With a total area of 80,000 m², Charles Square is the largest square in the Czech Republic. It is situated approximately in the middle of Prague’s New Town district. Until the end of the 19th century, it was known as “Cattle Market”, as it served as a marketplace for a long time, with stalls standing in the area of today’s park. The first goods for sale included salted fish, coal and grain and later mainly cattle. The square was founded by Charles IV in 1348, in the area of the trading route between Prague Castle and Vyšehrad. In the middle of the square used to stand a wooden edifice in which the imperial coronation jewels and the relics of saints were displayed. During pilgrimages, about 30,000 people used to gather on the square. Today, Charles Square is an important communication hub with a public park in the middle and several historical buildings around it.
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR VISITORS
Address: Karlovo náměstí, Praha 2
GPS coordinates: 50.0745750N, 14.4203089E
PUBLIC TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS
The closest public transport stops near Charles Square:
- Karlovo náměstí metro station (Line B – yellow line, exit towards Charles Square)
- Karlovo náměstí tram stop
- Moráň tram stop
- Novoměstská radnice tram stop
- Karlovo náměstí bus station
OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION
Charles Square is open to the public free of charge.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT CHARLES SQUARE
At the end of the 19th century, the stalls were pulled down and a city park was established on the site. Until then, Charles Square was a muddy area. The square was designed by garden architect František Josef Thomayer, who took inspiration from English parks with asymmetrically planted trees. There are seven sculptures in the park – for example, a plague column, the statues of poet Vítězslav Hájek, Karolína Světlá and others.
NOTABLE BUILDINGS IN CHARLES SQUARE
New Town Hall – a Gothic building built during the reign of Charles IV.
St Ignatius Church – a Baroque basilica that was built as part of the Jesuit College in the 15th century.
New Town Jesuit College – the largest Baroque building of Prague’s New Town which served as a Jesuit college.
Faust House – a Baroque palace owned by several alchemists.
Building of Prague City Court – the building is adjacent to the New Town Hall, but it was built in Eclectic style.
Building of Czech Technical University
Braun House – a building with an unusual ground plan where Baroque sculptor Matthias Bernard Braun used to live.
CHARLES SQUARE AND NEARBY HISTORICAL SIGHTS
When visiting Charles Square, there are plenty of other interesting sights nearby to explore, including the Faust House, the New Town Hall, the Botanical Garden, the Dancing House, St Ignatius Church, Wenceslas Square, the National Museum and many others.