Lesser Town – Malá stranaWho wouldn´t know Malá Strana (Lesser Town), a quarter of kings, queens and, later, the residential area of wealthy people? Lesser Town is a home for magnificent churches, picturesque buildings and palaces. In addition, this quarter includes the Petřín Tower and its park.

The quarter grew up on the left bank of the Vltava River between the hills of Hradčany and Petřín (from about 1257). It was founded by Přemysl Otakar II who intended to create a home for the German colonists. When Charles IV was in power, he decided to enhance the urban network: the churches were completed or renovated, fortifications were built, he simply tried to improve the city´s defensives as much as possible. About a hundred years later, during the 15th and 16th centuries, the Lesser Town was hit by big fires. As a result of which people intensified their work and transformed the Lesser Town into a prestigious residential area. The nobility and the wealthy chose this quarter for their permanent residencies. Gradually they embellished the Lesser Town with spectacular palaces and magnificent churches. Lesser Town was also charming because of the fact that the coronation processions of the Bohemian sovereigns passed through its streets.

 

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What´s typical of the Lesser Town is Nerudova Street. It´s one of the most famous and characteristic corners of the Lesser Town and leads from the Lesser Town Square right up to the Prague Castle. To the south of the Castle lie the Palace Gardens, which are decorated with many statues, terraces and fountains, sometimes the vineyards as well. There is also the Wallenstein Palace (Valdštejsnký palác) in the Lesser Town, a monumental residence that was built in the 17th century for Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, the Bohemian commander. The Wallenstein Garden (Valdštejsnká zahrada) surrounds the palace and is another typical example of the Italian Baroque garden.

Church of St Nicholas, another example of Baroque architecture in the beginning of Nerudova Street, is also highly visited and so are the Petřín Tower and its surroundings (the park).

Last sight which is worth visiting is Franz Kafka´s Museum. It lies right to the Charles Bridge on the bank of the Vltava River. Franz Kafka, world´s famous writer, was born here in Prague as a son of a Jewish family. The museum is divided into two parts – in the first one, which is called an existential space, you can find information about how the city influenced and affected Kafka and his work. The second one, an imaginary topography, shows how Kafka displays the city. His method is one of the most mysterious processes of modern literature. Kafka is buried in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague-Strašnice.

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