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Old Town Square – Marian Column and Prague Meridian

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Historical pictures of Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) look a bit different compared to its current appearance. It is mainly caused by the missing Marian Column which used to stand it the middle of the square in the past. We will also learn about the Prague Meridian which used to serve for masuring time.

Staromestske namesti

Old Town Square

Come with us and explore the real heart of Prague. Do you know the secret of the Old Town Astronomical Clock? Do you know where to find the Prague Meridian and the meaning of the crosses on the paving stones? Click here and explore the Old Town Square on your own!

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Marian Column Old Town Square - the Marian Column
Unfortunatelly, it is no more possible to view the Marian Column in Staroměstské náměstí (eng:Old Town Square). But we need to mention a sight which used to be a long-term view point of the square. This sandstone Baroque column was erected in the middle of the Old Town Square as thanksgiving for the defense of Prague from the raids of the Swedish troops in 1648. The construction of the memorial started in 1650 and it was festively consecrated by the Prague´s Archbishop Cardinal von Harrach two years later. The Marian Column comes from the workshop of the most important Czech Early Baroque sculptor Jan Jiří Bendl and it is set by the statue of the Virgin Mary Immaculate. Other significant works of this author include e.g. wooden engraved statues of the apostles from St. Salvador´s Church in Klementinum or the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas in Vyšehrad which had been originally placed in Václavské náměstí (eng: Wenceslas Square) instead of Myslbek´s statue.

The Marian Column was also very important for time determination because its shadow was showing the high noon during its fall over the Prague Meridian. After the formation of the independent Czechoslovakia the column was removed by the excited mob on November 3rd, 1918. Removal of the column was a demonstration of the overthrow of the Habsburg Monarchy. The remains of the Marian Column are nowadays placed in the Lapidarium of the National Museum in Výstaviště, Prague.

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Statue of Our Lady from Exile Statue of Our Lady from Exile at Prague Hill Petřín
There used to be a statue of Virgin Mary Immaculate at the top of the Marian Column. performed by the sculptor J. J Bendl. The statue was broken after the overthrow of the Marian Column. In 1954 the Czech fellow countrymen got the statue remade by the Pope´s sculptor Professor Monteleone in Rome. In 1993 the statue was moved as a present to Prague again. Currently you can see this monument in the gardens of Strahovský klášter (eng: Strahov Monastery). If you walk from the Prague Castle to Petřín Hill then you will find a sign-post in direction of the statue of Virgin Mary from Exile.

Prague Meridian Old Town Square - Prague Meridian
The turning point for time determination in Prague was the year 1652. It was when the Prague Meridian was embedded into the paving in the Old Town Square. There were more reasons for placing the meridian close to the Marian Column. With help of the shadow which was cast by the column over the meridian, the high noon was determined. The coordinates of the meridian are 14°25’17″ of the east longitude (measured from the zero meridian). And where can you view the Prague Meridian today? The meridian is located close to Jan Hus Memorial in the Old Town Square and it is marked by a long metallic strip and metallic board which contains an inscription in Czech and

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Latin: MERIDIAN ACCORDING TO WHICH PRAGUE TIME WHAD BEEN REGULATED IN THE PAST / MERIDIANUS QUO OLIM TEMPUS PRAGENSE DIRIGEBATUR. This board was attached to the meridian in 1990´s.

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PRAGUECITYLINE Prague 1

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Photogallery of Old Town Square

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Royal route and the coronation of King
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Route Prague 1

PRAGUECITYLINE Prague 1

Discover the most beautiful sights of Prague. Review the educational route PRAGUECITYLINE Prague 1. All sights are described with lots of pictures.Click here

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Traditional Royal Route

Take the traditional route of Czech kings. Discover the most interesting sights of Prague. Everything is described in articles and accompanied by lots of photos. Click here to get on the page of the Royal Route.

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Staromestske namesti

Old Town Square

Come with us and explore the real heart of Prague. Do you know the secret of the Old Town Astronomical Clock? Do you know where to find the Prague Meridian and the meaning of the crosses on the paving stones? Click here and explore the Old Town Square on your own!

» More »

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