Prague: Prague Castle

Enjoy magnificent beauty of largest ancient castle in the world (occupying area of almost 70.000 square meters) with our Prague tour! Prague Castle was always home of the kings of Bohemia and former Presidents of Czech Republic and today is still hiding marvelous Bohemian Crown Jewels in a secret room inside. Come to see beautifull St. Vitus Cathedral build inside Prague Castle on one of his courtyards. Enjoy look at Prague Castle guards standing still beside main entrance and much more!

About Prague Castle

Prague Castle (Pražský hrad or just Hrad) which dominates the Prague skyline is perhaps the most popular place for those who visit Prague. It is quite natural, there are many places of interest (not to mention the excellent view on the whole Prague!). It is possible to spend a whole day at Prague Castle compound.

Prague Castle is also a place of a great historical importance. For centuries, the Czech dukes and kings lived here a ruled from Prague Castle. And today it is the seat of the Czech President. You can see whether the President is at the Castle – if there’s a great flag flying atop the roof he is present.

But even before the kings, the old Czechs selected the site as their place of power. In the Dark Ages, the free men of the Czech people gathered here to elect their duke. The duke then sat on a stone throne standing on the hill. After the Přemyslid house established itself as the ruling dynasty (in 9th century at the latest), they began to develop the political centre of their domain. They built some of the first Christian churches here, most notably the St Vitus Rotund built by St Wenceslas at the place where the stone throne stood. The Rotund became the central church in Bohemia and was a predecessor to today’s St Vitus Cathedral. It stood where now is the easternmost (and also the oldest) part of the cathedral.

Some of the later rulers continued in the building activities – Duke Spytihnev II replaced the St Vitus Rotund with a large basilica and built a new Royal Palace by the end of 11th century. King Charles IV (1346-78) commenced the construction of the St Vitus Cathedral – which was finished in 1929! However, the Hussite Wars and their aftermath caused that the Castle had been uninhabited for 70 years until 1480s when King Vladislav II Jagiello moved his court here. Vladislav II started a large renovation of the Castle (Vladislav Hall in the Royal Palace and the fortification above Jelení příkop). In 1541, however, a great fire damaged Prague Castle. The King, Ferdinand I of Habsburg, started a large renovation project in line with the Rennaissance style and added also the beautiful Belvedere with its large garden. Ferdinand’s grandson, Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II was the last ruling monarch to reside here. All his successors resided in Vienna.

However, in late 18th century, a large rebuilding took place during the reign of Maria Theresa. The palaces on the southern side were unified in style to a large extent and in my opinion lost many interesting features from the previous periods.