Malá Strana – General information
On the left bank of the Vltava lies Malá Strana, the Lesser Quarter - which literally translated means “little side”. Its name comes from its location on the slopes just below Prague Castle. Hedged in by the surrounding hills, it has always been a somewhat smaller cousin to Prague's main towns - the Old and New Towns - on the right bank, to which it is connected by the world-famous Charles bridge.
Although the two quarters are just a short walking distance apart, the difference in atmosphere between the Old and the Lesser Town is remarkable. Malá Strana emanates a different kind of charm, proving that there is more than one face to Prague.
If the Old Town has evolved over centuries, Malá Strana has maintained an 18th-century feel, with very little new having been built since this period. Although its history goes back to the Middle Ages (1257), the district's medieval past is little evident. After a murdererous blaze ripped out the medieval soul, Emperor Rudolph took the opportunity to rebuild the quarter.
Today, inventive visitors can plunge into a poetic daydream as they discover this mesmerising district: its churches, gardens and palaces are a window into the life of the area's nobility. The main attraction is the church of St. Nicolas on Malá Strana square (Malostranské náměstí), recognisable by its imposing dome and steeple.
As you walk down the street towards St Nicolas, the statues positioned on either side act like guards, protecting the church. Today, ministers, deputies, senators, and ambassadors can all be found residing or working in the quarter, adding to the sense of nobility and glory.
A stroll beyond the Italian gardens will take you to immense Petrin Park, which is the perfect place to lose yourself, surrounded by nature and beauty. It’s impossible to ignore the romantic feel as you explore this spectacular quarter.