The most important square, the center of Old Town, a quarter of Prague, is the Old Town Square. Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings have been preserved here. It is located between Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. It is surrounded by historical buildings such as the Old Town City Hall with the famous Astronomical Clock, the imposing St. Nicholas Church and Church of Our Lady before Tyn, and many houses and palaces of various architectural styles and colorful history. Since the middle ages, when it was a market place at the crossing of European merchant roads it has been a center of Prague Old Town. It became a UNESCO-listed site in 1992.
The Old Town Square was founded in the 10 th century as a place, where various goods from faraway countries were sold. It had many names during the centuries: the oldest known name is the Big Square, then it was the Old Market in the 13 th century, later for example The Old Town Place or the Large Old Town Square. The present name is from the end of the 19 th century. The Old Town City Hall was built in the 14 th century and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn a little later.
Parades used to go through the Old Town Square to the Prague Castle since 1311 but also tragic events, such as executions, took place here as well.
One of the most popular gathering places in Prague is at the Astronomical Clock located on a side tower of the Old Town Hall. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still in operation. You can always find a large group of tourists standing around waiting for something to happen!
There is a legend about the clock which says that the original master builder of its interior clockworks was blinded by the King who commissioned it after the work was completed so that the craftsman could never build such a wonderful clock for someone else.