Prague Castle

Charming Prague Hotels | 25. 6. 2015

Prague Castle

Prague In year 870 Premyslid family led by Borivoj (1st czech historicaly recorded prince) decided to move to place of a rocky ridge above the Vltava River and built a fort called Prazsky Hrad (Prague Castle).

Prague castle has been the centre of the Czech state power and ideology for over thousand and hundred years. There is no older centre of a state in Europe, which has been continually utilised until these days, except Rome.
Prague Castle was built of timber at first and was fortified with a soil rampart. It consisted of many small timber houses - stone buildings were built much later.
The Basilica of St. George was founded in the first half of the 10th century (the oldest church within Prague Castle) is one of the few Roman churches that still has remains of the original stone building. It contained the relics of the Premyslid Princes and family members, along with relics of St. Ludmilla (the first czech saint and national patron).

Basilica of St. Vitus was build a bit later about the year 925. Prince Vaclav I founded this Romanesque rotunda here and it was converted into a basilica with three naves and two steeples after 1060. The coronations of Czech kings and queens took place here since than. It is a place of provincial patron saints, sovereigns, noblemen and archbishops remains.
In the 11th century Prague Castle was a massive fort and perfect defense system, churches, a Bishop's palace, and two monasteries.
The Prague Castle was rebuilt into a real Medieval Castle with stone palaces, churches and houses in the first half of the 12th century and the Romanesque fortified stone wall with towers protected the castle for several centuries. King Otakar II fortified the castle by building very strong walls, ditches and towers and fortified the Prague Lesser town and adjoined it to the castle.

Prague Castle was since the time of King Otakar II devastated and in 1333, the Czech and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV stated that he had no where to dwell and so he had a big and beautiful palace built at great cost in place. Peter Parler (German builder) and Mathieu d\'Arras (French architect) started reconstruction in a Gothic style. Form this period are The golden castle roofs, which were built as a symbol of wealth, power and fame of the Czech Kingdom.

The King Charles IV laid the first stone of the new Gothic Cathedral of St. Vitus in 1344 in place of former basilica. The walls of St. Wenceslas Chapel were covered with more than 1,300 precious stones and paintings express the medieval devotion to St. Wenceslas. Zlata ulicka (The Golden Lane) is a row of small houses by the walls of the Castle, where the Castle's fusiliers lived and later goldsmiths, from whom the alleyway got it's name.
After death of the King Charles IV came Hussite wars and crusaders with them.

New constructions begun at the Prague Castle during reign of the King Vladislav, who built the Festive Hall (now called Vladislav Hall) in a beautiful Gothic style (one of most visited rooms in the old Prague Castle).
In 1509 a big bell (weighing 200 hundredweights) was cast for St. Wenceslas cathedral. The Royal Garden was designed as an Italian garden in year 1500. Fig, Cedar trees and also tulips were brought by Turkish Ambassador to the Prague Castle in 1554. White, yellow and red tulips bloomed here for the first time in Europe, long before spreading across the European continent and to the Holland.

In 1526, the Habsburgs by building the Summer House in the Royal Garden and the Ballgame Hall, began to make changes to a Renaissance style. A big fire of 1541 burned parts of the Prague castle and then major Renaissance renovations came. Emperor Ruldoph II c. 1600 turned the Prague Castle into a center of art and science. He also placed here gallery with his rich collections.  In 2nd half of the 18th century Empress Maria Theresa rebuilt the Prague Castle buildings in Baroque style to the current state. After World War I, gardens and the interior of Prague Castle were renovated by the architect J. Plecnik. Prague Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic and political centre of state.

Parts of Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus The most important and largest temple in Prague - coronations of Czech kings and queens took place here.



St. George´s Basilica and convent

St. Georges Basilica

Founded in 920 and enlarged in 973. The present Romanesque appearance dates back to year 1142. In 18th century the Baroque Chapel of St. John Nepomuk was added. Large restoration took place in periods 1887-1908 and 1969-1975. Now is place of exposition of old Bohemian art from Rudolpian and Baroque periods. Open daily except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Spanish Hall with Rudolph´s Gallery

Built in 16th century – now place where important state events, concerts and social gatherings take place.
It's open for public only twice a year - in May on the Day of liberation from fascism, and in October on the day establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic state.

Prague Castle Picture Gallery
Prague Castle GalleryPrague Castle Picture Gallery was established in one part Imperial stables in last century.




Prague Castle Old Royal Palace
Old Royal PalaceThe original wooden building from 9th century was rebuilt into a stone Romanesque palace in the early 12th century and in 14th century into Gothic palace (including All Saint´s Church). It was deserted for entire eighty years of the stormy 15th century. Last large-scale reconstruction took place in start of 16th century (including The Vladislav Hall). Later other parts were added (including The Theresian Wing).

Lobkowicz Palace
Lobkowicz PalaceBuilt in 16th century and in 1668 adapted to Early Baroque style. There is permanent exposition from a private collection of the Lobkowicz family (pictures by Velázquez Brueghel, Canaletto and others from the 12th to the 20th century, musical instruments and original manuscripts and prints of significant musical works of Händel, Haydn, Beethoven, and arms collection).
Open daily from 10:30 to 18:00.

The Supreme Burgave´s House

Burgrave HouseThe seat of Prague Castle castellans and burgraves is on the present site from the Romanesque period. It was rebuilt in Renaissance style in 1541. In the 60's of the 20th century some of the original buildings were replaced with new onesNow is the place of exhibitions of creative art and photographs. Prague Castle Toy Museum is in the northern wing. Open daily except Mondays from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.



The Golden Lane 
Golden LaneLast „small-scale architecture“ in Prague Castle area (documented from the 16th century). Used to be inhabited by the castle goldsmiths, servants, and the castle marksmen. Writer Franz Kafka lived here in house no.22.

Royal Summer Palace (Queen Anne's Summer Palace)
BelvederBuilt in 1538-1560 in the eastern part of Royal Garden. It was reconstructed in 1836 and now it serves mainly for exhibitions of creative art.





Powder Tower Mihulka
MihulkaBuilt in the late 15th century as a part of the new fortification as the largest cannon tower of Prague Castle. Previously also called the New Tower, the Round Bastion, the Laboratory and the Powder Tower.




Royal Garden
Royal GardenLaid in 1534 – corrently in „English style“. There is number of buildings serving the entertainment of the nobility in the past : the Ball Game Pavilion, the Royal Summer House, the Lion Court.



Southern Gardens
Southern GardenEstablished gradually beneath Prague Castle. Now is possible to walk through them and make a tour round Prague Castle. Open daily in summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Prague Castle Riding SchoolRoyal Stables

Established in the late 17th century and in 20th century turned into an exhibition hall, garages and garden.



Imperial Stables
Imperial StablesBoth sides of the gate are lined with stables from 16th century and in the 20th century were converted into exhibition rooms.

The Changing of the Guard at the gates of the Prague Castle takes place every hour (except 0-5am) and at noon the ceremony includes a fanfare and banner exchange.




Prague Castle area opening hours :
November-March : Daily 06:00-23:00
April-October : Daily 05:00-24:00

Prague Castle Gardens opening hours :
April and October : Daily 10:00-18:00
May and September : Daily 09:00-19:00
June and July : Daily 09:00-21:00
August : Daily 09:00-20:00

Prague Castle sights and attractions opening hours :
November-March : Daily 09:00-16:00
April-October : Daily 09:00-18:00

Public transport connection :
By tram (no. 22 or 23) to stop Prazsky Hrad (Prague Castle), walk up from the Prague Charles Bridge or Malostranska subway station or Hradcanska subway station.

Address :
Prague Castle
Hradcany, Prague 1
Czech Republic

Prague Castle - complete tourist information

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