The Hradčany is an independent town that originated in 1320. After the Old Town and the Lesser Town it was the third independent town in Prague. The centre of this independent town, which was subject to the burgrave of the Prague Castle, is today’s Hradčanské Square. The fire of 1541 destroyed the whole area and so, similar to those in the Lesser Town, the ostentatious palaces were mostly built in the Renaissance or Baroque style. The presence of the imperial court, during the reign of Rudolf II., increased the exclusivity of this construction site. Today’s Hradčany is considered to be the quiet part of Prague with picturesque spots and parks. In the middle of the square the Marian column, by Maxmilán Brokoff, is located with a statue of the Virgin Mary. The Nerudova Street ends at the south side of the square and there is also an observation terrace with a beautiful view of the city. To mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, the statue of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, was placed in front of the Salmovský Palace in 2000.