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SQUARE OF KNIGHTS OF THE CROSS

Old town - Prague 1

GPS: 50°5'9.96"N, 14°24'50.04"E

   Square of Knights of the Cross is said to be one of the nicest „stone squares“ in central Europe. Likewise the Old Town Bridge Tower with a gate leading onto the Charles Bridge is said to be the pride of medieval architecture and it is outstanding due to its plastic decoration. It was built in the last quarter of 14th and in the beginning of 15th century according to design by Petra Parléř.
   Church of St Francis on the northern side of the square was built by Domenico Giovanni Canavelle in 1679-1689, according to designs by French architect Jean Babtiste Mathey. On the western side a building of Knights’ generality joins the church.
   On the eastern side church of St Salvatore, founded in 1578, turns with its front into the square. In 1651-1653 a portico was built in front of the face, probably according to design by arch. Francesco Caratti and sculptures of Church Fathers, saints of the order, evangelists, Christ and the Virgin Mary by Jan Bendl were installed on that. North of the church there is a Klementinum portal from 17th century.
    The most outstanding building among houses on the southern side of the square is house no. 193, decorated with imperial eagle at the corner. There used to be a vineyard office.
   In the centre of the square there is standing a memorial of Emperor Charles IV, cast in Nuremberg. Work of Dresden sculptor Ernst Julius Hähnel belongs among the most outstanding neo-gothic memorials of that time. It was built in 1848 for 500th anniversary of foundation of the Prague University, in the honour of its founder.
   In the north-east corner, by the church of St Francis, there is standing St. Wenceslas’ viticultural column with decoration of wine grape and top sculpture of St Wenceslas. Baroque work by Jan Jiří Bendl comes from 1678. Around there are rests of cobbles of the previous Judith Bridge from 12th century.