Prague Castle Prazsky Hrad
Located in the neighborhood of Hradcany, Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad) is the city's main attraction and a must see on every visitors list. Within the castle travelers will find some of Prague's best sites, including the Cathedral of St Vitus, St George's Basilica and convent, St George's Basilica, the Powder Tower, the Old Royal Palace and the Golden Lane.
Prague Castle Map
Address: Hradcanské nám., Hradcany, Czech Republic
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 9am-6pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 9am-4pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 9am-4pm
Entrance fee in CZK: Kc350.00, Students Kc175.00, Child Kc175.00, Grounds / gardens only around attraction FREE
St Vitus Cathedral
Located in the Castle of Prague, St Vitus Cathedral (Katedrala St Vita) is considered to be the Czech Republic's largest and most important Christian building. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague and contains the tombs of saints and three Bohemian kings.Founded on the site of a Romanesque rotunda built in 925, St Vitus Cathedral took over 525 years to complete. It was started on November 21st, 1344 but building was halted time and again for wars and even the plague.The architechture of the Cathedral is a mixture of two styles, modern neo Gothic and 14th Century Gothic but has over its lifetime also included Baroque and Renaissance. The master builder who started the project was Matthais of Arras but over the course of construction there were six other master builders or architects that played a part.There are several interesting things to see contained within the Catherdral of St Vitus. First of these is the stunning stained glass windows that depict the Holy Trinty. Above the Golden Portal entrance arch is a mosaic from 1370 that depicts The Last Judgement. St Wenceslas Chapel (Svatovaclavska kaple) is a jewel encrusted site to see. Ametheyst and jasper decorate the altar. Also of note are the paintings dating from the 14th to 16th Centuries.The spire can be climbed and from here the views over Prague are spectacular.
Basilica of St George
The Basilica of St George (Bazilika sv Jiri) in the Prague Castle has undergone many renovations and alterations over the centuries but maintains its Romanesque form. There has been a church on this location since the early part of the 10th Century, but the current structure, which features two towers, dates to the mid 12th Century. The façade is the result of work done in the 17th Century. The Basilica of St George holds the tombs of Vlatislav I, who died in 921, Duke Bolislav II, who died in 999, and St Ludmila, the wife of Duke Borivoj and first female Czech saint.
Old Royal Palace
The Old Royal Palace (Stary Kralovsky Palac) has perhaps one of the most interesting histories of all the buildings in Prague. Built in the Gothic fashion, the large hall in the Palace was designed with many uses in mind. One its of the most interesting uses was for jousting. Staircases were designed to allow for horses and a fully mounted soldier to rush in. Other uses were more mundane such as market days exclusively for the nobility and ceremonial functions.Another amusing historical note is that on several occasions politicians have been thrown out of the windows of the Old Royal Palace. Some have lived but many have been killed during this practice. An obelisk below the windows of the Renaissance rooms of the palace, also called the Czech Office, marks the spot where the unfortunate persons have landed.A fine view of the city can be had from the balcony of the chapel.
The Royal Garden was built at the request of Habsburg Ferdinand I in 1534. This Renaissance garden also incorporated buildings including the Ball Game Pavilion, the Royal Summer House (and the Singing Fountain), and the Lion's Court, which were designed mainly for entertaining. Over the years the garden changed and exotic plants were added. Today the garden is a mixture of Renaissance and Baroque elements, and is laid out in an English style. The Royal Garden is a pleasant place to walk, particularly in the spring when it comes to life. There are good views to St Vitus Cathedral.
Originally a laneway of goldsmiths for the Prague Castle, the Golden Lane (Zlat Ulicka) is now a golden opportunity for overpriced tourist gift shops to fleece unsuspecting visitors. However, that said, located within some of the eleven old buildings, are interesting displays of armory and textiles, some of which are worth seeing.The Golden Lane was created when a new wall was added outside the existing wall of the Prague Castle complex. Dating back to the 15th Century, the Golden Lane, although somewhat touristic, is worth a quick visit and the entrance is included in the castle complex admission ticket.
Royal Summer Palace Belvedere (Queen Anne's Summer Palace)
The Royal Summer Palace Belvedere (Kralovsky Letohradek) was a gift from Ferdinand I to his wife, Queen Anne. Consequently is also goes by the name Queen Anne's Summer Palace. It lies at the edge of the Royal Garden and is one of the grandest Renaissance buildings in Prague. The surrounding arcade features ornate relief work depicting classical stories. The interior is not accessible to the public except when art exhibits are held here during the summer.In front of the Royal Summer Place stands the Singing Fountain, created by Tomas Jaros in the 16th Century.
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