top of page

Running in Prague: the city of a hundred towers

On the banks of the Vltava, at the crossroads of Austria and Hungary, Prague is an important political and cultural center in Central Europe. As you stroll through this city of a hundred towers, you'll discover vestiges of both the medieval era and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From the Astronomical Clock to its magnificent castle, Prague boasts an exceptional wealth of architecture.

En marchant ou en courant dans les rues de Prague, vous apercevrez peut-être les ponts de Prague.
From the castle, you can contemplate the city.

"Prague, this rich, gigantic epic poem of architecture", in the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, is a city where it's good to walk... and run!

On the one hand, you can admire Gothic masterpieces such as Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. On the other, the city is overflowing with Baroque palaces and churches, contrasting with the many Art Nouveau, Cubist, Modernist and contemporary buildings. This richness has earned the city's historic heart its place on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Dégustez un Trdelnik sur le marché de rue lors de votre visite de Prague, en République tchèque
Trdelnik in Prague

And, at the end of your run or during your visit to Prague, enticed by the smell of pastry that perfumes its alleyways, you might try a Trdelník, the traditional local cake. Made from dough wrapped around a wooden skewer, then charcoal-grilled and covered with sugar and crushed hazelnuts, it has a characteristic cylindrical shape and a pronounced cinnamon aroma.

Staré Město, the old town in the hollow of the river

Prague's historic city center stretches along both banks of the Vltava. The Old Town, Staré Město, as opposed to the "New Town", Nové Město, is located on the right bank in the hollow of a river loop. Today, it is surrounded by boulevards built along the lines of the old fortifications.

Known for its maze of streets and squares and the diversity of its architectural styles, Baroque buildings stand side by side with a myriad of churches of ancient origin. Historically, this was the bourgeois and commercial district where the city's historic university was founded in 1348.

Une visite incontournable à Prague : marcher jusqu'au pied de l'église de Notre-Dame du Týn, en passant devant l'église Saint-Nicolas.
Place de la Vieille-Ville, with the astronomical clock on the left.

Don't miss the town's famous astronomical clock, which has stood on the south wall of the town hall since the 15th century. It is said that the clockmaker Hanus, who built it, had his eyes gouged out so that he could never reproduce his masterpiece. It marks the hour with a ballet of automata representing the twelve Apostles.

Lors de votre visite de Prague, découvrez la Synagogue vieille-nouvelle du quartier juif de Josefov
Staronová, the "Old New" synagogue

In the heart of the Old Town, you'll also discover the old Jewish quarter of Josefov, with Staronová, Europe's oldest active synagogue, and its famous cemetery with its lopsided tombs. Indeed, before the Second World War, Prague was home to one of Europe's largest Jewish communities.

Nové Město, "new town" since 1348

Legend has it that Charles IV, then King of Bohemia and future Emperor of the Romans, was contemplating Prague one day with his court, rejoicing in its beauty. Suddenly, an astrologer told him that Mala Strana, the aristocratic quarter, would be set on fire and that Staré Město would suffer massive flooding. To ensure the city's survival in such an eventuality, the monarch decided to build Nové Město, on the land of neighboring villages.

Courir dans les rues de Prague vous emmènera sur l'immense place Venceslas, l'ancien marché aux chevaux de Prague.
Wenceslas Square

Today, the "new town" has become a testimony to a rich past. The district was originally built around three central markets: the cattle market, the horse market and the hay market. The result of thoughtful medieval urban planning, Nové Město originally possessed the main thoroughfares that you'll follow on your walk or bike ride through Prague. Today, the markets have become Charles Square, Wenceslas Square and Senovazne Square.

Visitez la synagogue du Jubilé sur la place Senovazne !
Jubilee Synagogue

The huge Place Charles is lined with many buildings that can't be ignored. As you run along, you'll admire St. Ignatius church, Faust's house, the Charitas palace... Wenceslas Square, the junction between the two parts of the city, was the scene of many historic events.

Finally, towards Senovážné, you'll be dazzled by the flamboyant façade of the Moorish-style Jubilee Synagogue.

Malá Strana, city of aristocrats and Baroque pearl

Malá Strana, which means "the little side", is also a district steeped in history. Situated between the Vltava River and the Castle and Petřín hills, the area takes its name from the comparison with the adjacent, larger Old Town, from which it is separated by Charles Bridge.

In the Middle Ages, due to its proximity to the Castle, then the seat of imperial power, it was home to many representatives of the nobility of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as German communities. It was founded for this purpose by King Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1257, when the original inhabitants were expelled.

À travers l'arc de la tour Malostransky du Pont Charles, vous obtenez un point de vue incomparable sur Malá Strana
Malá Strana

Now dubbed the "pearl of Baroque", it offers visitors a real urban spectacle, with a notable Italian influence. Between Renaissance palaces and Rococo buildings, there are also imposing examples of Counter-Reformation architecture, most notably the Church of St. Nicholas in Prague.

During your visit, don't forget to stop in front of the "House of Two Suns", the birthplace of Jan Neruda. This Czech realist writer, critic and poet was one of the best-known members of the May School. And if his name reminds you of a more recent artist, that's normal! The surname Neruda, meaning "not of the family" in Czech, became the pen name of the Chilean poet and writer Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto... better known by his nickname Pablo Neruda.

With JOOKS, dive into Prague's fabulous history and uncover the mysteries lurking around every corner!

Discover Prague's routes and over 1300 others on the JOOKS app!

17 views0 comments


bottom of page