Prague Castle, the ancient symbol of Czech Republic, and one of the most important cultural buildings! Prague Castle is also the castle with the highest population, according to Guinness Book of Records. This castle was home of Czech kings, kings of the Holy Roman Empire, a sanctuary for bishops and today it is a home of the President of Czech Republic.
Prague Castle and Hradcany Hill History
Lesser Side, which lies on the left shore of Vltava River and in the foothills of the Prague Castle, was built by King Ottokar II Premyslid. Until the 18th century, it was an independent town in the foothills of the Castle.
Hradcany or Hradcany Hill has been built in 9th century by Prince Borivoj. The former castle was in recent history made into the unbelievably breathtaking building.
Prague Castle occupies an area of 70. 000 square meters, 128 meters in length and 570 in width. On the entrance of Hradcany, there’s a big square full of baroque palaces and residences, one of which is now the National Gallery.
The Royal Guard
Hradcany Square is the main entrance to the castle. There you can see a gate decorated with “Fight of Titans” sculpture.
Two monumental statues fighting, and there are guards beneath them. The shift of the guards takes place every hour. Then, the square is full of tourists. It is definitely worth visiting and seeing the guard shift change. Yet, there is no way you could possibly draw attention from the guards! Not even while taking photos next to them – they will still be still as statues.
A fun fact regarding the guard shift is that exactly at noon the shift is followed by fanfares and flags.
You need entrance tickets to see the interior of the historic buildings and the castle.
Entrance Ticket Purchase
You can purchase tickets in various locations within the castle, which means that wherever you find yourself, you should look around, find an information center and get your tickets for 300 CZK, while there’s a discount for students and children. But, if you don’t want to see everything, you can always get individual tickets for specific objects.
Historical sights within the castle are open every day except 24th of December
Summer season is from 01.04. to 31.10. – from 9.00 AM to 6.00 PM. The winter season is from 01.11. to 31.03. and then it is open from 9.00 AM to 4.00 pm. The rooms used by the President of the Czech Republic are open to visitors every first Saturday of the month, after the first of May.
In 1918 the Prague Castle became the home of the Czechoslovak President. The Presidential Guard was established in the same year.
After passing through the main entrance, next to the guard house, is the entrance to the first part of the courtyard. You can stay there if it’s close to a full hour and wait for the change of the guards.
If the shift of the guard passed already or you do not want to see it, go further, into the second yard. There, you will see the Chapel of the Holy Cross where the jewelry from the cathedral treasury is today. You can also see the beautiful Kohl’s fountain.
If you happen to be in Prague during the summer, you can take a stroll through the small walkway from the second yard to the beautiful garden. While you are there, you can enjoy the peace and beautiful scenery. This part is closed during the winter. But, whenever you visit this magnificent castle, from the second yard, you will break through the early Baroque Gate of Matthew, dating back to 1614.
If you are an art enthusiast, on the opposite side, the northern side of the castle there is a gallery with art pieces of the Prague Castle.
Tickets for the Prague Castle Gallery
The entrance to this building is not free and the price is 150CZK. It is open only twice a year – First Saturday after the 08th of May and the first Saturday after October 28th. If you happen to visit the complex of the castle at this time, we are warmly recommending you to visit the Gallery.
After the second yard, we slowly move to the third. The path to the third yard passes next to the New Royal Palace, which houses the premises of the President of the Czech Republic.
Cathedral of St. Vitus
The third yard is the courtyard of the imposing building, the beautiful Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Vitus which occupies most of this courtyard.
It’s simply impossible to capture the whole building and all of its parts, with a camera or even your eyesight.
This is the cathedral, where the Czech kings were crowned, both funeral and wedding rituals held, as well as royal children baptism rituals.
The first couple of meters of the entrance to the Cathedral are free. If you want to go further and also see all the beautiful details you have to pay for the entrance.
The cathedral has 22 chapels, but the most important and beautiful is the one in which the crowns of the Czech kings are. The crown of St. Wenceslas and the cloak in which Charles IV have been crowned are also in this chapel.
Only the president of the Czech Republic and the most important six officials, as well as the church dignitaries have keys to the coronation chambers.
From the south side of St. Vitus Cathedral, you can see the belfry with the biggest bell in the Czech Republic. To the right of the belfry is the depiction of a Terrible Court, the end of life on earth.
The most important building of Hradcany is most certainly the old royal castle, after which you will see the St. George’s Basilica, which is the second oldest church of the capital of the Czech Republic.
The oldest monastery in this complex is the Benedictine Monastery of St. George.
The Golden Street
The charming miniature street with only eleven houses is located within the Prague Castle. The magnificence of this street is in the facades of houses painted in pastel colors.
This small street was built in the 16th century. The inhabitants were royal alchemists who were trying to make artificial gold. Emperor Rudolf was obsessed with alchemy. During his reign, he was looking for the services of several prominent alchemists. People believe that he was obsessed with mysticism, alchemy and quest for eternal life because of his poor mental state.
Despite the alchemists that lived in this street, the street is named after the jewelers who lived in that area.
The Golden Street in Modern History
During the 19th century, various artists inhabited this street. The most famous inhabitant of this street was the writer Franz Kafka. He lived in a house with a number 22 with his sister from 1912 to 1914.
Empress Maria Theresa is most of all responsible for the present appearance of this street. She issued an order to build new houses from stronger and better materials at the places where ruined houses were.
Be sure to visit the Golden Street and feel the mystique of medieval Prague. You can maybe even discover the secret of making gold! Today, the street is full of craft shops and the small souvenir stores.
In conclusion, take the whole day and go to your royal adventure through the Prague Castle. Its interior, as well as the view on Prague from its ramparts will leave you breathless at least for a moment for sure.