King Ottokar II founded Mala Strana in 1257, on the west bank of the Vltava river in the area directly underneath the castle complex. It was razed to the ground by opposition forces in the 15th century and extensively damaged by fire in the 16th century, after which many of the buildings were rebuilt in the Renaissance style popular at the time, while wedding-cake-style baroque constructions followed in later years.
Highlights of the area include the St. Nicholas Church with its impressive dome and the baroque Wallenstein Palace. The statue of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in the Church of Our Lady Victorious attracts worshippers from across the world, especially during the Christmas season. The Charles Bridge, perhaps Prague’s most iconic landmark, links the Mala Strana to Stare Mesto (Old Town) on the opposite bank. Guided walking tours are a popular way to explore the Lesser Quarter’s fascinating history.