From the Grand Hotel Praha, only a few steps across the Old Town Square, is located one of the most important of Old Town's churches. It is the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, for short called the Tyn Church.
This gothic building originated, in several phases, from the 14th to the 15th century. The names of two famous Prague builders - Petr Parléř and Matthias of Arras - who significantly participated in the construction of a large portion of Old Town's sights - are connected to it. The church was affected by many historical events, especially by the Hussite Wars. These wars burdened the building literally with human lives, when the roof trusses for the church were instead used to build gallows, built for the Hussite leaders captured by the Emperor Zikmund.
The Church has an extraordinary decor, with two dominant towers with galleries, raising high above the surrounding buildings and making the church impossible to overlook. Between them, on the main gable, is the statue of the Madonna, which gives the name to the entire cathedral. The portal, with its sculpture decorations, is also extraordinary.
The church interior also has rich baroque decorations and many remarkable historical sights, especially the very valued organ from the second half of the 17th century. Furthermore, there is a baroque altar with the painting the Annunciation of the Virgin Marry by Karel Škréta, the most popular painter of his time. There is also a medieval gothic pulpit and sculptures in the side bodies of the church.
However, the biggest attractions are the medieval, gothic and baroque tombstones. The famous astronomer, Tycho de Brahe, from the Court of the Emperor Rudolf II, has his tombstone located here, close to the main altar.
The church is one of the most dominant of Old Prague's sights; its interior belongs among the best that one can see in Prague's churches and you will be very glad you visited it. Just exit from the Grand Hotel Praha and look right. The tall church towers will guide you the right way.
The Old Town Square is the heart of historical Prague, surrounded by all the most important historical sights. That is also why the Grand Hotel Praha is there, to allow you experience the unique historical atmosphere.
The Old Town Square is the oldest and most important square of Old Prague, with its history reaching deep to the intersection of the European trade routes, when it served as an important market place. People traded precious cloths as well as common goods and food here. Piquancy was the fish market, because the Old Town Square was practically the only place where it took place. There was even a customs house for declaring goods imported by foreign traders.
Later on, the square was encircled by houses, wherefrom many of them had their own name, e.g. At The Unicorn, or At The Golden Camel. Both these houses can be found to the right of the Grand Hotel Praha. Until the present, the majority of the houses even preserved their original roman and gothic cellars.
Along with the houses, many important sights were created throughout Prague's history, such as Týn Cathedral (Church of Our Lady before Týn), Kinský Palace, Church of St Nicholas, Jan Hus Monument, forming the virtual center of the square, and the Old Town Hall. The town hall brought the center of the political life of the town to the square. The Grand Hotel Prague provides a beautiful view of both the astronomical clock and the town hall.
The square became famous for various celebrations and assemblies, but also for tragic events, wherefrom the most famous was the execution of twenty seven Czech protestant leaders after the Battle of the White Mountain. Twenty seven white crosses were embedded in the pavement on the east side of the town hall tower as a symbol of this event.
Close to the center of the square, the so called Prague Meridian is also marked; the place where once, in the past, stood a Marian Pillar, which, at sharp noon, threw shade exactly in the direction of the brass hatch mark. In the past, this served to control Prague's time. Thanks to the unique accommodation in the Grand Hotel Prague, you do not have to worry about the time, because the beauty of Old Prague remains at your fingertips around the clock.
As you exit from the Grand Hotel Praha, a short distance away, straight ahead across the Old Town Square you will arrive at Pařížská Street and the quarter called Josefov. The Old Jewish Cemetery is located here. This old cemetery, from the early 15th century, is one of the most important preserved Jewish cemeteries worldwide and, along with the Old-New Synagogue, belongs to one of the most important preserved remainders of Prague's Jewish Town.
The cemetery itself is surrounded by the Pinkas and Klausen Synagogues. There are almost 12,000 tombstones in the cemetery. The cemetery has been expanded several times in the past, but its area has never been sufficient. The Jewish custom says that the individual tombs must not disturb each other and, mainly, the tombstone of the deceased must be preserved.
The lack of space at the Jewish cemetery led, over time, to covering the older levels of stones with soil and raising the original tombstones up to higher levels. This caused, at some places, up to twelve layers of tombs to be lying atop each other. The lifted tombstones are squeezed next to each other and create a picturesque cluster.
The individual tombstones here range from simple ones to ones with rich decorations, as the history of Prague was changing. Without question, the most important person buried here is the religious scholar rabbi Jehuda Liwa ben Becalel, known rather as Rabi Löw. His name is connected to the mythical Old-Prague tale of the creation of a human from soil, the so called Golem. However, according to the tale, Rabbi Low was scared by its strength, which could be misused, so he had Golem stored in the attic of the Old-Prague Synagogue. Until the present, groups of enthusiastic fans search for traces of the truth behind this tale.
Pursuant to the Jewish custom, the visitors place small stones, often with small piece of paper with a written wish, which they believe will be fulfilled by the famous man, on the grave of Rabbi Löw. Your wish to experience the historical atmosphere in the center of the Old Prague, to which this sight belongs, can be fulfilled easily thanks to the Grand Hotel Praha.
The life of Franz Kafka is closely connected to Old Town and the surrounding Old Town Square, where the Grand Hotel Praha is also located. Thanks to the unique accommodation directly in the heart of Old Town, you can be close to the history of this exceptional writer.
This writer, of Jewish origin, is one of the most appreciated and most influential writers of the 20th century. Kafka's birthplace is in one of the houses directly on the Old Town Square, right next to the Church of St. Nicholas. A gallery with a permanent exposition on Kafka's life has been opened in this house.
Kafka's family lived in Old Town in the environment of the Jewish Synagogue and Josefov, especially for the Jewish Sabbaths, when the Jews must not do much and must arrive at the ceremony on foot. Kafka's father even had his own shop in the Minute House (U Minuty) on the Old Town Square. The family moved approximately fourteen times within this area.
The immediate proximity of the Jewish ghetto, seat of Prague's Jews, but also the meetings of old Jewish intellectuals in the houses on the Old Town Square, played important roles in Kafka's life. The atmosphere of Old Town significantly is reflected in the entirety of Kafka's work and strongly influences his sensitive character. In Celetná Street, in the House of the Three Kings (U tří králů), Kafka got his first rented apartment with a direct view of the Týn Church. It fascinated Kafka so much that he reflected the theme of the church window in his work.
His work is characterized especially by mental ambivalence, the feeling of rejection and isolation from society. Kafka used this to transfer his own condition and conditions surrounding him. The interesting thing is that the majority of Kafka's work was almost unknown throughout his life and became famous only after his death and after the Second World War.
Not only will the fans of his work appreciate the possibility to see the places where this writer used to go, live and work. The places, also close to the Grand Hotel Praha, will allow you to immediately capture and enjoy the atmosphere of Kafka's Prague.
The Grand Hotel Praha does not only offer a beautiful view of the Prague astronomical clock, but also of the Old Town Hall, the building where Prague and Czech history have been created and where, until modern times, important ceremonies and weddings take place.
The Old Town Hall comes from the 14th century and was, due to its royal privilege, the very first town hall in all of Bohemia. The town hall was originally only one building, but, during Prague's history, the administration of the Old Town expanded and, nowadays, it is composed from several buildings, interconnected in one unit.
An interesting fact is that the famous Prague architect and builder Petr Parléř participated in its construction; his name appears on the majority of important sights from the 14th century throughout Prague. He built the town hall chapel and, partially, the clock located on the south side of the town hall tower.
The entire object preserved its historical origin and, despite extensive damage by the fire, at the end of the 2nd World War it became a center of the anti-fascist rebellion. The interior also preserved the spirit of its time. The council hall, located in the western building, is especially famous for its beautiful gothic ceiling. It is used mainly for weddings and other ceremonies.
The biggest and, clearly, the most attractive is the unique view of Old Town, which one can admire from the 70 meter tall town hall tower. One can see the entirety of Old Prague, Prague Castle, Petřín, Powder Gate and, mainly, the Old Town Square - the town house is its integral part.
If you want to see any of these sights, thanks to the Grand Hotel Praha, located directly in the heart of Old Town, you have all of them at your fingertips and you will be constantly surrounded by the unbroken historical atmosphere.
The Grand Hotel Praha is located directly on the historical Royal Route, which also includes the Charles Bridge. The oldest stone bridge across the Vltava River and the second oldest bridge in the Czech Republic is a unique sight from which one can admire the beauty of Old Prague. Thanks to the unique accommodations in the historical center of Prague, you can follow the historical route from Old Town to the Little Quarter (Malá Strana) and Prague's Hradčany in a very short time.
The Charles Bridge was, until the 19th century, the only bridge connecting Vltava's right and left riverbanks. It was built on the order of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV. The construction began in 1357 and was managed by the famous architect Petr Parléř. According to legend, eggs were added to the mortar to help the bridge be strong and endure the pressure of eventual flooding. In 2008, the experts found, during research, that eggs were, in fact, added to the mortar when building this bridge and that this legend is true.
The bridge is decorated with three extraordinary towers. Above the first pillar from the Old Town side, there is the Old Town Tower, which is considered to be the most beautiful gothic gate in Europe. There are small and large Little Quarter Bridge Towers at the Little Quarter's side. However, the most important decorations on the bridge are the sculptures and sculptural groups, which form a unique gallery.
The baroque sculptures are from the early 18th century and picture mainly the patron saints. They are from the workshops of the famous sculptors Matyáš Braun and Maxmilián Brokoff. One of the most interesting sculptures is the sculpture of the mythical Czech Knight Bruncvík, standing separately on a bridge pillar. It replaced the original sculpture which was ordered by the Old Town to demonstrate its rights to the bridge. The absolute majority of the sculptures were replaced with copies; the originals are stored in the National Museum.
The Charles Bridge is a national cultural monument and forms an unforgettable part of Prague's panorama, which you can, due to the proximity of the Grand Hotel Praha, enjoy at any given moment.
Prague Castle, or Hradčany, is the most dominant structure of Prague and symbolically terminates the historical Royal Route, on which the Grand Hotel Praha is located. Being the seat of the Czech rulers and, nowadays, presidents, it belongs among the most important historical sights of the Czech Republic.
Even though it has always been perceived primarily as a seat of rulers, many palaces and churches in almost all architectural styles of the past millennium were gradually built on its premises.
The most credit for the expansion and development must go to the Emperor Charles IV. He founded, in 1344, the most important part of Hradčany - St Vitus's Cathedral. The St Vitus's Cathedral is the largest of Prague's cathedrals; besides church services, coronations of Czech kings and queens also took place here. The Czech rulers rest here in their graves and it stores the Czech crown jewels. The cathedral is a symbol of the identity of the Czech nation. Besides the relics of the rulers, it also guards the relics of saints, aristocrats and archbishops.
Each Czech ruler participated in the construction or reconstruction of certain parts of Prague Castle. Ladislaus Jagiellon (Vladislav Jagellonský) built the first building with renaissance elements in Bohemia here - the famous Vladislav Hall, decorated with a gorgeous vault. Also, the Emperor Rudolf II., known for his interest in esoteric science, had his influence on development and architecture. Also, the Empress Marie Theresa ordered, in the 18th century, a significant reconstruction.
Prague Castle, to which the old castle steps lead, from the Little Quarter along the rampart, is now a set of precious monuments, for example, the Golden Lane, with miniature houses originally inhabited by goldsmiths. Also worth mentioning are the splendid castle gardens, St George's Basilica, Lobkowicz Palace - seat of the noble Lobkowicz family and the renaissance style Royal Summer Palace of Queen Anne, so called Belvedere.
Hradčany, through its diversity, captivates, without question, every visitor. The Royal Route from the Grand Hotel Praha to the heart of Hradčany - St Vitus's cathedral will provide an unrepeatable historical experience.
You have the historical atmosphere of Old Prague literally at your fingertips. The Town Hall Clock, the heart of the historical center, is directly in front of the Grand Hotel Praha. It is one of the most famous and oldest astronomical clocks in the world and is certainly one of the most sought-out of Prague's monument. You can enjoy the view of it directly from your room's window and admire the work which has been, for many centuries, the symbol of Prague's history.
According to an old tale, the clock was built by mythic master Hanuš. Fearing that he could repeat his marvelous work for other cities, Prague's councilors are said to have assaulted and blinded the poor man. Master Hanuš, who suspected who was responsible for such a crude act, avenged himself - he inserted his hand in the machine and the clock stopped. For the next 100 years, it is said that nobody was able to repair Prague's astronomical clock.
The clock, with its origin in the early 15th century, was renovated and amended several times throughout Prague's history. Towards the end of the 2nd World War, it was damaged during the fire of the Old Town Hall, being attached to its tower.
The Town Hall Clock consists of the astronomical clock and a calendar. Its parts show the positions of celestial bodies, the Sun and Moon. The calendar is decorated with paintings of the twelve months and the zodiac by the famous painter Josef Mánes. But the most interesting is the upper part of the Town Hall Clock. At the top of each hour, you can see figures passing by the two little windows, representing the twelve apostles holding their saint symbols.
Along with them, figures representing a knelling grim reaper, a coxcomb admiring himself in a mirror, a niggard with a bag of gold in hand and a Turk as the allegory for lust also move by. Another legend is related to the grim reaper figure - it is said that if it breaks, bad times are coming up. The entire show, which no single visitor to Prague should miss, is closed by the crowing of a gold cock.
The clock is, along with the Old Town City Hall, a national cultural monument and forms an integral part of Old Prague, to which the Grand Hotel Praha also belongs.
Prague is one of the most famous and popular places admired by visitors from all over the world. It is a city full of historical atmosphere, architecture, music and literature. It is a city full of important sights and famous places which formed Czech history.
One of those places, which left many traces throughout history, is the Royal Route. It starts in Old Prague by the Powder Gate, the symbolic entrance to Old Town. It continues to the Old Town Square with a gorgeous ancient city hall and clock, via the famous Charles Bridge to the Little Quarter Square and through old alleys to the famous Prague Castle.
This route through the historical center of Prague took the future rulers to their coronation in St. Vitus's Cathedral in Prague Castle. The route used to be, on these occasions, richly decorated and the procession met on the road with councilors and representatives of confraternities, universities and churches. While they walked the route, bells rang, people sang and cannons were fired, people threw flowers and welcomed the new ruler.
The future ruler and king, by taking this route, demonstrated what significance the city and its inhabitants had for him. The burgess then, by the decorations and attention devoted to the passing processions, demonstrated their loyalty to their king. The journey to the coronation then created a symbolic relationship between the king and his people.
Nowadays, this route slowly uncovers the beauty of Old Prague, its houses, churches, squares and palaces from all possible historic periods, to its visitors. It has an atmosphere where time has symbolically stopped. Its uniqueness captivates not only history lovers, but all those who want to experience Prague.
The mot important of Old Prague's sights are located on the Royal Route, that's why the Grand Hotel Praha is located directly on it, to allow its visitors to see and experience the atmosphere of the most precious and beautiful that Old Prague has to offer first hand.
The Wenceslas Square is very close to the Grand Hotel Praha. It is located on the border between the Old and New Towns, and is not only the center of modern social and business life, but also a place of important historical and political events.
This large square was created when Charles IV. established the New Town; its original name was "Koňský trh" (Horse Market), because it was designed for horse trading. Later, other goods were traded here as well, so houses of the craftsman and breweries were built nearby. This place became the primary marketplace of New Town.
The square saw many important events throughout Czech history. It was here where the first Czech theatre stood, playing solely in the Czech language. Due to the extensive dimensions of the square, it can hold up to 160,000 people; that is why demonstrations took place here. For example, the demonstration of students and radicals against the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, demonstrations for general suffrage and also an important demonstration to support the declaration of the independent Czechoslovakian Republic.
The square saw the annunciation of the end of the 2nd World War and also the sad event when two students, Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc, burnt themselves to death to protest against the invasion of the Warsaw Pact units into Czechoslovakia. In November of 1989, the square saw the beginning of the so called Velvet Revolution, which terminated the communist regime in the country.
The square is dominated by the St. Wenceslas Monument, to the Patron of the Bohemian country, created by the famous sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek. The monument has served as a meeting landmark since it was raised. Just above the monument is the spacious National Museum, where important collections from various fields are stored. Along both sides of the square, there are many important buildings, shops, hotels, offices and restaurants. The bottom part of the square often hosts large Christmas and Easter markets.
Right from the Grand Hotel Praha, beside the Týn Church, is Ungelt, also known as Týn Courtyard. It is a picturesque place which will, due to its character, bring you several centuries back in time.
This trader's courtyard was originally a fortress, separated from the town by a ditch and wall. Its prime came during the rule of Charles IV. It served to protect the traders and their goods. There were goods warehouses, stables for horses, accommodations for the traders and even one of the oldest hospitals in Prague located within its walls.
The word "ungelt" - "a fee" - is of German origin and is related to the payment of regular custom fees by foreign traders. The courtyard was under the ruler's protection and had its own trade rules. The traders who were transiting through Prague had to stay here for three days and first offer their goods to Prague's traders. Only then could they continue to their destination. The archeological findings, including, for example, coins from Greece and Persia, prove that the courtyard was a real intersection of traders from all corners of Europe.
In the evenings, traders celebrated good business with drinks and told stories from their travels. As every other of Prague's sights, Ungelt also has its own legends. According to one legend, a handsome and rich Turk arrived and was accommodated in a local tavern. He fell in love with the keeper's daughter and they arranged to be wed, but the keeper's daughter did not want to leave Prague. The rich Turk returned to his country, needing to meet his obligations, promising to return for her. Time passed by and the girl married a different man, because she thought the Turk dead. But he came back and murdered the girl when he found her remarried. The legend says that, to this day, he keeps coming back to Ungelt and, with her chopped-off head in his hand, wanders in the cellars.
In one of the coffee shops in this courtyard, such personalities of Czech history as František Palacký or Josef Kajetán Tyl used to meet. Today, the former medieval market became a cultural historical center. One can find here, for example, a theater, gallery, shops and a restaurant.
Thanks to the Grand Hotel Praha, surrounded by the most important sights of Old Prague, including Týn Courtyard, you can admire this old place first hand.
Prague Jewish Town was settled at the 10th century between the area of Charles Bridge, Vltava river and the old Town Square as the most important Jewish community in Czech. The Jewish Quarter had its own judiciary and government and was included in 1850 into city of Prague and was called Josefov in memory of the Emperor Joseph II. The largest Jewish economic and cultural center in Europe was Prague's Jewish Quarter in the Jewish Town. Recently it is the oldest kept functional synagogue in Europe which serves for spiritual purposes. Economically and culturally the most prosperous times of the Jews were between 16th and 17th centuries. Many public and private buildings were built. The most impressive were the Maisel Synagogue, the Hall, Pinkas Synagogue and many others. The main builder of the Jewish ghetto and the richest man Morchedai Maisel is well known to every Jewish inhabitant until now. Rabbi Yehudah ben Bezalel Livi, named Loew, is also well known as the creator of the Golem statue as well as the astronomer Jacob and Joseph Solomon Delmedigo Bassevi. All the famous citizens of the ghetto were buried at the Old Jewish Cemetery.
The golden age of the Jewish Town was over at the 17th century due to epidemic of plague. Another relapse came at the 18th century with the antisemitism policy of the state establishment. The 19th century brought the decadence time to the Jewish Quarter. Therefor the government decided to erect almost the entire original ghetto. Even many important buildings and synagogues, palaces and private houses were destroyed, the Baroque Town Hall, the Old-New Synagogue, Pinkas, Maisel, Klaus, High, Spanish Synagogues, The Old Cemetery were preserved until today.
The Jewish Museum which shows historical and artistic valuable objects from demolished synagogues, private houses and palaces was established in 1906.
The oldest well preserved Gothic synagogue in the Central Europe is the Old-New Synagogue. The main religious offices are still held here.
The main headquarter for the Czech Jewish community is at the Jewish Town Hall.
It is very famous building especially for the clock with hands going in opposite direction and Hebrew numerals. Pinkas Synagogue is well known due to its wall with 80.000 jew names from Bohemia and Moravia, who died during World War II in concentration camps.
Behind the Old Jewish Cemetery there was established Klaus Synagogue, by Mordechaiem Maisel in 1689 and later burned to the ground and reconstructed in
the 19th century again.
Spanish Synagogue was brought in by architect Ignac Ulmann and Josef Niklas between years 1867 and 1868.
It shows history of the Czech Jewish community.