PRAGUE - NEIGHBORHOODS
Stare Mesto (Old Town)
This is the historic center of Prague and the home of its best known tourist attractions with many buildings dating back to the 13th century. It is home to the Tyn Cathedral, the Jan Hus Monument, and the Astronomical Clock, all located in the Old Town Square, which is also the site of Prague's annual Christmas market. Three bridges can be accessed from the Old Town: from north to south, Manes Bridge, Charles Bridge, and finally Legion Bridge.
Architecturally, it's a lovely area and it is always crowded with tourists. The area is also popular among locals for its wide variety of trendy boutiques, restaurants, vibrant nightlife and modern shopping centers. Other notable points of interest located in the Old Town include the Baroque-Rococo-hybrid Klementinum National Library, and the inimitable Neo-Classical masterpiece, the Estates Theater.
The Old Town is bounded on its outer edge by Narodni, Na Prikope, and Revolucni Avenues. Tram stops along that outer edge include Dlouha trida and Namesti republiky. Tram stops along the waterfront include Staromestska, Karlovy lazne, and Narodni divadlo.
Josefov (Jewish Quarter)
Historically, Josefov was the Jewish district of Prague, and today, the neighborhood is largely a Jewish Historical Museum. It is a captivating neighborhood, having undergone many changes; it is now home to Parizska (street), the most expensive shopping boulevard in Prague. The Old Jewish Cemetery, the Old New Synogogue, the Franz Kafka statue, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Rudolfinum (home venue of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra) are located here. The Old New Synagogue is noteworthy for being the oldest surviving synagogue still open for worship in Europe. It survived the Nazi occupation and bombing unscathed, which locals believed was due to the protective presence of the `Golem` in the attic. The Jewish Quarter is served by Pravnicka fakulta tram stop, just south of Svatopluk Cech Bridge.
Nove Mesto (New Town)
Both Wenceslas Square and Karlovo Namesti (Charles Square) are located here. Wenceslas Square is a major shopping district and, like the Old Town Square, it is crowded with tourists year-round. Charles Square is a very pleasant, urban residential neighborhood. Nove Mesto also boasts several galleries, including the National Gallery. You can also wander by the much photographed 'Dancing Building.' Other sights in the New Town include the Alfons Mucha Museum, dedicated to the life`s works of the noted painter; the Museum of Communism, which illustrates life during the four decades of Soviet-era rule; and the New Town Hall, sitting just off Charles Square.
The New Town is bounded on its inner edge by Narodni, Na Prikope, and Revolucni Avenues. It is bounded on its outer edge by Wilsonova, one of the largest avenues in the city, which eventually splits to become Sokolska and Legerova. The southern boundary consists of Resslova and Jecna Avenues, with Charles Square jutting into the New Town. Prague Masaryk train station is located in the New Town, and Prague hlavní nádraží train station is located just to the east, on Wilsonova. The Metro stations serving the New Town include, from north to south, Namesti Republiky, Hlavní Nádraží, Mustek, Narodni trida, and Muzeum.
Mala Strana (Lesser Town)
The Vltava River divides Prague in half, and because of this, the Old Town is split into two distinct neighborhoods. The Mala Strana side is located just across the Charles Bridge from Old Town, at the bottom of the hill that leads up to Prague Castle. Here, lovely architecture and lovely streetscapes are built into the hill leading up to Hradcany and the Prague Castle. Lennon Wall (celebrating former Beatle John Lennon, who told us to `imagine` an ideal world), Lobkovic Palace, the Kafka Museum, and Vojan's Garden are a few of the sights in this area. For those who love religious architecture, the Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of Our Lady Victorious, perhaps two of the most notable Baroque buildings in Prague, are nestled in the Lesser Town.
Quiet and very upscale, it is the most exclusive neighborhood in Prague. Many of Prague's finest restaurants can be found here, as well as elegant cafes and tourist shops. Situated alongside the river, Kampa Island is a nice place to enjoy the beautiful views of Prague. Ujezd tram and funicular stops serve the Lesser Town, as do Hellichova and Malostranska tram stops. Malostranska Metro station is nearby, closer to Prague Castle.
Hradcany (Castle District)
The area surrounding Prague Castle, its palatial estate, and the Royal Gardens, is called Hradcany, literally `the castle district`. Some of the top sights in the city are located here, such as the aforementioned Prague Castle, the Royal Gardens, the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, and the red Romanesque St. George`s Basilica. The seat of the Czech Government is also located here, as is Wallenstein Palace, the meeting place of the Czech Senate. The National Gallery in Prague boasts three separate collections that are displayed in Hradcany: the collection at Sternberk Palace, which is dedicated to European art from ancient times to the Baroque era; Schwarzenberg Palace, where Baroque-era art is displayed; and Salm Palace, focusing almost completely on 19th-century art. The Hradcany castle district is served by Malostranska Metro station, as well as Malostranska, Kralovsky letohradek, Prazsky hrad, and Brusnice tram stops.
Smichov - Andel
Located on the Left Bank of the Vltava, south of Vitezna and Legion Bridge, Smichov - Andel is one of the largest Prague districts. It is an upscale neighborhood and represents the new Prague in many ways, delicately combining older historic buildings with large glass and steel buildings, which house large western style shopping malls and film houses. Smichov is also home to the Staropram brewery, the second largest brewery in the Czech Republic. Locals remember it for being home to the controversial Soviet tank monument and the political firestorm surrounding it when Czech artist David Cerny painted it pink. The tank is no longer there (it has been moved to a museum). The neighborhood is served by Andel and Zborovska tram stops, on the road which leads to Palacky Bridge.
Located at the top of the hill just beyond the far end of Wenceslas Square, Vinohrady is named for the vineyards that were found here during the 19th century. Today it is one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods. It is home to lovely 19th century architecture and is filled with parks and pubs and restaurants for nearly everybody's tastes and budget. Much of the neighborhood is within easy walking distance of Wenceslas Square and excellent bus and metro service is available throughout. Hlavni Nadrazi (Prague's main train station) is located here. Vinohrady is served by Muzeum, Namesti Miru and I.P. Pavlova Metro and tram stops, as well as Italska, Vinohradska trznice, Blanicka, and Sumavska tram stops.
Žižkov is a neighborhood which sits to the south and southwest of Vitkov Hill and just east of Praha hlavní nádraží main train station. The area is named after Jan Žižka, a 15th-century military leader and follower of Jan Hus. Long known as a working-class `counter-culture` neighborhood, the nickname `Free Republic of Žižkov` has been associated with the area even back during the time of the Communists. Today it is a popular haunt for students as they drink and socialize at the many pubs which are scattered throughout the neighborhood. It is also a great choice for budget-conscious accommodations as it is still fairly close to most of the action in the city. Žižkov Televsion Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Czech Republic, is located in this neighborhood. Due east about a mile, you will find Olsany Cemetery, final resting place of democratic martyr Jan Palach, and the New Jewish Cemetery, which is the final resting place of writer Franz Kafka. Žižkov is served by Husinecka tram stop.
North of Vitkov Hill and south of the Vltava, Karlín is considered one of Prague`s most trendy neighborhoods. An industrial neighborhood from the nineteenth century through the Communist era of the late 20th century, it is now a hip and trendy nightlife and foodie spot. Many international music acts play at the numerous venues in the neighborhood, such as the Karlín Musical Theatre and the Forum Karlín. Skyscrapers are being built around the Old Port area, and the area around Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church is becoming a bustling arts district, with a few galleries within walking distance. Karlín is served by Krizikova Metro station and Karlinske namesti, Krizikova and Urxova tram stops.