The capital city of the Czech Republic was historically the capital of the Bohemia region in Central Europe.
Prague was founded in the 5th century and is a city with an incredibly rich history. It has been one of the most important cities in Europe for numerous centuries.
This importance was emphasized by the fact that it was the main residence of multiple of the Holy Roman Emperors, resulting in numerous amazing structures being constructed within the city walls.
It was also of high importance for the Habsburg rulers as they ruled over the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Today, the city has a population of about 1.3 million inhabitants, and its numerous culturally important landmarks have turned it into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous buildings in Prague, feats of architecture that define the city.
1. Old Town Square
Numerous historically important structures can be found here, including but not limited to the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Baroque St. Nicholas Church, and the Old Town Hall.
As the name of the square implies, it’s situated within the Old Town quarter of the city which is the medieval settlement of Prague.
This section was fortified by both a defensive wall and a moat during the Middle Ages, both of which have disappeared over time.
This square is the perfect place to start your journey in Prague because many of the most famous tourist attractions are located within walking distance of this beautiful public space.
Official website: Old Town Square
2. Charles Bridge
This fascinating bridge was built during the Middle Ages between 1357 and 1402 and was named after King Charles IV (1316-1378) who commissioned it.
It didn’t get its current name until the year 1870, though, as this stone arch bridge was originally called “Stone Bridge.”
That’s because the other bridges before were made of wood. This amazing structure is 516 meters (1,693 ft) long and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.
Walking across this iconic bridge is simply a must-do experience when visiting Prague.
Official website: Charles Bridge
3. Prague Castle
Prague Castle is the most important building in the city and has been since the 9th century. The construction of the original version of this castle started in the year 870 and was completed in the first half of the 10th century.
It has been the official seat of power of both the kings of Bohemia and the Holy Roman emperors ever since
The incredible castle didn’t lose its significance in modern times and was the official seat of the presidents of Czechoslovakia as well. Today, it serves as the official office of the President of the Czech Republic.
This enormous structure is considered to be the largest ancient castle in the world as it has a length of 570 meters (1,870 feet) and a width of 130 meters (430 feet).
With nearly 2 million yearly visitors it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country as well.
Official website: Prague Castle
4. St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral is the common name of the church official known as “The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus, and Adalbert.”
It’s one of the most iconic Gothic Cathedrals in the world and the largest cathedral in the Czech Republic as well with dimensions of 124 x 60 meters (407 × 197 feet).
This amazing structure is situated just near Prague Castle in an elevated position in the city and is part of the castle complex.
This in combination with the fact that its main tower reaches a height of 102.8 meters (337 feet) makes it one of the most imposing buildings in Prague.
Official website: St. Vitus Cathedral
5. Prague Astronomical Clock
The Old Town Hall is located on Old Town Square in the center of the city and has a remarkable feature attached to its main tower.
The Prague Astronomical Clock was first installed here in the year 1410, which makes it the third-oldest clock of its kind in the world.
What’s even more remarkable is that this clock still works, which makes it the oldest operational astronomical clock in the world.
This remarkable clock is locally known as the “Prague Orloj” and features an astronomical dial that represents the location of the Sun and the Moon in the sky.
Every hour, statues come out in a show referred to as “The Walk of the Apostles.” The highlight of this show is a skeleton representing death striking the clock to mark the time, quite a fascinating tourist attraction in the heart of Prague, that’s for sure!
Official website: Prague Orloj
6. Petrin Tower
This great tower is known as the “Petřín Lookout Tower” and stands about 63.5 meters (208 feet) tall.
Even though it’s far from being as tall as its larger brother in Paris, it’s located in an elevated position known as Petřín Hill. This means that it provides some of the most amazing views of the city you can get.
This remarkable structure was built shortly after the completion of the tower in Paris in 1891 and has been used as both an observation tower and transmission tower in its history.
Today, it’s one of the must-visit tourist attractions in the city and one of the most popular buildings in Prague. Over half a million yearly visitors check out the views from the tower every year.
Official website: Petřín Lookout Tower
7. Municipal House
The Municipal House is one of the most stunning buildings in Prague. It’s located in the heart of the city and houses the Smetana Hall, a popular concert venue.
This has been an important location in the city since the Late Middle Ages because the Royal Court palace was situated here.
This was the official residence of the King of Bohemia for over a century between 1383 and 1485. The structure got abandoned afterward when Prague Castle served this purpose.
The abandoned building was demolished in the early 20th century and the magnificent concert hall was built here between 1905 and 1912.
The building is one of the most prominent examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe and is decorated with allegorical frescoes on the exterior and interior.
Official website: Smetana Hall
The Rudolfinum is an opulent Renaissance Revival-style building that first opened its doors in the year 1885. It’s located on Jan Palach Square on the right bank of the Vltava River.
This amazing structure has had a dual purpose since its inception in the late 19th century as it serves as both an art gallery and a concert venue.
Today, it’s the permanent home of both the Galerie Rudolfinum, a renowned art gallery in Prague that focuses on contemporary art, and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
It’s one of the oldest concert venues in Europe. Its main auditorium is called the “Dvořák Hal” and was named after Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904), one of the most famous Czech composers in history.
9. Černín Palace
Černín Palace is an enormous Baroque building and one of the most stunning palaces in Prague. It’s located just west of Prague Castle in the center of the city, just a few kilometers west of the Old Town.
Before its construction in the 17th century, this part of Prague consisted of gardens and a property owned by the House of Lobkowicz, a Czech noble family.
The Baroque building was commissioned by Humprecht Jan Černín in the 1660s, the man after who the palace was named.
He was the Habsburg imperial ambassador to Venice and Rome and managed to amass a lot of wealth in this function. Černín Palace is still the largest Baroque palace in Prague today.
10. Dancing House
The Dancing House is also nicknamed “Fred and Ginger” and can be described as one of the most peculiar buildings in Prague.
It’s located on the Rašín Embankment on the right bank of the Vltava River which is situated just south of the city’s Old Town. Its unique design makes it a fascinating landmark in the city.
The building is officially known as the Nationale-Nederlanden building (after an insurance company in the Netherlands) and the design is referred to as “deconstructionist,” a term also known as “neo-Baroque.”
The building was completed between 1992 and 1996 and was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. He originally named it “Fred and Ginger” after dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.