Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic, is bisected by the Vltava River. Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it's known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. Completed in 1402, pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with statues of Catholic saints.
Located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge, Prague’s Old Town Square is often bursting with tourists and locals in the summer. Czech’s long history is exemplified in the medley of architectural styles: Romanesque, Baroque, Rococo, Gothic and Renaissance are all represented in the superb buildings around the square. Soaring Gothic towers that rise from Tyn Cathedral contrasts with the Baroque style of St. Nicholas while Old Town Hall consists of a collection of Gothic and Renaissance buildings.
Towering above the city is Prague Castle, more of a sprawling complex than a single defensive building. The castle buildings span centuries and consists of a royal palace, a cathedral and three churches, a basilica, a monastery, defensive towers, royal stables, a tiny lane where craftsmen worked and magnificent gardens. Prague Castle began as a wooden fortress with earthen bulwarks in the 9th century; by the 11th century, it included a royal palace and the 14th century saw the beginning of St. Vitus Cathedral.
You can find the Old Town Hall right in the heart of old town Prague. You’ll know you’ve found it by the gathering crowds at the base of its gothic tower where every hour between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. the 12 Apostles appear on the astronomical clock. The appearance only lasts a moment, but the crowd will roar with applause for the amazing mechanical show. It’s made all the more impressive by the fact that this building was first established back in 1338 and served as the seat of the old town administration. Take a guided tour of its tower and underground areas for a small fee.
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