The first Romanic Church of St. Václav was built on the square in the 10th century. The square served as a marketplace and a public area but it also had a pillory and gallows. The original Romanic church was replaced by the Gothic parish church in 1283 and this church was dedicated to St. Nicholas. The Square had undergone a fundamental change, as well as the entire Lesser Town, after the fire in 1541. After 1620 the square was literally seized by Jesuits. They were given the Church of St. Nicolas and they also bought most of the properties and houses. They set up a primary school and a gymnasium at the parish. The existing unsatisfactory facilities and their adequate financial backing allowed the Jesuits to prepare a plan to build a new Baroque church and college.
Today’s square consists of the top and the bottom parts, which are split by the Church of St. Nicolas with the adjacent Jesuit house of professors. The Kaiserštejn Palace is located on the east side of the bottom part and it was the home of the world known singer, Ema Destinová. Next to it there is a former town hall of the Lesser Town, today’s Malostranská Beseda – and it was a place for concerts and theatre. The Smiřický Palace and The Palace Sternberg, which are part of the Parliament complex, are situated in the northern side of the bottom part of the square.
The square had different names throughout history, for example: The Rink or Lesser Town Rynek, and for a long time it was also named after the Marshal Radetzky. The statue of this genius Austrian military leader, which came from Bohemia, was located at the bottom part of the square until 1919. In the top part there are the Lichtenstein Palace and the Palace of Hartig – the house of the Music Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU). In the middle stands the Plague Column of the Holy Trinity, and it was designed by Giovanni Batista Alliprandi in 1717 as a memoriam of the recent plague.
In the end you should note that the square is literally surrounded by famous Lesser Town pubs and cafés that contributed to the atmosphere of the square and you should not miss out on visiting them.