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New Town Walking Tour (Self Guided), Prague

Nové Město (“New Town” in Czech) is a district in Prague, the youngest (est. 1348) and the largest (three times the size of the Old Town) of the five originally independent townships that form today's historic center of the Czech capital. The area bears great historic significance and is traditionally dense with tourists. Among the attractions found here are the Dancing House (named so for resembling a pair of dancers), Charles' Square (one of the largest squares in the world and once the largest town square in medieval Europe), Antonín Dvořák Museum (paying tribute to the famous Czech composer), and numerous churches and cathedrals. No trip to Prague is complete without a visit to Nové Město!
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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: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Dancing House
  • Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
  • Church of St. Ignatius
  • Charles Square
  • Saint Stephen Church
  • St. Catherine Church
  • Dvorak Museum
  • The Church of Charles the Great
Dancing House

1) 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 (where the previous building had been destroyed during the Bombing of Prague in 1945). The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. The very non-traditional design was controversial at the time. Czech president Václav Havel, who lived for decades next to the site, had supported it, hoping that the building would become a center of cultural activity. Originally named Fred and Ginger (after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - the house resembles a pair of dancers) the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous. Others have nicknamed it "Drunk House".

Why You Should Visit:
Stands out as very different from most of the city's other architecture.
Offers a great sight of the city, particularly Prague Castle and Vltava River.
Permanent and temporary exhibitions are available.

Take the elevator up to the rooftop; buying a drink will replace the ticket to the terrace.
There is no entrance fee to the building itself.

Opening Hours:
The building is open daily from 10am-10 pm.
The terrace with is accessible via the Glass Bar.
Gallery is open daily from 10am-8pm.
Restaurant is open every day from 11am to midnight.
Glass Bar is open every day from 10am to midnight.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral

2) Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral (must see)

Saints Cyril and Methodus Cathedral was the 1st Orthodox Cathedral in Prague and is well worth a visit as it played an important role in Prague’s history.

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

Finally, it was given to the Orthodox Church who wanted an unused church to establish a cathedral. The cathedral was consecrated to St Cyril and St Methodus in 1935. The cathedral retains the original Baroque frescoes and stucco-work.

During the 2nd World War, seven paratroopers hid in the cathedral crypt after assassinating the Nazi Governor, Reinhard Heydrich. They were betrayed and four of them were 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 Orthodox churches in Czechoslovakia.

The cathedral was re-consecrated in 1947 and a plaque on the wall bears the names and portraits of the Czech heroes. 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 (Christian Orthodox) religious sites.
Caters quite well for (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.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Ignatius

3) Church of St. Ignatius

One of the earliest Baroque buildings in Prague, St Ignatius Church in Charles Square is part of the third largest Jesuit Complex in Europe.

The church was built in 1687 on the site of several medieval houses and consecrated to St Ignatius of Loyola, the Patron Saint who founded the Jesuit Order. The Jesuit ascetic way of life doesn’t extend to their churches and St Ignatius Church is flamboyantly decorated with lots of gilding and stucco decorations.

The beautifully executed frescoes were done by Jan Jiri Heinsch the famous painter of Baroque piety. The statues were sculpted by Matej Vaclav Jackel, whose work you can also see on the Charles Bridge.

On the tympanum over the entrance to the church you can see an inscription: MAIRORI DEI GLORIAE et SANCTI IGNAZII HONORI PIETAS EREXIT (Built to the greatness of God’s glory and to the honourable, pious St Ignatius).

On the roof of the church is a statue of St Ignatius. When this statue was put in place, it caused a lot of outrage, because the body of the saint is surrounded by a halo. According to church rules, only the body of Jesus should be surrounded by a halo, but the Jesuits wielded a lot of power in the 17th century and the statue was allowed to remain.
Charles Square

4) Charles Square (must see)

If you want to relax for a while during your exploration of Prague’s historical sites, you might like to do so in Charles Square, which is the largest square in Prague.

When Charles IV founded New Town in the 14th century, the square was the central town marketplace. In the 15th century, it was called the Cattle Market as drovers sold their herds there. The square got its current name in 1848.

On the northern side of the square stands the New Town Hall which was built in the 14th century and was the place of the first defenestration of Catholic nobles in 1419. Today it serves for storing government archives and sometimes holds temporary exhibitions.

Until it was abolished in 1791, a Gothic chapel displayed the Crown Jewels every Easter. Although the chapel no longer stands, there is still the Emause Monastery built in 1347 and the Church of St Ignatius built in 1670 to visit. According to local legend, a marble stone used to stand in the park, marking the spot where secret executions took place in the dead of night, but if it was true, the stone is no longer in the square.

The square remained rather unattractive until the 19th century when it was turned into a park, sporting a small ornamental pond and statues of various Czech writers and scholars.

Why You Should Visit:
Largest square in the country; a nice and quiet place to look around and rest your legs at a bench.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Stephen Church

5) Saint Stephen Church

While you are exploring Prague’s New Town, don’t forget to visit the lovely Neo-Gothic St Stephen Church on Stepanska Street.

The church was founded in 1351, but building continued until 1401 when the tower was added. In 1686 the St Cornelius Chapel was attached to the church and the Chapel of the Branbergers was built in 1736. In 1866 a Neo-Gothic vestibule was added during reconstruction carried out by Josef Mocker. The belfry behind the church dates back to 1600. The only remaining church bell, known as “Stephen” was cast in 1490 and reputedly weighs over 2000 kilos.

According to legend, Charles IV obtained the remains of the martyred St Stephen and the rock where he was stoned to death used to be exhibited on special occasions. This made the church an important place for pilgrimage, and the cemetery was dedicated to pilgrims who died in the town. Matyas Bernard Brun, the famous Czech Baroque sculptor wasn’t a pilgrim, but he was buried there too.

Inside the church you will see a valuable Gothic panel painting and other fine paintings and sculptures. The main alter is decorated with paintings by Matej Zimprecht, one of which depicts St Stephen falling under a rain of stones.
St. Catherine Church

6) St. Catherine Church

You can’t miss St Catherine Church on the upper side of Prague’s New Town, because of its wonderful Gothic steeple, known because of its shape, as the “Prague Minaret”.

The church, which stands in the huge gardens of a former convent, dates back to 1354. In the 16th century the convent became an Augustinian monastery. In 1737 the church was reconstructed in the Baroque style, but the Gothic tower was kept and cunningly integrated into the new façade.

Once considered the most beautiful Baroque church in Prague with its marvellous frescoes, St Catherine Church was de-consecrated over 150 years ago and the interior has degraded enormously. The monastery was used as a hospice for the mentally ill and a new psychiatric clinic was built on the grounds, which belong to the Prague 2 Teaching Hospital.

Recently, the association “Prague 2 for Itself” tried to negotiate for a complete renovation of the church so that it could be re-opened to the public and perhaps used as an exhibition hall. However the Prague Town Hall in conjunction with the Prague 2 Teaching hospital decided to rent out the church to a small religious order: the Oder of German Knights, and the plans submitted by Prague 2 for Itself were turned down.
Dvorak Museum

7) Dvorak Museum

The Antonín Dvořák Museum in Prague is a museum dedicated to the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904). It is part of the Czech Museum of Music which in turn is part of the complex of the National Museum. It is housed in a baroque building which was designed by the famous architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer at the beginning of the 18th century. Although the house itself has no particular link with the composer the Antonín Dvořák museum has been housed there since 1932. The museum displays photographs, newspaper cuttings, programmes and personal objects relating to the composer, including his viola and his piano. The building houses a unique collection of his manuscripts and correspondence, thus providing an important centre for research into Antonín Dvořák. Concerts are held there regularly, as well as seminars, lectures and exhibitions.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Church of Charles the Great

8) The Church of Charles the Great

Among Prague’s sacred monuments, the Church of St Mary and St Charles the Great was the building that Charles IV took the most personal interest in and he laid the first foundation stone himself in 1351.

At first named the Church of St Charlemagne, this Gothic church was built in an octagonal style, after the funeral chapel of Charlemagne in Aachen. The church was consecrated to St Mary and the name became the Church of St Mary and St Charles the Great after the Hussite Wars in the 15th century.

The building received its Baroque façade during reconstruction after a fire in the early 17th century, but inside an incredible Gothic vault, measuring over 22 metres remains to this day. In 1711 an external stairway, called the Holy Stairs was added and under them you will find the Chapel of the Birth of the Lord, a replica of a Bethlehem cave.

Inside the church, the central aisle has a beautiful 8 sided pyramidal form, and the gallery installed in 1603 has a gibbous (convex) form. In this gallery you will find a lovely organ built by Bedrich Semerad. The rostrum and church alters were also installed in 1603.

In the grounds you will find the Czech Police Museum housed in the ancient monastery which was built at the same time as the church.

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.
Jewish Ghetto Walking Tour

Jewish Ghetto Walking Tour

Josefov, formerly the Jewish ghetto of the town, is completely surrounded by Prague Staré Město. Here you can find beautiful and historically important synagogues, as well as art galleries and museums. This tour will help you to explore the most interesting sites of the Jewish quarter.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Old Town Walk

Old Town Walk

Old Town (Czech: Staré Město) is a medieval settlement of Prague, once separated from the outside by a semi-circular moat and wall, connected to the Vltava at both of its ends. The moat is now covered up by the streets, which remain the official boundary of the cadastral district of Old Town. Notable places in the Old Town include the Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, Kinsky Palace and many...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Hradcany (Castle District) Walk

Hradcany (Castle District) Walk

Hradčany, or the Castle District, is an area in Prague surrounding the Prague Castle. The latter is said to be the biggest castle in the world (measuring some 570 meters long and approximate 130 meters wide). 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 official...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Lesser Town Walking Tour

Lesser Town Walking Tour

Malá Strana ("Lesser Town") is a district in Prague, one of the most historically significant in the city. Back in the Middle Ages, it was predominantly populated by ethnic Germans and, in later years, largely retained Germanic influence, despite prevalence of the Baroque style in architecture. The most prominent landmark of Malá Strana is the Wallenstein Palace. There are also a...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 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: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles

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