15. 11. 2013
Did you know that when Czech king Charles IV founded New Town in Prague in 1348, it was the largest building site in medieval Europe?
Charles IV had very serious intentions regarding New Town. This is clear from the care which he devoted to this newly founded Prague quarter. While Hradčany, Old Town and Lesser Town were overcrowded and built up to almost the last square meter, New Town opened up new life perspectives to the people.
Popular medieval symbolism
In an area bounded by 3.5 km long ramparts and bigger than all three of the city’s older districts put together, the king had three marketplaces laid out, today’s Charles, Wenceslas and Senovážné squares, and a carefully planned network of streets. As in the case of Charles Bridge, the emperor was a stickler for symbolism, and thus the religious buildings of New Town were (and still are) like an imaginary cross. At the end of the longer arm stands the Church of St. Catherine and Mary Na Slupi, and the line can be extended up to the Basilica at Vyšehrad. The cross arm is represented by a line between the monastery Na Slovanech and the Church of St Mary and St. Charles the Great on Charles Square. Both axes intersect at the Church of St. Apollinaire. Could this pious monarch have found a better way to bestow heavenly blessings on New Town?
Interesting corners of New Town
Without having to leave New Town, you can see Slovanský ostrov, admire the National Theater and walk up to Wenceslas Square with its impressive National Museum. Also worth seeing is the ancient Petrská Quarter, Podskalí pod Vyšehrad and Charles Square with New Town Hall and the renowned Faust House. While walking along the Vltava embankment, you will discover Dancing House, the symbol of modern Prague architecture and the Manes Exhibition Hall adjacent to the Renaissance water tower.