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Royal splendour: Prague Castle

The monumental Prague Castle dates back to 880. It is the largest castle complex in the world and the national symbol of state power. The palaces and churches have been home to countless kings over the centuries, and the resident today is none other than Milos Zeman, President of the Czech Republic.

1. Basilica of St. Vitus, Basilica of St. George and St George’s Abbey

prague castle vitus cathedral

St. Vitus Basilica is by far the largest church in Prague. Its high, slender spires can be seen from miles away and are a stunning representation of the Gothic style. It took no less than six hundred years to build the Castle and the nave of the basilica wasn’t finished until 1929. The Basilica of St. George, located on the square behind the St. Vitus, was founded in 921. St. George’s Abbey which is connected to this basilica, was the first Benedictine abbey in Bohemia. Due to various fires over the centuries, the church has been frequently restored and features an interesting mix of architectural styles.

2. Old Royal Palace

The palace was originally built in wood, but in 1142 the old construction was replaced by a stone building. The most spectacular feature is the flamboyant Gothic hall, the Vladislavsky sal. This was finished in 1502 and has since served as a stunning setting for the coronation of many kings and queens. Sixty-two metres long, nineteen metres wide and thirteen metres high, it is the largest hall in Europe. With such grand dimensions, you can easily imagine kings galloping up the stairs on their horse to enter the hall. Today it serves as the place where the presidents of the Czech Republic are elected.

3. The castle gardens

prague castle gardens

The gardens, lawns, flower patches and fountains around Prague Castle are a sight to behold. Not just because of their beauty, but also for the spectacular views they offer over the castle. Various gardens are accessible to the public, each with its own character, including the Royal Gardens, the Southern Gardens and the Garden on the Bastion. The Royal Gardens (northeast of the Royal Palace) provide an especially amazing view over Prague and the Vltava river. In contrast to the crowds in the castle, the gardens are surprisingly serene and offer a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the historic city centre.

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