The “old town” of a city or town is an area where its architecture, history, and identity are preserved.
Visiting these gems is an amazing experience as it is almost like travelling back in time.
The following European “old towns” are my favourite:
Upper Town of Bergamo
A medieval town which enchants with its art and history, Città Alta (Upper Bergamo) is surrounded by impressive Venetian walls and holds ancient ruins, Renaissance churches and neoclassical façades.
A must-visit is the famous Piazza Vecchia (Old Square), which is the heart of Città Alta. The geometrical layout of the buildings around Piazza Vecchia is so harmonic that when Le Corbusier, one of the pioneers of modern architecture, visited Bergamo he said “you can’t move a single stone, it would be a crime”. It is lovely to take a leisurely evening stroll and explore the many traces of ancient history still preserved in the square. The iron bars on Santa Maria Maggiore Church’s external wall represent Bergamo’s units of measure during the Middle Age. At the end of Venice domination, the beautiful Contarini fountain was built in the middle of the square. Now, people can still drink from one of its sphinxes’ mouths and have a taste of history.
Prague Old Town
Visiting the Old Town of Prague is an insightful experience which illuminates its rich and tumultuous history and legends of yore. The renowned Old Town Square is located in the middle, and there are lots to explore along the cobblestone streets such as museums, monuments and churches.
As you wander around, enjoy the music in the air from talented musicians performing in the square. The square is alive with hype during most parts of the day and people line up to watch the much hyped over attraction in Prague, the intricately detailed Astronomical Clock. Furthermore, architecture lovers will be delighted to visit the beautiful Gothic Church of Our Lady Before Tyn and St. Nicholas Church.
The Old Town of Amsterdam
Captivating with its piquant mix of history, architecture, culture and also dining and entertainment, the Old Town of Amsterdam has something for everyone. A leisurely bike ride or stroll down the canals will allow you to take in the sights and unique architecture of buildings–narrow and ornately gabled.
Attractions in the historical center of Amsterdam include the impressive Royal Palace, the Amsterdam Historical Museum, Oude Kerk (the oldest building in the city), and the famous Madame Tussauds.
Tallinn Old Town
This place took my breath away, drawing me in with its winding cobblestone paths, medieval castles and Gothic architecture.
Almost every corner of this picturesque town looked like it was straight out of a postcard!
Read more about my trip to Tallinn Old Town here.
All these enchanting old towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These towns, with their old world charm and rich history, will always hold a place in my heart. Have you visited any of them? Which was the most memorable?