The Charles Square in Prague New Town is the largest square in Prague. It was founded as a central square of the New Town in the 14 th century. A large park with many statues is situated there nowadays. Interesting buildings, such as the New Town City Hall, the Faust House or the Church of St. Igtnatius surround the square.
Charles Square in the middle ages
The Charles Square used to be called “The Big Marketplace” (Forum Magnum) originally. The name Cattle Market was established in the 15 th century because of the privilege for the cattle trade, that the square used to have. It finally gained the present name Charles Square in 1848. The name commemorates Charles IV., who had founded Prague New Town.
A Gothic Chapel of Corpus Christi used to stand at the Charles Square from 1393 till 1791. It was a place, where relics and imperial Crown Jewels were exhibited during Easter every year. That made Prague one of the most important pilgrimage places of the Christian Europe at the time. The chapel was abolished by Joseph II. and demolished.
Dark legend of the Charles Square
A legend has it that there used to be a big marble stone at the square, with a cross, a dead man´s head and a date 1627. It allegedly marked a place, where clerics and aristocrats were secretly executed in the night. Several priests were reportedly executed there for contriving a conspiracy against the emperor.
The Charles Square was modified as a park in the 19 th century. There are several statues of important Czech writers, such as Vitezslav Halek or Karolina Svetla.
Notable houses at the Charles Square
The New Town City Hall from the 14 th century is situated at the northern side of the square. The mysterious and storied Faust House, connected with the legend of Doctor Faustus, can be seen at the opposite end. The Baroque Church of St. Ignatius belongs to the former Jesuit College.