Prague Minos Guide

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New Town

New within the old – slightly forgotten part of Prague
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Let´s explore the city´s pulse. In fact, Prague New Town is today an important administrative as well as commercial part of town . It might not be so obvious but the New Town has deep roots. It was founded by Charles the Fourth in 1348 and so the largest historical town of Prague was created joining together settlements and areas between them. It was a unique decision of medieval urbanism, which is even today appropriate to the needs of a modern capital. During your tour,

you will discover the Gothic church of the Virgin Mary Sněžná. We will talk about the Baroque style. Wenceslas Square will remind us of the Prague Spring events. Národní Street will remind us of the Velvet Revolution, which ended the Communist era in our country allowing for Democracy to develop. If you want to see modern architecture, we will guide you to the Tančící Dům (Dancing House). We will also show you places many tourists, to their misfortune, don´t see.



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0.0km / 3.209km 1. Republic Square

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You are now standing on the Republic Square in front of the Powder Gate dating from the 15th century and representative of the main Old Town gates. It is connected to the "Obecní Dům" (Municipal House), a popular Art Nouveau building constructed between 1905 and 1911. It is here that the independence of Czechoslovakia was solemnly proclaimed, hence the name Republic Square. The Obecní Dům is a cultural centre. We recommend visiting the Art Nouveau coffeehouse on the left side

on the ground floor. The Classic-Style Building u Hybernů now houses a musical theatre. The pink front of former barracks from the 19th century now conceals a shopping centre .
In front of the main building of the Czech National Bank begins the street called Na Příkopě that leads all the way to Wenceslas Square (Mustek). Next to the Powder Gate is the building of "Komerční Banka" (Commercial Bank) from 1930 - 1932. Walk through the Powder Gate and enter the Old Town.

0.213km / 3.209km 2. Na Příkopě Street

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The Na Příkopě Street separates the Old Town from the New Town. It was created in the 18th century when the fortification moat was filled up. When the underground was built, the street was made pedestrian. There are many offices, banks and stores. It is one of the most expensive streets in Prague.
The Classicist church of St. Cross was built for the Piarists Order. In the adjacent Panská Street is the Mucha's Museum, a renowned Czech Art Nouveau painter. If you like Art Nouveau, just have a go, you won´t regret it. The commercial bank is adjacent to

the Building u Černé Růže from the 19th century. On the first floor is the Moser shop, the most prestigious glass producer in the Czech Republic based in Karlovy Vary. In the shop there is beautiful, handmade glass, magnificent interior with coffered ceiling, windowpanes, chandeliers, and a glazed-tile stove. The new Myslbek Building (1994-1996) is decorated with a mobile gate, which symbolically represents the link between the Old Town and the New Town, as it is possible to cross over through the commercial arcade into the neighboring Old Town.

0.587km / 3.209km 3. Můstek

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The name "Můstek" (Little Bridge) reminds us that there was in this place a small medieval stone bridge, which used to be over the trench of the fortification walls. Today, its remains decorates the vestibule of the underground station. The Wenceslas Square, the largest thoroughfare in Prague, runs all the way to the National Museum. It is 682 meters long and 62 meters wide. The square was originally used as a horse market. It is an important shopping area, busy, lively and it plays an important part in Prague social life. It has also witnessed many significant political events. After the construction of the underground, trams stopped running up and

down the square and the middle part is now for pedestrians only.
The Art Nouveau Palace Koruna was built between 1911 and 1912 for the needs of the Czech insurance company Koruna. Functionalist department store Baťa from 1928 to 1929 proves the high level of the Czech architecture of that time. The Bata company started in this country in the town of Zlin and has now subsidiaries all over the world. The Building u Zlatého Úlu, originally a Gothic structure, acquired its today's appearance after a Baroque-Classic reconstruction. The 28th of October Street continues the pedestrian zone from the Na Příkopě Street in the direction of the Národní Street.

0.652km / 3.209km 4. Wenceslas Square

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The Wenceslas Square is connected to important political events. On October 28th 1918, the independence of our country was spontaneously declared here during a public assembly, as well as the abolition of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, hence our national holiday being on October 28th. During the August invasion in 1968, Soviet tanks shot at the National Museum. Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc burned themselves to death on this square, as a protest against the coming "Normalization" and growing lethargy of our nation. Václav Havel gave a speech from the

balcony of the Melantrich Palace during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. It is still the place to have a demonstration or a strike.
The Art Nouveau hotel Evropa (café inside is recommended because of its typical Art Nouveau interior) as well as the Meran have the most famous facades. The Neo-Renaissance Wiehl Building is decorated following the graphic artistic designs of painter M. Aleš. Across there is the building called "Ledový Palác" (Ice Palace), built in late Art Nouveau with Cubist elements by architect Blecha between 1911 and 1912.

0.946km / 3.209km 5. Lucerna Palace

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The Lucerna Palace was built between 1907 and 1915 following the owner, architect Václav Havel´s project (grandfather of the President Václav Havel), in cooperation with Mr. Bechyně. The palace is a complex of Art Nouveau buildings with arcades and atriums, a movie theatre (the first cinema one at the Wenceslas Square and one of the oldest ones in Prague, still operating today), and with a large dancing and concert hall. It is the first iron-concrete structure in Prague. It was designed to integrate several functions – to provide suitable space for commerce, living,

social establishments, and cultural events. The palace was returned to the Havel family after 1989.
In 2000, a sculpture by David Černý was installed in front of the movie theatre. The author was inspired by the Myslbek's riding statue on Wenceslas Square. It is an interesting invigoration of the arcade, which makes people smile and entices them to take photographs. You can also stop at the Art Nouveau arcade named Rokoko, which has beautiful relief decorations, was one of the first to be renovated in Prague after 1989. It accommodates the famous theatre Rokoko.

1.15km / 3.209km 6. Franciscan Garden

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A relief double-wing gate leads to the Franciscan Garden. The gate´s decoration takes inspiration from St. Francis of Assisi. The gate belongs to the Franciscan Monastery, a single-floor Baroque structure from the 17th century. The Order of Franciscans was reinstated here after 1989. The Franciscans are now using the church of the Virgin Mary Sněžná. It is the highest church in Prague, which can be seen best from the garden.
The garden will pleasantly surprise you with its quietness right in the middle of a busy city. The Prague residents use the garden as a shortcut from the Wenceslas Square to

the Jungmann Square. The garden was founded in the 14th century. An original Baroque garden pavilion has been preserved. The garden appearance changed after reconstruction work in the nineties of the 20th century. The garden pavilion now features a herb garden plot reminiscent of previous similar garden plots. The new flowers are very striking especially the roses. The park was given new sculptures, for example a fountain featuring a child figure. The sculpture is called "Davídek u Dětského Hřiště" (Little David at Children's Playground). The Juliš Hotel built in 1931 is visible from the garden.

1.403km / 3.209km 7. Jungmann Square

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Josef Jungmann bronze statue stands in the center of the square. He was a renowned 19th century Czech linguist and author of a Czech-German Dictionary. The Adrie Palace was built for the Italian Insurance Company Réunione Adriatica di Scurta in a Cubist style between 1923 and 1924. The architect named Janák got inspiration from the Venice Renaissance architecture. The facade is decorated with a group sculpture named "Mořeplavba" (Ocean Cruise) by sculptor Štursa. The theatre Laterna Magika was created here

and so was the Velvet-Revolution Civic Forum, his main representative was Václav Havel. The department store ARA from 1927-1931 now houses banking institutions.
We recommend you take a turn into the passage near the monument to get to the Virgin Mary Sněžná church. The Gothic architecture is impressive and so is the Baroque main altar, the largest in Prague. Another little turn will take you to a Cubist street lamp from 1913, that stands in front of the portal showing the crowning of the Virgin Mary.

1.631km / 3.209km 8. Máj

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The Národní Street was created in the 18th century when a trench was filled up. It is a busy commercial street. On November 17th 1989, the Communists violently ended a peaceful student demonstration here. In the 14th century, the Empire Palace Platýz was the Burgundy Grand Dukes palace. Today´s appearance comes from 19th century rebuilding.

century architecture is represented by the Maj department store (today's Tesco). The project by Czechoslovak architects was realized in the seventies by a Swedish construction company. After the Velvet Revolution, there were attempts to demolish the building; however, it was preserved as a monument of the seventies.

1.895km / 3.209km 9. Monument to the Velvet Revolution

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The distinctive two-floor, High Baroque Schirdinger Palace ( named after J. A. Schirdinger of Schirding who was one of the owners) is called the "Kaňkův Dům" (Kaňka's House) because Mr. Kaňka used to live there, a renowned benefactor, collector, attorney and grandson of a famous Baroque architect. The Czech Bar Association has its headquarters here. A bronze memorial plaque (installed in 1990 and designed by O. Příhoda) bears the date of November 17th 1989 showing human hands. It was installed in the place where police violently intervened to stop a peaceful student demonstration on November 17th 1989,

hundreds of people were injured during the brutal intervention. The work of art evokes the shouting of the demonstrators: "We have bare hands".
The demonstration launched the Velvet Revolution, which led to the end of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and to the start of democracy in our country. How was the name "Velvet Revolution" derived? Because it happened without fighting and violence, without human victims, it was soft, a bit like velvet. November 17th is a Czech Republic state holiday. Each year on that day, people stop by, take time to remember the event, light candles, put flowers.

2.347km / 3.209km 10. Masaryk Embankment

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The Masaryk Embankment bears the name of the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. He was one of the founders of independent Czechoslovakia, and you can see his portrait on the Czech 5,000 ČK banknote. A walk along the embankment will present you with a number of buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. All along you can

enjoy a nice view of the Prague Castle. The Goethe Institute is a renowned Art Nouveau structure from 1905.
A short bridge leads to the Slovanský Island, formerly known as Žofín. The island has the Slovanský House from the 19th century, which is today used for cultural events. You can rent a boat and cruise the Vltava river if you feel like it.

2.591km / 3.209km 11. Mánes

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The Functionalist Mánes Building was opened in 1930. It is one of the most beautiful exemples of such architecture in our country and in Europe. It was built for the needs of the Mánes Artist Association (founded in 1898), which put together several generations of Czech painters, sculptors, architects, and art historians. Among international members we find for instance A. Rodin, P. Picasso, M. Chagall, Le Corbusier, and many others. The building was named after the painter Josef Mánes, who for example

decorated the calendar plate of the Old Town Astronomical Clock. The Mánes Building houses regularly outstanding art exhibitions.
From the restaurant overlooking the Vltava, one enjoys a unique view of the Prague Castle and of the National Theatre. Václav Havel organized one of the first press conferences in the Mánes Building during the Velvet Revolution. The Šítkov Water Tower used to deliver water to the New Town fountains until 1847 via wooden pipes. The Mánes Building was refurbished in 2008.

2.82km / 3.209km 12. Dancing House

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The building by architects Milunič and Gehry was the object of numerous discussions already before its completion in 1996. It represents "Ginger and Fred", the legendary dancers Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, they were famous stars in Hollywood musicals in the thirties and forties of the 20th century. Fred Astaire is represented by the concrete tower, Ginger by the glass tower. The glass tower is bent so as not to block the view from the next door building. At the top of the "Fred Astaire" tower there is a dome made of metal pipes and stainless-steel mesh that represents

his hair.
The building is asymmetric and its windows are not at the same heights. A luxurious restaurant named La Perle de Prague is situated on the upper floor. Architect Milunič was asked why was such a modern house built in this place, near the historical heart of Prague and answered as follows: "There is a so-called mixed Prague architecture at this spot – The Mánes Building, Gothic Water Tower, Baroque Church in Resslova Street, Art Nouveau, Etc." The building received the prestigious Time Magazine Award. You can see it very well from the Jirásek Bridge.

3.057km / 3.209km 13. Monument to the Paratroopers

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The Baroque Church of St. Cyrillus & St. Methodius has been used by the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church since the year of 1935. The undercroft of the church was the hiding place of the paratroopers, who, during World War II assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the German Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia Protectorate. His death initiated infamous actions by the Nazis. As a result, thousands of people were murdered or taken to concentration camps, and the villages of Lidice and Ležáky were burned to the ground.
On June 18, 1942, the Gestapo found the refuge of the paratroopers, surrounded, they committed suicides.

It was one of the biggest acts of the Czechoslovak resistance during World War II. The memorial plaque bears the names of the paratroopers and the portrait reliefs of their protectors. There is a monument to the resistance movement in the crypt. The church of St. Wenceslas at Zderaz is Gothic (it was originally a parish church within the municipality of Zderaz, becoming part of the church area after the foundation of the New Town. Both churches stand at elevated points and reveal the original level of the street, which was lowered during the renovation of the vicinity at the end of the 19th century.

3.198km / 3.209km 14. Charles Square (Karlovo namesti)

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Even at the time when the New Town was being planned, Charles Square was designed to be the city’s largest public open space. The New Town Hall was built on one side and the square became the largest market in the New Town. Its initial name was Cattle Market, but the current one commemorates its founder Emperor Charles IV. In the 19th century, a beautiful park was set on Prague’s biggest square, which covers 80.550m2. The park includes numerous rare trees and statues of personalities from the Czech history. The St Ignatius Church, used by the Jesuits, dates from the 17th century and is adorned with the magnificent statue of said saint

on a mandorla. The former Jesuit New Town school now houses a hospital. Faust’s house is surrounded by legends about Doctor Faust who is said to have been carried away by the devil through a hole in the ceiling. The legend was probably created among others because the English alchemist and adventurer Edward Kelly used to live in the house since 1590. The building of the Czech Technical University houses the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The Pseudo-Classicist building of the Municipal Court stands next to the New Town Hall that dates from the 14th century. It is used by the Prague 2 city council and its tower is open to the public.

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