Prague Sights

Full of fairy-tale vistas, Prague is beautiful in a way that makes even the most jaded traveler stop and snap pictures. The city is physically divided in two by the Vltava River (also sometimes known by its German name, the Moldau), which runs from south to north with a single sharp turn to the east.

Originally, Prague was composed of five independent towns: Hradčany (the Castle Area),

Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter), Staré Město (Old Town), Nové Město (New Town), and Josefov (Jewish Quarter), and these areas still make up the heart of Prague—what you think of when picturing its famed winding cobblestone streets and squares.

Hradčany, the seat of Czech royalty for hundreds of years, centers on the Pražský hrad (Prague Castle)—itself the site of the president's office. A cluster of white buildings yoked around the pointed steeples of a chapel, Prague Castle overlooks the city from a hilltop west of the Vltava River. Steps lead down from Hradčany to the Lesser Quarter, an area dense with ornate mansions built for the 17th- and 18th-century nobility.

The looming Karlův most (Charles Bridge) connects the Lesser Quarter with the Old Town. Old Town is hemmed in by the curving Vltava and three large commercial avenues: Revoluční to the east, Na příkopě to the southeast, and Národní třída to the south. A few blocks east of the bridge is the district's focal point: Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square), a former medieval marketplace laced with pastel-color baroque houses—easily one of the most beautiful central squares in Europe. To the north of Old Town Square the diminutive Jewish Quarter fans out around a tony avenue called Pařížská.

Beyond the former walls of the Old Town, the New Town fills in the south and east. The name "new" is a misnomer—New Town was laid out in the 14th century. (It's new only when compared with the neighboring Old Town.) Today this mostly commercial district includes the city's largest squares, Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) and Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square).

Roughly 1 km (½ mile) south of Karlovo náměstí, along the Vltava, stands what’s left of the ancient castle of Vyšehrad high above the river. On a promontory to the east of Václavské náměstí stretches Vinohrady, the home of Prague's well-to-do professional set. Bordering Vinohrady are the scruffier neighborhoods of Žižkov to the north and Nusle to the south. On the west bank of the Vltava lie many older residential neighborhoods and several parks. About 3 km (2 miles) from the center in every direction, communist-era housing projects, called paneláks, begin their unsightly sprawl.

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Staré Město (Old Town) 24

Nové Město (New Town) and Vyšehrad 15

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Nové Město (New Town) 13

Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter) 15

Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle) 11

Josefov (Jewish Quarter) 10

Letná, Holešovice, and Troja 8

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Holešovice 3

Letná 2

Troja 3

Hradčany (Castle Area) 6

Vinohrady and Žižkov 4

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Vinohrady 2

Žižkov 2

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 1

Arts/ Performance Venue 4

Building/ Architectural Site 11

Castle/ Palace/ Chateau 1

Cemetery 2

Fountain 1

Garden/ Arboretum 4

Library/ Archive 2

Museum/ Gallery 18

Neighborhood/ Street 7

Park/ Playground 4

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 10

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 19

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 2

Zoo/ Aquarium 1

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Prague Sights

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Klausová synagóga

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This baroque synagogue displays objects from Czech Jewish traditions, with an emphasis on celebrations and daily life. The synagogue...

Les Moules

Crave a culinary change from constant meat and potatoes? Try the Belgian-styled bistro Les Moules, at the end of Maiselova. There's a...

Maiselova synagóga

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

The history of Czech Jews from the 10th to the 18th century is illustrated, accompanied by some of the Prague Jewish Museum's most precious...

Pinkasova synagóga

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Here you'll find two moving testimonies to the appalling crimes perpetrated against the Jews during World War II. One astounds by sheer...

Rudolfinum

  • Arts/Performance Venue

This 19th-century neo-Renaissance monument has some of the cleanest, brightest stonework in the city. Designed by Josef Zítek and Josef...

Staronová synagóga

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Dating from the mid-13th century, this is the oldest functioning synagogue in Europe and one of the most important works of early Gothic...

Starý židovský hřbitov

  • Cemetery

An unforgettable sight, this cemetery is where all Jews living in Prague from the 15th century to 1787 were laid to rest. The lack of...

Uměleckoprůmyslové museum v Praze

  • Museum/Gallery

In a custom-built art nouveau building from 1897, this wonderfully laid-out museum of exquisite local prints, books, ceramics, textiles,...

Španělská synagóga

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This domed, Moorish-style synagogue was built in 1868 on the site of an older synagogue, the Altschul. Here the historical exposition...

Židovská radnice

  • Building/Architectural Site

The hall was the creation of Mordechai Maisel, an influential Jewish leader at the end of the 16th century. Restored in the 18th century,...

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