Nové Město - The New Town
It may be the "new" town, but this district was founded by Emperor Charles IV founded in the year 1348. The New Town was the fourth of the Prague towns, after the Old Town, Malá Strana and Hradčany.
By medieval measures, the project to build a new town in Prague was quite “avant garde” . Each street had its function (Draper Street, Carpenter Street), centered on three large squares: The Haymarket (Senovážné náměstí), The Horsemarket (today's Wenceslas Square) and the Cattlemarket (today's Charles Square). Wenceslas square was once the largest square in Europe. Even today, at 80,500 m2 it is the largest in Prague.
In order to incite people to come to Prague to build this new town, anyone who built his house in less than 12 months did not pay any taxes for 12 years
The New Town has always been a lively area. Its rapid founding attracted craftsmen by creating a Hussite district facing the Old Town, inhabited by a more conservative populace.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the district was given a facelift, with the construction of taller buildings in the Art Nouveau, cubist and functionalist styles - Wenceslas Square being a perfect example of this mix of styles (which keeps getting added to until today). Often called the Czech “Champs Elysées”, Wenceslas Square is one of the town's main symbol's - the view up the square towards the National Musuem and the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas is one of the best known views of the city.
In addition, this is where numerous important political events have taken place. In 1918, Czechoslovak independence was announed here; in 1968, the people of Prague came to stare down the tanks of the occupying Soviet and East Bloc armies; and in 1989, a crowd of several hundred thousand came to protest communism. Today, the square has developed a new range of shops, theaters, cinemas and other lively places.
Prague's New Town of Prague is an amazing place of life and activities which has changed to adapt to all historical periods. If anything, it does not feel as much a museum as Malá Strana and the Old Town, which have a carefully preserved atmosphere tailor-made for tourists.