Prague Castle (Pražský hrad)
Overlooking the surrounding area, Prague Castle offers great views of the city. But don’t forget to get a selfie with one of the Castle Guards…
Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) has its origins in the 9th century and is the current official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. However that does not stop it being one of the biggest tourist attractions in Prague. The constant bustle of tourists to the castle is one of the main reasons that such a fantastic array of old buildings can be maintained and shown off to the public. It is worth taking into consideration the steep climb up to the castle, if you are travelling with pushchairs or wheelchairs it is advised to get the 22 tram up to the top of the slope, let the tram do the work for you.
A ticket for ‘Circuit A’ will cost you 350kc and will grant you access to all of the buildings which are open for public viewing (7 buildings). There are also student/elderly/group tickets available which shall be listed at the end of the article.
Old Royal Palace – Stary Kralovsky Palac
The Old Royal Palace is one of the oldest parts of the existing castle. Once entering the building you walk through a set of old double doors to discover a large open hall with an interesting pattern running across the ceiling in an almost floral arrangement. The large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling also help fill up this vast empty space. It is not hard however to imagine the hall in use all those years ago with fine furniture and materials of all types draped across the walls. From here you can then follow a route through the rest of the building to explore various other rooms connected to the building. These rooms are full of paintings and furniture from throughout the life of the building giving an indication as to who has lived here over the years.
The Story of Prague Castle – Pribeh Prazskeho hradu
The Story of Prague Castle is a large exhibition on the history of the area that came to be Prague Castle. It begins by documenting settlers from the Germanic tribes of Europe and has displays of artefacts which have been dug up from around the area. The building covers individuals from all walks of life which are connected to the castle, right from the Aristocrats down to the servants and tradesmen who have occupied the castle throughout its time. The exhibition is full of fantastic displays including stonework, fine clothing, military pieces and even exhumed graves of people thought to be linked with the castle. The exhibition is large and so consider putting an hour or more aside in your time at the castle to see all this building has to offer. Finally you can also see replicas of the Crown Jewels behind a glass cabinet in this building. Interesting to compare to Crown Jewels from other nations.
Basilica of St. George – Bazilika sv. Jiri
The Basilica of St. George was the second church at Prague Castle before the year 1000. When you walk through the entrance the view brilliant. Looking up at the roof you can see a fantastic wooden ceiling which catches your eye as soon as you walk in. The side walls leading to the front of the church are very plain but smart with it, in a less is more sort of way. The Basilica itself has Romanesque, austere and monumental styles all mixed in together creating a really unique building well worth seeing.
Golden Lane – Zlata Ulicka
The Golden Lane is located at the far end of the castle and is usually the last stop on everyone’s tour because of its location. However this does not make it any less interesting than any of the other areas of the castle. The lane is small and cramped so be prepared to battle other tourists to get through it, it is worth the battle. The array of different colours the buildings are painted in is very eye catching and the lane would serve as a good photo if you can take your opportunity during a lull in the crowds. Explore ever single nook and cranny of the street as you are guaranteed to find something you did not think would be there. Just like the medieval warfare exhibition in the upstairs section of the houses and castle wall. A huge array knight’s armour is on display from from the early 1100’s through to the earliest of Renaissance pieces. Don’t forget the weapons rooms either with the finest gunsmith work of the Renaissance on display alongside swords from across the medieval era. While you are in the exhibition, why not try your hand at some crossbow shooting for 50kc. This is a really great interactive part of the castle which should not be missed.
Powder Tower – Prasna vez
The Powder Tower is the largest cannon tower the castle has to offer, its defences were never tested during its lifetime as a working part of the castle, it is probably a good thing too as the tower gives off a real sense of the power Prague Castle was and still is. Now the Powder Tower holds an exhibition on the Castle Guards throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. This covers the Nazi occupation of the castle and the resistance movements that came to fight the Nazis on the streets of Prague as well as the Soviet occupation right through to the modern day. The floors of the exhibition have uniforms from across these times on display and even go into details on how the Castle Guards have been deployed on active duty in modern combat zones.
St. Vitus’s Cathedral – Katedrala sv. Vita
Arguably, this is the main attraction of Prague Castle. The exterior of the building is flawless and at every angle you look at it from, it offers up something different for you to see. While the exterior is very beautiful, if you really want knocking off your feet step inside. There are not many times I have been left speechless in my life but this was one of them. The vast expanse of the interior of the Cathedral is mind blowing and then all of a sudden you are confronted with huge glass stained windows on all sides, each as beautiful as the last. As you walk through the Cathedral there are various points of interest all with hugely valuable pieces accompanying them. I could not recommend a doing a full circuit of the Cathedral any more highly.
Rosenberg Palace – Rozmbersky palace
Rosenberg Palace is a Renaissance palace built by the Rosenberg family. Today it holds an exhibition on the gargoyles which are carved into St. Vitus’s Cathedral giving you a great close up look at the fine detail that went into these pieces of work. Alongside this display, there are a series of rooms set up from the 18th century where the building was rebuilt as the Institute Of Noblewomen. These rooms give a great sense of what it was like during the time for the women who lived in the building.
You may need more than one day to get around all of these buildings within the castle, but fear not, your ticket covers the day you bought it and the next day meaning you can get in to each building once across the two days. So don’t rush around, take your time and soak up all Prague Castle has to offer.
Visiting Hours, Admission and How to get there
How to get there:
Website Link: www.hrad.cz
You can take the number 22 tram up the hill to either ‘Kralovsky Letohradek’ or ‘Prazsky Hrad’. These are the two most practical stops for entering the museum.
Summer Tourists Season (April 1 till October 31)
• Prague Castle Complex – 6am – 10pm
• Historical Buildings – 9am – 5pm
Winter Tourist Season (November 1 till March 31)
• Prague Castle Complex – 6am – 10pm
• Historical Buildings – 9am – 4pm
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