The historic heart of this city right in the heart of Europe is an exceptionally valuable urban monument zone. This is why part of Prague (Hradčany and Prague Castle, Malá Strana, the Old Town including the Charles Bridge and Josefov, the New Town and Vyšehrad) were entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
And what is so interesting about the historical centre of Prague? Its overall layout. Narrow zigzagging streets opening out into little squares dominated by religious buildings of which the oldest date back to the Romanesque period. The Old Town, however, is mainly Gothic and its majestic Gothic churches together with its magnificent town houses have led to it becoming known as 'Stone Prague'.
In other places, we can find Renaissance palaces and Baroque, Neo-Classical, Art Nouveau as well as functionalist Cubism styles have all also had their say here. It is all sensitively melded together in one whole which can be admired over many long days without ever becoming boring.
The River Vltava and its bridges also play a fundamental role. The oldest and best-known bridge is the Charles Bridge, which was built by Emperor Charles IV, who played a major role in setting Prague's current layout. The pious sovereign considered Prague the European parallel to the holy city of Jerusalem.
Prague Castle, rising above the whole city, dominates all its landmarks. From time immemorial, it was the place from which rulers governed the Czech lands, and it remains so today. Hradčany, the largest castle in the whole world, is where the President of the Czech Republic resides. The castle itself and its St. Vitus' Cathedral is one of the symbols of the Czech nation, as well as being one of the most visited tourist sites in the whole country.
What to see?
Prague Castle holds a number of records. First of all, it is the largest castle in the world, entered in the Guinness Book of Records. It is also the most visited Czech monument among tourists. It is the most important of Czech castles, because from time immemorial it has been the residence of sovereigns, and currently the President. It is also undoubtedly the most beautiful castle in the Czech Republic. Prague Castle is unparalleled in the Czech Republic in all respects and visiting it is a 'duty' for all tourists.
Charles Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and the oldest bridge in Prague. It is almost 10m wide, 516m long and rests on 16 arches.Towers guard both ends of the bridge - the Old Town Bridge Tower and two Malá Strana Bridge Towers.
Cathedral of SS Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert
The Cathedral SS Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert dominates Prague Castle. It is the largest and most important of Prague's places of worship and a spiritual symbol of the Czech state. The Gothic Cathedral we see today is the third church to be built on the site - the first building to stand here was a Romanesque rotunda, then came a triple-nave basilica, and in 1344 Charles IV ordered work to begin on the construction of a Gothic cathedral.
The Old Town Astronomical Clock dating from the 15th century is one of the most treasured and best-known of Prague's historical sites. It can be found on the side of the Gothic tower of the Old Town Hall. The Astronomical Clock is a one of the best examples of Czech Gothic technology and a prized work of art.