The one thing that all of Europe's great capital cities have in common is a focal point of a grand main square and Prague's easily ranks among the best. Once the main marketplace of Prague, the Old Town Square is a large, immaculately preserved space surrounded by a number of architectural treasures including Staroměstská Radnice (see below), Kinský Palace and St. Nicholas Church.
The Square, which dates back to the 11th century, has featured prominently in the city's history. The white crosses embedded into the cobbles (there are 27 in total) commemorate the execution of Protestants in 1621 following defeat at the battle of the White Mountain (paving the way for Habsburg rule to descend over Bohemia). Fittingly, the square was also the scene for Vaclav Havel to declare the end of Soviet domination over Czech affairs after the 'Velvet Revolution'.
Aside from the splendour of its many fine buildings, the square also makes for a pleasant spot in which to stop off for refreshments, particularly in summer when outdoor seating is available. Pleasant cafés and restaurants stand shoulder to shoulder against a backdrop of inspired neo-Renaissance and Baroque façades, with horse-drawn carriages slowly make their way past on sightseeing trips around the Old Town.