THE OLD TOWN SQUARE

The square is the beating heart and the centre of the Old Town and the world's architectural treasure, which combines various periods and styles in incredible harmony and beauty.
Today the square is located at the crossroads of trade routes, where since the 11th century buyers from different parts of Europe have met and they exchanged diverse goods at the local renowned market. We can admire the remains of the oldest Romanesque Old Town palaces in the basements of the current buildings, for instance in today's wineries and restaurants. Frequent floods from the near Vltava caused that the level of the square to lift gradually. The square is surrounded by houses and palaces of different styles. We can only admire a few of them, for example, on the eastern side of the square the Goltz-Kinský palace was built in the mid-18th century by Anselm Lurag in Rococo style. Beside it stands a purely Gothic Stone Bell House and then on the southeast side stands a Neo-Renaissance Štorch House from the late 19th century that depicts St. Vaclav. The next house, translated as “At Unicorn” has the original portal from 1520 and on the north side of the square there are palaces, whose current appearance dates from the late 19th century, which was a period of restoration of the Jewish Town. The square was a real commercial and social centre where festivals and tournaments were held, as well as coronation processions that passed through here and made history.
The Thirty Years' War began in Prague on May 1618, due to the uprising of the Czech Estates (the nobility and the bourgeoisie) against the Habsburgs. The Old Town Square was a sad witness to the so-called Old Town Execution on 21.06.1621, which ended the first phase of the European conflict when twenty-seven leaders of the Czech uprising against Habsburg was executed on the square. It was a very cruel and exemplar trial for its age and twelve of the beheaded heads hung off the tower on the Charles Bridge for ten years. As a memorial of these executions there are twenty-seven crosses on the pavement in front of the Town Hall chapel. Looking at the Old Town Hall from the centre of the square, it is obvious that the part of the Town Hall building, which was completed in the neo-Gothic style in the late 19th century, was destroyed by the bombing at the end of the Second World War.
The Old Town Square remains as a cultural and touristic centre where concerts and markets are held, for example, the Christmas markets. It is also a place where Czech people like to gather and cheer for the sportsmen and where they possibly welcome back the winners after a match, especially for the ice hockey team.

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