old Prague postcards

Old postcards of Prague   the Boundary between the Old and the New Town

history | postcards


The division line between these two Prague Quarters is made by the following streets and squares: Eliščina, Josefské Square, Na Příkopě, the lowest part of Wenceslas Square, Ovocná and Ferdinandova where one side of these streets or squares is a part of the Old Town, while the other is within the limits of the New Town. Since postcards from this area can rarely be ranked as either Old Town or New Town, it has been decided to devote to them a separate chapter.

It was approximately along the line of the above streets and/or squares that from the 13th century ran a moat, originally waterless, to form yet another defence line with the parallel fortification. Following the founding of the New Town in 1348 and the subsequent construction of the New Town fortification, the Old Town fortification began to lose its raison d’etre, and gradually decayed. The moat turned into a gutter, a dumping place, the scene of duels, a dormitory for the homeless, as well as a public toilet. The ever more unbearable odour and related incoveniences of the place forced the Town Council to have the moat covered up and levelled with the adjacent area. Construction activities on both sides of the above mentioned streets started early after the founding of the New Town. This was accompanied by the gradual demolition of the fortification and the covering up of the moat. The fronts of the original Old Town houses standing near the fortification were obviously at first built so as to face the Old Town. Following the demolition of the ramparts, the newly erected houses received space for the establishment of gardens, and, provided the house owners had sufficient finances, this made it possible to extend the existing buildings with annexes reaching the covered-up area of the moat. New houses were also gradually built here, already facing the New Town. By this time the New Town site was not completely empty either: a few buildings already stood with their fronts facing the Old Town.

The gradual existence of new buildings which filled empty sites, gardens, and vacant lots caused by demolition, and which linked with old or reconstructed and remodelled buildings in continuous street lines, eventually gave rise to the streets we can see in the period postcards reproduced in this book.

postcards the Old and the New Town boundary

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