Prague Castle is an important symbol of the Czech Republic. The fortress is a complex of buildings, fortifications and temples. The attraction is famous for its majestic architecture and astonishing scale.
General information about Prague Castle in the Czech Republic
The territory of the castle occupies 7 hectares. The basis of the structure consists of 3 courtyards with palaces, churches and other medieval buildings. Architectural styles are intertwined: you can meet a Gothic church or a house of the Classical era.
Twice in history the Prague Castle became the residence of the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. The castle was home to the princes and kings of Bohemia.
The castle was built in the center of the Czech capital. There are three entrances to the complex: the main (west), east and north gates. The attraction is located on an elevated site, but there are many public transportation stops nearby.
History of the Prague Castle and interesting legends
The emergence of the fortress is associated with the appearance of Prague. According to ancient legend, the foundation was laid in the distant 880 by Prince Borzhivoj Přemyslovich. He is considered the first historical prince of the Czechs. In the early Middle Ages the castle was a fortified settlement with a high fence.
The first structure of the complex was the Church of St. Mary.
King Charles IV gave the building its modern look. During his reign the foundations of St. Vitus Cathedral were laid.
How to get to Prague Castle
There are several ways to get to your destination.
You can approach the Prague Castle from the north gate. Streetcar No. 22 will take you to the door.
Another convenient option is to approach from the side of Hradčanské Square. It can be reached by the same streetcar number 22.
Not far from the castle there are several metro stations. But this option is less convenient because you have to climb to the top of the mountain on foot. You can leave by subway after the tour, admiring the views of Prague.
Complex working time
Entrance for travelers is open all year round. The schedule is from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Attractions open at 09:00.
Ticket prices and where to buy them
Entrance to the castle grounds is free. A pass will be required only to visit some attractions. These include the Picture Gallery, the Powder Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral, etc.
Ticketing points are located in the second and third courtyards, in the Royal and Lobkowicki Palaces, as well as on Zlatá Street.
The cost per person ranges from 250 to 350 crowns. There are 50% discounts for teenagers and senior citizens. Admission is free for children under 6 years old, disabled and special guides.
The main attractions on the territory of the castle complex in Prague
The complex is famous for its architectural and natural monuments. The grandeur of the ancient structures strikes the imagination of any traveler.
St. Vitus Cathedral
The cathedral is considered one of the pearls of European Gothic and is an artistic and national shrine of the Czech Republic.
Construction of the Gothic temple began in the XIV century. In the walls of the Catholic shrine were crowned rulers of Bohemia. The chapel has a collection of beautiful art from the Middle Ages. The building was not completed until the early 20th century.
The Old Royal Palace
It was originally a stone building, built in the 12th century. But then the Royal Palace underwent many reconstructions, and now only the basement remains of the original. Many ruling dynasties lived in the chambers. Coronations and meetings were held within the walls of the premises.
The building survived the Romanesque and Gothic periods, but the tangible reconstruction of the structure took place in the 15th century. King Vladislav II Jagiellon wanted to transform the building into a Renaissance castle. The Vladislav Hall was built, which became the largest secular room in the states of Eastern Europe.
The Old Royal Palace acquired its present appearance in the mid-18th century. The court architect reconstructed the building in the Classical style. A unified architectural ensemble was formed.
The last reconstruction took place at the end of the XX century. A Museum of Fine Arts was opened in the palace, and the building was opened to the public for tourists.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The chapel was erected in 1763. It has remained the key architectural structure of the second courtyard for several centuries.
In the chapel there is a platform with a view of St. Vitus Cathedral. The building houses a collection of medieval art. Most pieces are made of silver or gold.
The Picture Gallery was opened in the 16th century by King Rudolf II. The building houses the oldest collection of paintings in the Czech Republic.
After the death of the founding king, the masterpieces were looted. However, the collection now includes paintings by famous Italian, German, Czech and Dutch artists. You can see masterpieces by Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto and Josef Manes.
The collection has more than 4,000 pieces of art, but 107 paintings and 3 sculptures are on display.
The garden was founded by Ferdinand I King of Hungary and Bohemia in 1534.
The complex was one of the first examples of the application of Renaissance rules in the layout of parks. Trees atypical of the region were brought in. Chestnut and flax appeared in Bohemia.
On the west side is the villa of Edward Benes. The planners managed to preserve the unity of nature and architecture.
Both children and adults will be interested in the gathering. The collection includes toys from ancient times as well as modern crafts. The museum is located in the former premises of the Supreme Burgrave’s Office. In the collection you can find toys from Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt.
The street is famous for its small 2-story houses. Erected in the XV century on the site of the fortress wall.
Today, Zlata Uluchka is one of the symbols of the Czech capital. The dwarf houses have been converted into gift stores. The street was used as a residential street before World War II.
St. George’s Church
The Benedictine nunnery of St. George was founded in 976 as an annex to the basilica of St. George. The first abbess of the abbey was Mlada, who took the name Mary upon receiving the priesthood. She was the sister of the Czech prince Vratislav I.
The first addition to the building was erected in the 10th century. This marked the consecration of the church as a monastery.
Since 1781, a prison was established within the walls of the building. The tower was named after the first prisoner, Dalibor. The prison attracts tourists with its dark history and interesting legends.
In the building are preserved damp dungeons, where many criminals served their sentences. Upon entering the prison tower, the traveler finds himself in a wide circular room.
On the floor is a hatch that leads to an underground dungeon. The cell has no windows and is in perpetual darkness. Prisoners were lowered down there on a rope. According to legend, the cell was used to send criminals who had been sentenced to starvation by the court.
In some of the cells you can look at medieval instruments of torture. Some devices are so intimidating that they can terrify the unprepared traveler.
St. George’s Basilica
It is the oldest church in Prague Castle. The foundation of the church was laid in 920 by the Czech prince Vratislav I. In the 12th century, the church was damaged by a fire, but was later rebuilt. Two Romanesque towers were added to the sides of the basilica.
The Baroque facade of the building was designed in the 17th century. The modern appearance of the structure is largely consistent with the medieval original.
The Deer Ditch is a ravine on the north side of the city. The area of the park is 8 hectares. On the territory of the complex runs Brusnice brook. The ravine was named deer ravine because of the fauna.
In the second half of the seventeenth century, a riding school was founded. The Powder Bridge was erected, which connected the castle with the Royal Garden. In the park you can see various representatives of flora. The combination of nature and buildings that people have erected will be pleasing to the eye.
Prague Castle Palaces
On the territory of the fortress was built a lot of chambers. They date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries or the Renaissance.
In the Royal Garden is the Summer Palace of Queen Anne, built in the 16th century. The foundations were laid by King Ferdinand I. It was a gift to his wife Anne Egolonka. In terms of architectural composition, the building is a mixture of Renaissance and Palladianism. In the park there is a Singing Fountain, cast in bronze.
The palace is available to visitors from April to October.
Museum of knight’s armor
In the fortress there is a museum of knightly armor. The collection includes armor made of different alloys. In addition, in the museum you can find authentic exhibits of medieval weapons. The building has a cold and gloomy atmosphere. The museum will appeal to those interested in the history of military art.
What else is worth seeing in Prague Castle
Among the interesting sights can also include:
- Ballroom. The building was erected in the 16th century. Originally it was intended for ball games, but later it was used as a stable. In the twentieth century, the structure was damaged in the war, after which only the side walls remained.
- Manege. The building is located opposite the entrance to the Royal Gardens.
- Greenhouse. The modern greenhouse was erected in the early XXI century. It is the only modern building on the territory of the castle.
Changing of the guard of honor
Changing of the guard is daily from 5 am to 11 pm – for 1 hour. At noon, the procedure takes place with orchestral musical accompaniment.
Plan-scheme of the Prague fortress
Visual familiarity with the plan of the complex will help not get lost. The map can be printed out or downloaded to your mobile device.
This will ensure a pleasant walk through one of the main pearls of the great European culture.