Attractions in Prague
The Astronomical Clock in Prague's Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) is a popular attraction. The clock dates back to 1410, and in addition to the astronomical dial, it features the walk of the Apostles. Every hour on the hour, viewers can observe the apostles proceeding from windows of the clock. Death, represented as a skeleton, makes an appearance as well. This is the oldest astronomical clock still in working order.
Prague Castle is another historically important Prague attraction. With origins in the ninth century, the structure has been damaged and rebuilt a number of times over the centuries. As a result, the castle has elements of nearly every architectural style popular over the last thousand years in Europe. In modern times, Prague Castle served as communist headquarters and, most recently, seat for the country's head of state.
Adjacent to Prague Castle is Golden Lane, a narrow street of 16th century buildings that first housed King Rudolph II's castle guards and, in the 17th century, Prague's goldsmiths. Legend has it that this was once a street of alchemists, but in fact alchemists lived within the castle itself. Today, in addition to its historic interest, Golden Lane has a number of souvenir and bookshops.
Wenceslaus Square was originally known as Horse Square when Charles IV, King of Bohemia, built it in the 14th century. In the 19th century, its name was changed to Wenceslaus Square. In addition to its historic importance, the square was a site of important 20th century protests. In 1969 a student set himself on fire there to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of the country, while demonstrations that led to the overthrow of the communist government filled the square during 1989's Velvet Revolution.
Construction on the stunning Charles Bridge began in the 14th century, and today the stone pedestrian walkway bustles with artists and vendors. The bridge connects Prague Castle with the Old Town, and until the middle of the 19th century was the sole route of travel between the two. Thirty baroque statues, most from the 17th and 18th century, line the bridge on either side.
Prague's Jewish Quarter (Josefov) is the birthplace of writer Franz Kafka, and has six well-preserved synagogues as well as the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe with graves dating back 600 years. The Jewish Museum is located here as well.