecture of that time. In many buildings today are shopping malls, clubs, cinemas and theatres.
With the Wenceslas square, a minute’s walk to the State Opera. First, there was the Theatre of the New city, demolished in 1885, and at that place was built the present building, which housed the New German theatre, designed to rival the Czech National theatre. The pediment above the loggia with columns on the facade is decorated with a frieze in the neoclassical style. Among the figures are recognizable Dionysus and Thalia – the Muse of Comedy. In 1945 the theatre became the city’s main Opera house.