New Town: Art Nouveau and Elegant Cafés

    Ples
    30 Oct 2017
    Clock 30min      Length1mi
    Rating
    3 ratings
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    Wenceslas Square and Palac Koruna

    Wenceslas Square and Palac Koruna
    New Town: Art Nouveau and Elegant Cafés

    Hello! My name is Jitka. I'm a native Czech, born and raised in West Bohemia. But I've been living in Prague for 27 years. I founded the first walking tour company in Prague in 1995 called Prague Walks. Its still in operation. My passions are history, art, architecture, music and everything that helps us to understand life and pampers our souls.

    You should be standing at the bottom of Wenceslas Square. Behind you is a modern-looking building with a large clock on top. This the New Yorker building. Stretched out in front of you is Wenceslas Square, with the mounted statue of St. Wenceslas far off in the distance.

    Now turn around to face the New York building.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    The area where you're standing is at the crossroads of 4 major streets. Prikope Street and Narodni Avenue are part of the so called Prague Ring, which leads from river to river. They branch off to the left and right. The Prague Ring was the site of the original city walls. These walls were eventually torn down in the late 1700s. Na Můstku Street is the street that is directly in front of you. It once spanned Old Town and New Town.

    Now turn around to face the square.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    To your left is the Koruna building. Its the large grey building on the corner.

    Have a look up at it.

    You'll see an unusual decoration on the top. Does it remind you of a crown?

    The building was originally a palace. Koruna means crown Czech. Its a great representation of geometric Art Nouveau by the Viennese architect Pfeifer. The Czech Republic was still part of the Austrian Empire when this building was officially opened in 1914. Palac Koruna served many uses. It housed offices, ateliers, shops, steam spas and a cinema. But the most famous enterprise was AUTOMAT KORUNA. It was the first fast food restaurant in Prague and was designed by Ladislav Machon in 1931. The project became so successful that Machon was invited to build the same one on Oxford street in London! I recommend coming back to visit its passage to see the real beauty of this edifice, with its elegant glass roof and decoration on the walls.

    We'll be exploring a relatively newer part of Prague called the New Town. Its not under the protection of UNESCO, but still belongs to 4 historical districts of medieval Prague.

    The city was established by the Charles the IV, emperor of the Holy Roman German Empire in the mid 1300s. It was one of his many ambitious projects - to build a modern city more splendid than any other. And Prague was really bigger than London or Paris at the time.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    So, lets get going.

    Turn to face Wenceslas Square.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Start walking up the right side of the square.

    While you walk, let me briefly explain how VoiceMap works.

    It uses your location to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. This means that you can put your phone away now. Don't worry if I'm silent for a while, when I'm not giving directions or telling stories. There's a map on your screen if you ever feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know.

    Continue straight. You'll hear from me further along the square.

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