New Town Walking Tour, Prague

New Town Walking Tour (Self Guided), Prague

The youngest (established 1348) and the largest (three times the size of the Old Town), the New Town (Nove Mesto) of Prague is one of the five originally independent townships that today form the historic center of the Czech capital. Steeped in history, the district is traditionally dense with tourists.

Among the attractions found here there are Dancing House (named so for resembling a pair of dancers), Charles' Square (one of the largest squares in the world and the largest town square in medieval Europe), numerous churches and cathedrals, and more. To make your visit to Prague a complete one, explore Nove Mesto on this self-guided tour!
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New Town Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: New Town Walking Tour
Guide Location: Czech Republic » Prague (See other walking tours in Prague)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Wenceslas Square
  • National Museum
  • Jubilee Synagogue
  • St. Henry's Tower (Jindrisska Vez)
  • Grand Hotel Europa
  • New Town Hall
  • Charles Square
  • Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
  • Dancing House
Wenceslas Square

1) Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square is almost an avenue, shaped as a very long rectangle, running from the northwest boundary of the New Town to the Neoclassical National Museum at the southeast end.

The square came into being in the 14th century, when Charles IV founded the New Town, and initially served as a horse market. During the national revival in the 19th century, the place received its current name along with a very fine statue of St. Wenceslas – The Good King mounted on his horse surrounded at the base with four statues: Saint Agnes of Bohemia, Saint Prokop, Saint Adalbert of Prague, and Saint Ludmila.

Perhaps because of its original status as a market, it has always been a natural gathering place – the Nazis' demonstrations, the national sporting event celebrations, and the focal point of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 all took place here. When the Communist rule came to an end, the announcement to the Czech nation was also made at the square.

Today, Wenceslas square is as busy a spot as ever, frequented by locals and tourists alike coming to visit the National Museum or the Prague State Opera, or the numerous offices, hotels, international shops, clubs, restaurants and snack bars lining the avenue-square on both sides.

Why You Should Visit:
A symbol of Czech nationhood and the best-known statue in Prague.

Dominated by St. Wenceslas' statue, the square is best captured on photo with the statue being at your back.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
National Museum

2) National Museum

The National Museum ('Národní muzeum') in Prague was founded on April 15, 1818 by Count Kašpar Maria Šternberk, with an aim to systematically establish, prepare and publicly exhibit natural scientific and historical collections. Its founding came about in the context of the times where, after the French Revolution, royal and private collections of art and science were made available to the public. The early focus of the museum was natural sciences, partially because Count Sternberk was a botanist, mineralogist, and eminent phytopaleontologist himself, but also because of the natural science slant of the times, courtesy of Emperor Joseph II of Austria.

Presently, the Museum houses some 14 million items from the areas of natural history, mineralogy, paleontology, mycology, botany, entomology, zoology, anthropology, and archaeology, as well as history, arts, music and librarianship, spread across dozens of buildings. The Main (Historical) Building on the upper end of Wenceslas Square was built by prominent Czech Neo-Renaissance architect, Josef Schulz, in 1885-1891.

The building was damaged by a bomb during World War II in 1945, but the collections remained unscathed for being removed to secured locations. During the 1968 Warsaw Pact intervention, the main facade was severely damaged by strong Soviet machine-gun and automatic submachine-gun fire. The shots left numerous holes in sandstone pillars and plaster, destroyed stone statues and reliefs, and caused damage in some of the depositories. Despite the general facade repair between 1970 and 1972, the damage is still visible because of the lighter sandstone used to mend the bullet holes.

The New Building of the National Museum, right next to the Main Building, is the former Prague Stock Exchange dating from 1937. The building was extended in 1968–1973. Between 1995 and 2009 it was used by the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In 2000, the Ministry of Culture declared it a cultural monument.

Why You Should Visit:
The largest museum in Prague.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Jubilee Synagogue

3) Jubilee Synagogue

Jubilee Synagogue, also known as the Jerusalem Synagogue due to its location on Jerusalem Street, was built in 1906. It was designed by Wilhelm Stiassny and named in honor of the Silver Jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. The building features Moorish Revival style with Art Nouveau decoration, especially in the interior. The Mudéjar red-and-white coursing of the stone facade is particularly striking. Lately renovated, it still serves religious purposes. After the Czech Republic became independent from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the synagogue has been habitually referred to as the Jerusalem Street Synagogue.

Having served the public as a house of worship for almost a century, as of 1 April 2008 the Jubilee Synagogue has been opening its doors on a regular basis to tourists and aficionados of historic architecture.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
St. Henry's Tower (Jindrisska Vez)

4) St. Henry's Tower (Jindrisska Vez)

Prague’s tallest freestanding belfry (67.7 m), Jindrisska Tower (Jindrisska vez) is the late Gothic 15th-century landmark that is part of the Church of St Henry and St Kunhuta (Kostel sv. Jindricha a Kunhuty) located in the eponymous Jindrisska street. The street has linked Prague's three major squares – Wenceslas Square, Charles Square and Senovazne Square – since as early as the 14th century. The tower itself was built in 1472–1475 and has sustained several damages over the course of centuries, caused either by foreign invaders (e.g. Swedes in 1648) or natural disasters (a huge storm swept off the roof in 1801). In 1577, the tower had a clock added.

Another unique feature of Jindrisska is its carillon – a set of ten bells, cast in bronze, in the attic. The three most notable bells include the one called Maria, made in 1518 (the oldest), weighting 500 kg; Jindrich, the largest bell, weighting 3,350 kg, cast in 1680; and the one named Dominik, made in 1850 and weighting 1,000 kg.

Other than the sound of a peal, at the top of the tower, one can also enjoy a panoramic view of downtown Prague, extending far and wide towards Wenceslas Square, the Prague Castle and other prominent sights.

Having undergone a total renovation in 2002, the tower is now fully air-conditioned, fitted with electric lighting, staircase and a speedy lift serving its 10 floors. Here, apart from an observation deck at the top, you will find a café, Scottish-themed whiskey bar and a shop, plus a new, two-floor restaurant, built in 2003, decorated with the original timbers of the belfry and offering a unique dining experience, plus a museum and a gallery for art exhibitions.

Being set away from trodden tourist paths, the whimsical Jindrisska Tower offers a chance for a quiet romantic dinner, friendly drink in the bar or delectable dessert with a delicious Italian coffee.
Grand Hotel Europa

5) Grand Hotel Europa

Sitting on the edge of famous Wenceslas Square, the Grand Hotel Evropa is one of the most remarkable architectural sights of Prague. Originally built in 1872 by architect Josef Schulz in the Neo-Renaissance style, on the site previously occupied by Bindra's coaching inn, it first went by the name U Archivévody Štěpána (“At Archduke Stephan”). In 1889, the building underwent reconstruction and, in 1903–1905, was further remodeled in the then fashionable geometric Art Nouveau style by architects Bedřich Bendelmayer and Alois Dryák, with the interior designed by Bohumil Hypšman, Jan Letzel and Ladislav Saloun.

In 1924, the hotel was bought by restaurateur Karel Šroubek, promptly renaming it Hotel Šroubek, and proved quite popular throughout Czechoslovakia and further afield as a very prestigious, luxurious and modern hotel of the time. Franz Kafka organized here his only author's reading in Prague in 1912.

In 1951, the hotel was nationalized and rebranded as Grand Hotel Evropa. Eventually, it fell into disrepair and, after 1989, was denationalized. In 2014, the hotel was one of the venues for the Designblok festival, called Superstudio Evropa.

Since 2016, Evropa has undergone reconstruction, with a new eight-storey building added in the courtyard, in a bid to expand its capacity, complete with conference facilities, wellness complex and panoramic restaurant.

The symmetrical Art Nouveau façade, richly decorated with plant motifs and a golden sculpture bearing a lamp in the shape of a globe symbolizing Europe, at the top, still retains some of the original charm. The exquisite ornate interior of the hotel has been popular with filmmakers and featured in a number of movies, including Titanic (1997) as a ship restaurant, Mission Impossible (1996) with Tom Cruise, and more.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
New Town Hall

6) New Town Hall

Overlooking the large green square of Karlovo Namesti is the New Town Hall (Novoměstská Radnice), a medieval complex with the Eastern wing, facing Vodičkova Street, being the oldest, built around 1377, and the Southern wing, overlooking Karlovo náměstí, added in 1411-16. The latter was revamped in Renaissance style in 1520-26 and then furnished with late-Baroque gables. Several additions to the Hall were made in the 15th century, including the sturdy tower with an intimate Gothic chapel and a massive bell. The Eastern wing also underwent Renaissance reconstruction in 1559.

Over the centuries, the Hall has witnessed many historic events, including the first of three so-called Defenestrations of Prague, on July 30th 1419, when the crowd broke in and threw the burgrave, two aldermen and several burgess representatives out of windows onto the crowd’s spears. The event marked the beginning of the Hussite revolution. In 1609, representatives of the Bohemian nobility met here to force Emperor Rudolf II to issue a decree that would guarantee religious freedoms.

The Hall remained the seat of the New Town government until Emperor Josef II merged the four towns of Prague in 1784, upon which the Hall was converted to courthouse and prison, eventually dubbed as Prague’s Bastille. Two wards of the ground-floor prison are named after their first inmates, Polévka (soup) and Jelito (pork-blood sausage).

The most significant reconstruction of the Hall, in 1904-05, removed traces of the Classicist reconstruction from the early 19th century and restored the previous Renaissance appearance from the early 16th century. The most recent overhaul, in 1976-96, saw the premises adapted to the needs of the Prague 2 Municipal Office, as well as exhibitions, concerts and social events. There is also Café Neustadt in the courtyard. In 1962, the New Town Hall was declared a national cultural monument.

Guided tours of the New Town Hall visit the Large Hall, the Wedding Hall, Maazhaus, and the Gothic chapel.
Charles Square

7) Charles Square

Charles Square is one of the largest (80,550 m²) squares in the world, and the largest town square in medieval Europe. Founded in 1348 by emperor Charles IV, it was meant to become the main square of the New Town; hence the New Town Hall built here.

In the late 14th century the Corpus Christi Chapel was put up in the middle of it. The chapel was closed in 1784 and demolished in 1791, prior to which it had displayed Crown Jewels every Easter. From the 15th century, the place had been known as Cattle Market, since drovers brought their herds here for sale; in 1848 it was finally renamed in honour of its founder.

In the 17th century, the Jesuits started to build their New Town residence in Charles Square. They also founded and built in 1655-1677 a new, early Baroque-style church dedicated to their patron saint and founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

On the south side of the square there is a high Baroque style gate to the Church of St. John of Nepomuk "on the Rock" built in the 1730s. In the 1860s, the central portion of the square was turned into a park, adorned with a small ornamental pond and statues of various Czech writers and scholars. According to local legend, a marble stone used to stand in the park, marking the spot where secret executions once took place in the dead of night; true or not, but the stone is no longer there.

Why You Should Visit:
If tired of exploring Prague’s historical sites, Charles Square offers a nice, quiet respite with a chance to stretch out one's weary feet on the bench.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral

8) Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral

The Saints Cyril and Methodus Cathedral is the first Orthodox temple in Prague and is well worth a visit as such, which has also played an important role in Prague’s history.

In 1739 a Baroque church was built on its site, along with a house for retired priests, consecrated to St Charles Borromeus, the 16th-century Archbishop of Milan. In 1783, the church and the retirement house were closed down and converted to army storehouses and, later, barracks. In 1869, it became the Czech Technology Centre.

Eventually, it was given to the Orthodox Church who sought an unused building to establish a cathedral. The latter was consecrated to St Cyril and St Methodus in 1935. To this day the cathedral retains its original Baroque frescoes and stucco-work.

During the Second World War, seven Allied paratroopers hid in the cathedral crypt after assassinating the Nazi Governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich. They were betrayed and four of them trapped in the crypt by the Gestapo. When the Gestapo tried to flush them out by flooding the crypt, the four men committed suicide. The cathedral clergymen and several laypeople were arrested for collaboration and executed. The Nazi desecrated the cathedral and in 1942, closed all the Orthodox churches in Czechoslovakia.

The cathedral was re-consecrated in 1947 and a plaque on the wall bears the names and portraits of the heroes who died here. Today, the crypt is the National Memorial to the Victims of the Heydrich Terror and can be visited by appointment.

Why You Should Visit:
A must-see for anyone with an interest in WWII history and/or (Orthodox Christian) religious sites.
Caters well for the English-speaking travelers.

Plan to spend 1 1/2 hours exploring the place and reading all of the information.
You should arrive at 4pm latest, as it closes promptly at 5pm.
Admission is free or by donation.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Dancing House

9) Dancing House (must see)

The Dancing House ('Tančící dům') is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building in downtown Prague, at Rašínovo nábřeží 80. It was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in co-operation with Canadian architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot (previously occupied by the building destroyed during the Bombing of Prague in 1945). The Dancing House was completed in 1996. Its very non-traditional design was controversial at the time.

The Czech president Václav Havel, who had lived for decades next to the site, supported it, hoping that the building would become a center of cultural activity. Originally named “Fred and Ginger” after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, as it resembles a pair of dancers, the house stands out from the prevalent Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture for which Prague is quite famous. Quite often it is also jokingly referred to as the "Drunk House".

Why You Should Visit:
Quite different from most of the city's other architecture.
Offers a great view of the city, particularly of the Prague Castle and Vltava River.
Permanent and temporary art exhibitions inside.

Take elevator to the rooftop; buying a drink will replace the ticket to the terrace.
There is no entrance fee to the building itself. The terrace is accessible via the Glass Bar.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Prague, Czech Republic

Create Your Own Walk in Prague

Create Your Own Walk in Prague

Creating your own self-guided walk in Prague is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Lesser Town Walking Tour

Lesser Town Walking Tour

Malá Strana ("Lesser Town") is a district of Prague, one of the most historically significant in the Czech capital. Back in the Middle Ages, it was predominantly populated by ethnic Germans and, in later years, largely retained its Germanic vibe despite prevalence of the Baroque style in architecture.

The most prominent landmark of Malá Strana is the Wallenstein Palace. There are...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The Staré Město (Old Town) of Prague is a former medieval settlement that is now a lively cobblestoned hub with landmark attractions.

The area was once separated from the outside world by a semi-circular moat and a wall, hugged by the Vltava river. The moat is now covered up by streets, which form the official boundary of the Old Town. One of them, called Na Příkopě (literally “On the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Old Town Souvenir Shopping

Old Town Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Prague without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Prague, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Josefov, formerly the Jewish ghetto of Prague, is part of the city's Old Town (Staré Město). Steeped in history, it breathes Jewish culture. Some of the beautiful and historically important synagogues here are still acting, whereas others have been converted to art galleries and museums. This self-guided tour will help you find your way around and explore the most interesting sites of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Hradcany (Castle District) Walking Tour

Hradcany (Castle District) Walking Tour

Hradcany, or the Castle District, is the area surrounding Prague Castle, said to be the biggest castle complex in the world. Going back in history as far as the 9th century, the castle has been the seat of power for Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, leaders of Czechoslovakia and is currently the President's official residence. Located nearby is St. Vitus' Cathedral, a symbol of Czech...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Prague Introduction Walking Tour

Prague Introduction Walking Tour

Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague is home to a wealth of attractions, including more than ten major museums, numerous theatres, galleries, and plethora of historic sights.

The Czech name Praha derives from an old Slavic word práh, which means "ford" or "rapid", referring to the city's origin at a crossing point of the Vltava river. The legendary...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles

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