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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Stare Mesto (Old Town) 21

Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter) 16

Nove Mesto (New Town) and Vyšehrad 14

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Nove Mesto (New Town) 12

Vyšehrad 2

Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle) 11

Josefov (Jewish Quarter) 9

Letna, Holešovice, and Troja 8

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Holešovice 3

Letna 2

Troja 3

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

Information Center 1

Library/ Archive 2

Museum/ Gallery 17

Neighborhood/ Street 6

Park/ Playground 4

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 9

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 17

Restaurant–Sight 1

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 2

Zoo/ Aquarium 1

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Prague Sights

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Clam-Gallas palác

  • Museum/Gallery

The work of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, the famed Viennese baroque virtuoso of the day, is showcased in this earth-tone palace.

Franz Kafka Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

The great early-20th-century Jewish author Kafka wasn't considered Czech and he wrote in German, but he lived in Prague nearly his entire...

Klášter svaté Anežky České

  • Museum/Gallery

Near the river between Pařížská and Revoluční streets, in the northeastern corner of the Old Town, this peaceful complex has Prague's...

Lapidárium

  • Museum/Gallery

A fascinating display of 11th- to 19th-century sculptures rescued from torn-down buildings (or the vicissitudes of Prague's weather)...

Leica Gallery

  • Museum/Gallery

On a gracefully curving side street, a short walk from Wenceslas Square, this café-cum–photo exhibition space (three small rooms'...

Lobkovický palác

  • Museum/Gallery

Greatly benefiting from a recent renovation, this palace is a showcase for baroque and rococo styling. Exhibits trace the ancestry of...

Mucha Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

For decades it was almost impossible to find an Alfons Mucha original in his homeland, but in 1998 this private museum opened with nearly...

Museum Kampa

  • Museum/Gallery

The spotlighted jewel on Kampa Island is a remodeled flour mill that displays a private collection of paintings by Czech artist František...

Muzeum Antonína Dvořáka

  • Museum/Gallery

The stately red-and-yellow baroque villa housing this museum displays the 19th-century Czech composer's scores, photographs, viola, piano,...

Muzeum hlavního města Prahy

  • Museum/Gallery

This museum is dedicated to the history of the city, and though it's technically in Nové Město, it's relatively easy to reach from...

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