An imposing ‘Prague Castle’ that dates back to the ninth century is one of the most iconic & magnificent structures in ‘Czech Republic’. The massive castle complex boasts the finest elements of all sorts of significant architectural styles, which prevailed in Europe throughout the last millennium. The castle, which is currently serving as the official residence & an office place of the President of Czech Republic, has earlier served as a seat for different realms, including the ‘Bohemian Kings’, the ‘Holy Roman Emperors’ & the ‘President of Czechoslovakia’.
‘Prague Castle’ is located in the Hradcany district in ‘Prague’ & plays an important role in making ‘Prague’ one of the most important cultural center in Europe! The castle complex occupies roughly 70,000 m2 of area & is famous for the Bohemian Crown Jewels kept in a hidden room within the castle complex. The whole complex is adorned with fabulous gardens, great courtyards, amazing palaces & rich museums. The colossal castle of ‘Prague’ is an epitome of the city’s cultural heritage, which makes ‘Prague’ one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
How to Get There?
On Foot: The castle is perched atop a hillock, & can be reached following many routes available from several spots in the city.
- Via Nerudova Street: The street starts from ‘Malostranske Namesti’ & ends up before the castle’s main entrance. The street is quite steep, although it offers magnificent views of the surrounding city.
- Via Castle Steps (Zamecke Schody): The path is ideal for visiting the gardens near ramparts & it can be taken by initially following ‘Nerudova Street’ till ‘Zamecka Street’ & upon walking a bit further, taking a left to climb the castle stairs.
- Via Old Castle Steps (Stare zamecke schody): The path begins from the ‘Malostranka metro station’ & it takes you to the start of ‘Jirska Street’.
By Tram: Tram No. 22, available from ‘Narodni trida’ or ‘Malostranska metro station’, offers a picturesque ride & also saves your time & efforts to climb up the hill. Get down at any one station out of ‘Kralovsky Letohradek’, ‘Prazsky hrad’ or ‘Pohorelec’ & start your excursion on foot through this architectural grandeur, which was crafted by the finest hands of the medieval masters.
History In Brief:
The ‘Church of the Virgin Mary’, the first walled building constructed in the year 870 by Prince Bolivoj of the ‘Premyslid dynasty’, laid the stepping stone of the ‘Prague Castle’. Later on in the 10th century, the Basilica of St. George & the Basilica of St. Vitus were constructed during the periods of Vratislav & his son St. Wenceslas. Under the reign of Charles IV in the 14th century, the castle went through the massive restoration work wherein, the royal palace was reconstructed in Gothic style & the ramparts were strengthened. A massive ‘St. Vitus Cathedral’ was also built to replace the old ‘Basilica of St. Vitus’.
The Hussite Wars & the decades, which followed thereafter, lead to the abandonment of the castle, which, later on, refurbished by King Ladislaus II Jagello in 1485 who restore the former grandeur of the castle. The major parts of the castle became victim of the massive fire in 1541 & it was again refurbished in the successive centuries. The ‘Holy Roman Emperor’ Rudolf II completed the reconstruction of the castle & moved his seat back to ‘Prague’.
During the Bohemian Revolt in 1618, the castle was looted & ransacked several times by the ‘Swedes’ during which, many invaluable things from the collection of Rudolf II, were plundered. The Empress Maria Theresa carried out the final major reconstruction of the castle during the 18th century. In 1918, the new Czechoslovak Republic president T.G. Masaryk made castle the place of his seat. The royal palace & the gardens were renovated by Slovenian architect ‘Joze Plecnik’ & after him, his successor ‘Pavel Janak’.
‘Czechoslovakia’ was split into the ‘Slovakia’ & ‘Czech Republic’ & the castle became the seat of the ‘Head of State’ of newly founded ‘Czech Republic’. President Vaclav Havel then employed ‘Borek Sipek’ to carry out the necessary facelift to restore the castle’s galleries.
The castle architecture flaunts elements of almost all the architectural styles of past thousand years. The Gothic style ‘St. Vitus Cathedral’ is the most remarkable building of the castle complex. Several palaces, museums, gardens, defense towers, Romanesque Basilica of St. George, a monastery, the Renaissance Summer Palace of Queen Anne & massive Baroque courtyard boast the finest demonstration of all the major architectural styles.
A walk through the gigantic castle complex guarantees a stride through the history as well as through the place where even time has come to a halt!
The castle complex houses many museums & hosts a bevy of exhibitions all year round. The Picture Gallery of the castle houses the precious paintings of the ace artists of the Renaissance period such as Titian & Rubens.
The castle is also famous for the Museum of Toys & the National Gallery that houses the artifacts of Bohemian baroque & mannerism art. A sumptuous ‘Prague Castle’ thus, demonstrates the cultural glory of the Czech Republic. The aesthetic wealth that this phenomenal castle flaunts is truly unrivaled & it genuinely deserves a trip of every person who is in love with the artistic brilliance of the master architects of the Renaissance era!