The New Town is a district in the city of Prague, situated on the right bank of the Vltava River. It is bordered by Karlín, Žižkov, Vinohrady and Vyšehrad and separated from the Old Town by Revoluční Street. It includes Prague 1, 2 and 8 municipal districts. The New Town is the business centre of Prague, with a number of companies, banks and hotels. There are lots of important tourist attractions, shopping centres, theatres, cinemas and museums. The most visited places include Wenceslas Square with the statue of St Wenceslas, the National Museum, the National Theatre, the Dancing House and the New Town Hall.
In 1348, the New Town was founded by Charles IV, Czech King and Roman Emperor, on the site of a few old settlements. It was the most modern European town at the time. New church and residential buildings were built very fast and most craftsmen in Prague moved to the area.
From the second half of the 16th century until the Battle of White Mountain, which took place in 1620 during the Thirty Years’ War, the New Town experienced a very flourishing period. Mostly Renaissance houses were built at the time.
Together with the Old Town, the New Town was able to defend itself against Swedish raids. However, due to the great damage, a period of vast Baroque reconstruction began, with the aim of replacing the original damaged buildings.
By the end of the 18th century, the New Town was united into the Royal Capital of Prague. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, hospital and university buildings were built in the district. During the 20th century, mostly palaces and shopping centres were built.
During the course of its history, the New Town often competed with the Old Town, although both towns joined their forces during Swedish raids. Charles Square always competed with the Old Town Square and the same was true for many other sights.
Places to see in the New Town
Wenceslas Square is one of the most popular squares in Prague. It is an important cultural and shopping centre with a great number of shops, sights, restaurants and theatres. Its dominant feature is the National Museum and the equestrian statue of St Wenceslas.
Charles Square and New Town Hall
Located on Charles Square, the Gothic New Town Hall was built during the reign of Charles IV. Charles Square, which was known as “Cattle Market” until the mid-19th century, is the biggest square in the Czech Republic
The Dancing House is a modern building that sits on the right bank of the Vltava River. It was finished in 1996 and its design was inspired by the famed dancing duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Žofín is a neo-Renaissance palace that hosts many cultural and entertainment events such as balls and concerts.
The National Museum with its natural, historical and cultural collections is one of the symbols of the New Town. Other museums in the area include, for example, the Museum of Communism, the Mucha Museum, dedicated to the life and work of artist Alphonse Mucha, and the Antonin Dvorak Museum, which is dedicated to the famous Czech music composer.
Culture and entertainment in the New Town
The National Theatre is situated on the right bank of the Vltava River in the New Town. It was built by the end of the 19th century in neo-Renaissance style. After its opening in 1881, the building was destroyed by fire and reopened in 1883. Today, the National Theatre is the most prestigious Czech theatre and a symbol of national identity.
Where to eat
U Fleků is an old Czech restaurant that serves traditional Czech cuisine. The local brewery is a cultural monument.
Café Imperial is a restaurant with a pleasant interior. Their menu includes Czech dishes, modern specialties, vegetarian dishes and breakfast items. Vegans may want to visit U Emy Destinnové restaurant or The Two Brothers. Meet & Greet Burgerhouse is a perfect choice for burger lovers. Momoichi Coffetearia is celebrated for its delicious Japanese cuisine.
Be Bop Lobby Bar offers delicious meals as well as excellent cocktails and coffee. Gin & Tonic Club specializes in gin cocktails.
Café Louvre is a café with a historical interior that has been in operation for more than 100 years. Among its customers was, for example, Franz Kafka.
Chococafé offers a wide selection of waffles, chocolate fondue and ice cream. Cacao is well known for its excellent coffee. Kafe v Klidu is a small, cosy and pleasant café.
There are also many world-famous chains, such as Sturbucks, in the area of the New Town.