A visit to Prague must begin at Staroměstské Náměstí, its most famous square, where you will immediately spot the Old Town Hall (Staromestská Radnice in Czech), a row of colourful Gothic and Renaissance buildings. With its famous astronomical clock, it is certainly one of the most striking monuments in the Czech capital.
The second thing you will notice are the large groups of tourists who gather outside the town hall: they are not queuing for a guided tour, but rather are waiting for the spectacle that takes place punctually on the hour between 9am and 11pm, when a procession of wooden apostles parade out of the clock and greet the crowds.
It is definitely an overused event, yet it still retains the charm of yesteryear and will not fail to amaze even the most cynical and disenchanted traveller.
Don’t stop to admire the clock with your nose in the air: the interior of the town hall has numerous treasures and surprises waiting to be discovered.
The guided tour of the Old Town Hall allows you to visit the historical rooms, the tower and the basement.
You’ll be glad you paid the ticket, especially for the exceptional view of Prague you can enjoy from the top of the tower. To get to the top you won’t have to struggle: there is a convenient lift. The other reason why so many tourists visit the Town Hall is the chance to get a close look at the mechanism that makes the wooden apostles move at the stroke of each hour.
Some rooms in the town hall are used as exhibition spaces. Two of these, the Cloisters and the Knights’ Hall on the first floor, are managed by the Prague City Hall. On the fourth floor is the Architects’ Hall, used for temporary exhibitions organised by the Prague City Development Department.
Also located within the Old Town Hall is Prague’s main tourist information centre, open 365 days a year, which you can contact free of charge to organise your visits to the city.
If you are short on time but would like to take a complete tour of Prague’s Old Town, take part in a guided tour: for just a few euros more you will have an official guide at your disposal who will accompany you on a discovery tour of Prague’s historical centre.
Numerous commemorative plaques are affixed to the outside walls of the town hall. The events and historical figures commemorated are:
Founded in 1338 as the seat of the Old Town‘s autonomous administration, the Town Hall continued to incorporate new buildings over the centuries. The Gothic part is therefore the oldest part of the Town Hall.
All the buildings were restored after the Nazi period, with the exception of the neo-Gothic eastern wing of the Town Hall: destroyed during the Prague Uprising on 8 May 1945, it was never rebuilt.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.