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.