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Pomp and circumstance: the Prague Castle

The monumental Prague Castle dating from 880 is the largest castle complex in the world and the city’s most famous attraction. Throughout the centuries, countless kings have resided in this complex of palaces and churches. Today it is the office of Milos Zeman, the president of the Czech Republic.

The castle is actually a small city: the walls of the complex harbour several streets and 3 courtyards. The guard at the gate changes every hour. The construction of this collection of palaces took 13 centuries to complete. All in all, the Prague Castle covers an area the size of 7 football fields and you can easily spend a day exploring the complex.

View of the Prague Castle

Czech Republic

Prague

Beautiful churches

One of the most eye-catching monuments inside the castle walls is the St. Vitus Cathedral. Visible from miles away, the tall slim towers are a wonderful example of Gothic architecture. It took 600 years to complete the cathedral; the central nave was only concluded in 1929. Founded in 921, the St. George Basilica is located on the square behind the St. Vitus Cathedral. The St. George Monastery, adjacent to the Basilica, was the first Benedictine monastery in the Czech region of Bohemia. The church has been partially destroyed by fire on several occasions and as a result it combines a diverse mix of architectural styles.
Guarding the palace

Descending the stairs by horse

The former royal palace is one of the oldest sections of the Prague Castle. Originally the palace was built in wood, but in 1142 this construction was replaced by a stone structure. The Vladislavsky sal, the Gothic room, is the most interesting part of the palace. It was completed in 1502 and for many centuries it served as the stage for the coronation of kings and queens. Measuring 62 metres by 16 metres, this is the largest Knights’ Hall in Europe. It is not hard to imagine kings descending the stairs on horseback and riding into the hall; not an unusual sight centuries ago. The election of the president of the Czech Republic still takes place here. The Gothic dungeons underneath the palace host an exhibit on the history of this beautiful building. Detailed scale models illustrate the various stages of the development of the palace.

The castle gardens

The gardens, meadows, flower beds and fountains that surround the Prague Castle are a feast for the eyes. Not only because of their beauty, but also because of their great views of the castle. There are various gardens, each with their own characteristics: the Royal Gardens, Southern Gardens and the Garden on the Walls. The Royal Gardens in particular (northeast of the royal palace) offer a beautiful view of Prague and the Moldau. Unlike the crowded Prague Castle, the gardens are often quiet and peaceful. Admission to the gardens is free.

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The beautiful castle gardens

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Prague Castle, Pražský hrad, 119 08 Praha 1, Czech Republic

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