Security to tighten at Prague Castle

Long lines will become commonplace at the most popular tourist destinations

Visitors to Prague Castle will be facing tighter security measures and waiting in lines, as police respond to the general security situation in Europe. The Police Presidium will be working with the Castle Police on new measures, according to Castle spokesman Jiří Ovčáček.

Prague Castle is the seat of the official offices of the Czech President and is used for state visits and official meetings. At the same time, it is the country's most popular tourist destination, with several buildings serving as museums and galleries, plus attractions like the massive St. Vitus' Cathedral and the Golden Lane. In the summer it hosts an annual Shakespeare festival, for example.

Recently, visitors have had to line up at entrances and have had to allow packages and luggage to be examined. Ovčáček said this was in response to terrorist attacks in Paris, and that the lines were a first step in increased security. “I will say it plainly: There will simply be lines,” Ovčáček told the media.

Lines will also be introduced soon at St. Vitus' Cathedral and the number of Castle Police will be increased.

Police Presidium spokeswoman Ivana Nguyenová said that the police, in response to the terrorist attacks in Europe, are focusing more on areas with a high concentration of people that are easily accessible. “These sites obviously include Prague Castle,” Nguyenová said.

Czech President Miloš Zeman in the past said that the Castle was a possible site for a terrorist attack, but he did not give details of any specific threat. He said the Ministry of Defense would allocate money for its protection.

Some 1.9 million people visited the Castle last year, according to state agency CzechTourism. The funicular on Petřín Hill was second in terms of visitor popularity and Prague Zoo was third.

Europe has seen a number of terrorist related attacks in 2015 and '16, including one in Paris in November 2015 that killed 137 people and wounded 368. A suicide bombing in Brussels in March 2016 killed 35 people and injured 330. A truck driver with terrorist ties drove a vehicle into a crowd in Nice, France, in July 2016 killing 86 and injuring 308.

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