Náměstí Svornosti from Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Náměstí Svornosti is a small, 45 x 60 meter square. Beautiful but unexceptional, grouping a number of houses with Renaissance façades, it has a baroque column and is bounded on one side by the arches of the old City Hall building. The town, called Krumau in German, grew around the splendid castle, whose first historical mention is encountered in a 13thcentury poem. The castle has always remained the focal point, whilst the square held a secondary role, which accounts for its size, also determined by its location on a bend of the Vltava river. But it too remains a key element in the fairy-tale like atmosphere of the settlement, which has become renowned across the world and, thus, invaded by far too many tourists for such a small town.

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Marktplatz from Elburg, Holland

The Elburg square is the result of the intersection of the two main arteries, which reproduces on a much smaller scale the proportions of the quadrangle representing the city map. Elburg has a perfect geometric proportion, thought out in such a manner so that the measures would link to the golden number. The city’s shape, which has been preserved without any changes, grew between 1392 and 1396 and is an exception for the Middle Ages. All the roads are linked to the margin and to the square, which lies exactly in the geometric centre of the quadrangle.

Plaza Mayor from Mogarraz, Spain

Mogarraz is a small, historic settlement in Sierra de Francia, the mountains near Salamanca. The origins of the settlement stem back to the 11thcentury, when it was founded by the Gascons. The village is well-known today in Spain due to the hundreds of portraits of locals, drawn on house walls by Florencio Maíllo, a local artist who began this undertaking in the 1960s, as the settlement became increasingly depopulated. Mogarraze is also interesting for its maintenance of a large part of its older architecture, and because its structure is close to the original one, with an eccentric square, and a fairy-tale atmosphere.

Plaza Nueva from Bilbao, Spania

This is a square filled with life, bars, shops, taverns, terraces, restaurants. Built between 1821 and 1851 in a neoclassical style and surrounded by identical buildings, with three levels and a colonnade, it is called Plaza Nueva, in contrast to the city’s medieval square, and measures 3400 square meters. The functionalist style of its buildings and the absence of rich decoration reflect the ideas of the Enlightenment, for the square was planned at the end of the 18thcentury, although its construction began a few decades later. The first architect of the square was Silvestre Pérez. The space gives one the feeling of a giant yet intimate palace salon. Every Sunday, Plaza Nueva hosts a flea market.

Tavisuplebis Moedani from Tbilisi, Georgia

A true symbol of Georgian independence, this area was named Freedom Square in 1918, during the First Georgian Republic. The name returns after the collapse of the USSR, proudly defining the country’s current identity, strengthened by the golden statue of Saint George defeating the dragon, which was placed here in 2006. It is interesting to note how the successive names of the square perfectly represent the history of Georgia in the modern age. When the square is built in the beginning of the 19thcentury, it is called Erevan or Ivan Paskevich Square – named after the general of the Russian Imperial Army, who conquered Erevan, eventually receiving the title of Count of Erevan. In the time of the USSR it was first called Beria Square, then Lenin Square, with a statue of Lenin dominating the centre until 1991. An interesting look into the dynamics of the urban network of the city: at first, when there was an intersection of trading routes with an inn, rather than a square, this area was located towards the margins of the settlement. The gradual development of the commercial margin of the city eventually becomes a centre, something encountered in many big Western European cities. An especially adventurous historical episode takes place here: in 1907, the square is the scene of a famous bank heist, organised and led by Stalin himself.

Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II from Český Budějovice, Czech Republic

The square is among the largest in Europe and bears the name of king Ottokar II of Bohemia, who, in 1256, founds the town, called Budweis in German. The Black Tower, built in the 16thcentury, and the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas are fond in the south-eastern corner. The baroque building of the city hall is in the opposite corner of the square, whilst the central point is taken by Samson’s Fountain, with a very elaborate baroque decoration. 48 houses with coats of arms, a beer factory, and a salt marketcomplete the square.