European Quartet One Melody

The capital city of Prague is a true gem of the Czech Republic. Its historical centre, spreading out over an area of 866ha, is the most important urban monument zone in the Czech Republic and is rightly protected by UNESCO. The historical centre includes the unique urban area of Prague Castle and Hradčany, the Lesser Town including the famous Charles Bridge, the Old Town with Josefov (the preserved part of the former Jewish Town), the New Town, Vyšehrad and their individual monuments. The unique nature of the historical centre of Prague consists in how well preserved and compact it is – a walk through the romantic corners here thus becomes a journey through history.
Prague - Vrtbovska garden  © COEX.czPrague - Charles Bridge  © Dagmar VeselkováPrague - Old Town Square  © Martin Mařák
Prague - Powder Tower and Municipal House  © Pavel HrochPrague - Cubist villa  © Pavel HrochPrague  © Ladislav Renner

One of the most famous tourist routes through Prague, which copies the ancient Royal Way, also leads through the historical centre. This starts on the picturesque Old Town Square, lined with Gothic and Renaissance houses. The square boasts the Gothic Old Town Hall with one of the most famous astronomical clocks in the world. This dates back to the beginning of the 15th century and crowds of people gather in front of it every hour on the hour to see the 12 apostles peering out of the little windows, as well as the moving figures of Vanity, Greed, Death and a Turk.
According to legend, the astronomical clock was created by the master craftsman Hanuš who was blinded immediately afterwards so that he could not build an astronomical clock as beautiful as this anywhere else in the world. The master craftsman did however get his revenge on his lords by stopping the clock with one intervention and allegedly nobody was able to repair it for a hundred years. But there is no need for you to worry, the astronomical clock has been working like clockwork for decades and is the only one in the world so far to also measure Babylonian time – the ideal variable for those stressed by the traditional sixty minute hour. According to the ancient Babylonians, although time does have two times 12 hours in the day, these are fitted in from sunrise until sunset, and this is why a Babylonian hour in summer could for example correspond to 81 minutes of a present-day European inhabitant’s time.
The Royal Way leads from the Old Town Square to the most famous and oldest bridge in Prague – the Charles Bridge – which bears the name of the eminent Czech king and Roman emperor Charles IV. The bridge was built in 1357 and offers a beautiful view of Prague Castle with the dominant Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and also of Petřín Hill, which is a popular place for romantic walks. Crossing over the bridge, you come into the Lesser Town from where you can cross the Lesser Town Square with the monumental Baroque Church of St. Nicholas and follow picturesque lanes right up to Prague Castle. In the Prague Castle complex, you will find the tombs of Czech kings and the precious Czech crown jewels as well, of course, as the unique Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral.
Points of Interest
The famous Charles Bridge in Prague was originally called the Stone Bridge, until in 1870 when it took the name of its founder, Charles IV. The Romanesque Judith Bridge stood on this site from the middle of the 12th century until the middle of the 14th century, but was destroyed by flooding in 1342. A provisional wooden bridge was then used for 15 years. Construction of the stone bridge began on 9 July 1357 at 5.31 am and the foundation stone was laid at that time by the emperor Charles IV himself. The precise date and time were chosen with a view to the conjunction of the Sun and Saturn, which according to a papal decree and astronomers, was the most suitable moment in the year. Try to write the year, month, date and time of the bridge’s foundation in a row. You will get an enclosed pyramid of numbers 135797531 (1357 years, 9 days, 7 months, 5 hours and 31 minutes).
Entry into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List: 1992
More information:

Czech Republic

Prague: Historical Centre: Location

GPS latitude/longitude: 50.08710 , 14.40719


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