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Prague Castle in the Czech Republic – The Complete Guide for Visitors

9 mins. read

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is a popular destination for tourists. Also called the City of a Hundred Spires, Prague attracts tourists with its rich history and Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, and Renaissance architecture. Situated in the heart of Europe, Prague is a cultural, political, and economic hub in central Europe. With some of the finest architecture, rich history and art, winding streets, and beer, Prague makes an ideal destination to enjoy a fulfilled and memorable vacation. Prague Castle is one of the significant attractions in the Czech Republic´s capital. Situated on a hill above the Vltava River, Prague Castle has the largest coherent castle complex in the world.

Here is everything you should know about visiting the Castle in Prague - the glorious European architecture.

Prague Castle – History

This huge and striking fort was founded in 870 AD by Prince Bořivoj, the first historically documented Duke of Bohemia and ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty. This first princely palace was designed using basic structures, such as clay, stones, moat, and a series of wooden frames. There was only the Church of the Virgin Mary and other fortifications. It was in the 10th century when the significance of today’s castle grew. In 1483, post the time when the castle was abandoned, the rulers again started living in this castle. They built many new buildings and expanded the Prague palace. A major transformation happened in the 16th century when the Habsburgs monarchy started reconstructing the castle in the renaissance design, shifting it from the duskier medieval setting to a brighter and more dignified structure full of art, history, and scientific collections.

Prague Castle in the Czech Republic was built over time. Many dukes and princes had rebuilt structures and expanded the building by adding fortifications on the site. The castle in Prague went through diverse periods when it fell into abandonment and poor condition, only to rise and shine again. In 1993, Prague Castle became the seat of the president of the new Czech Republic. One of the best places to visit in Prague, the Castle, has been ruling the city as a major historical masterpiece for centuries.

Prague Castle – Architecture

Spread over 18 acres, Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world. It is grand and majestic, having many architectural and historical delights for visitors. Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, as the Guinness Book of World Records. The highlight of the castle is that it has a unique combination of various architectural styles and techniques used in the bygone era. Prague Castle has magnificent Gothic cathedrals, sprawling halls, and lush gardens.

The entire building was designed in Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Mannerism styles of architecture. The prominent Slovenian architect Josip Plečnik was in charge of an extensive makeover during the First Republic (1918-1938). The castle has gone through many major and continuous changes till the Velvet Revolution in 1989. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Prague Castle has palaces, towers, halls, churches, and gardens - designed in different architectural styles. It also has expansive courtyards, enthralling museums, massive statues, and beautiful fountains.

Prague Castle – Tickets

While entry to Prague Castle is free of cost, it will only allow you to explore corridors and the garden. To discover everything inside the building, visitors above 17 years of age need to buy tickets for Prague Castle. However, kids and teens between 6 and 16 years can get a 50% discount on the full ticket cost. Children below 5 years of age can get a 75% discount. The ticket for Prague Castle is valid for two days. Visitors have to carry a valid ID card to prove their age. You can find more detailed information on the official website of the castle in Prague. It is wise to buy tickets online to avoid queues.

Timings

The opening hours of Prague Castle differ by season. While all the historical attractions are open to the public, the gardens are closed during the winter season.

Normally, the complex of Prague Castle is open from 6 am to 10 pm., every day of the week.

Prague Castle – Inside Attractions

Prague Castle in the Czech Republic is a massive complex with a range of attractions, so you have to take out a good amount of time from your schedule to visit it in detail. Some major points of interest that you should not miss inside the castle are:

St. Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

Founded in 1344, St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague is a quite artistic and national historical monument of the Czech Republic. One of the largest and most significant churches of Prague, St. Vitus Cathedral, has the tombs of many Roman Emperors and Bohemian kings. The carvings of St. Vitus Cathedral were created by different sculptors, so one cannot find similarities on the facade. The highlights include stained glass windows, St. Wenceslas Chapel, and a Crown chamber containing Czech Crown Jewels.

Old Royal Palace

The original residence building made of wood and clay, Old Royal Palace, was built at Prague Castle in the 9th and 10th centuries. Situated in the third courtyard of the fort, the Old Royal Palace was the residence of the Bohemian dukes and kings from the 12th to 14th century. Here, you can explore the History of Pražský Hrad, explaining the development and rise of the castle, from starting to the present time. Also, there are various thematic rooms like The History of Feast, The History of Foundation, and more, taking visitors into the past.

Prague Castle Art Gallery

Next on the list of the major attractions inside Prague Castle, Czech Republic, the Art Gallery showcases paintings from the 15th to the 18th century. You can find the extraordinary work of German, Italian, Flemish, and Dutch artists of the 17th century. Also, the new collection comprises of artworks by artists of the Czech school of the 18th and 20th centuries, including Rubens, Cranach, Titian, Petr Brandl, Jan Kupecký, Vojtěch Hynais, and more.

St. George Basilica

Originating as the second church at Prague Castle, St. George Basilica has striking and well-preserved Romanesque architecture. St. George Basilica was built around AD 920 by Prince Vratislav I of Bohemia. A fire accident in 1142 ruined some parts, leading to the reconstruction of the church. This restoration gave the St. George Basilica a modern Romanesque interior. However, the original look has been preserved till today. Today, many concerts and exhibitions are organised within the walls of the Basilica.

Royal Garden

Royal Garden

An Italian Renaissance garden, the Royal Garden is also a major historical attraction inside Prague Castle. Founded by Ferdinand I. Habsburg in 1534, this royal garden is graced by many striking Renaissance structures. The Royal Garden has a singing fountain and a summer palace structured in 1538-64 called the Belvedere Palace due to its striking view. Designed by the Italian Paola Della Stella, the Belvedere Palace is famous as the most stunning renaissance building north of the Alps.

Daliborka Tower

One of the most famous sites inside Prague Castle, Daliborka Tower, is a part of the late Gothic fortifications in the castle. The tower was originally used as a prison to hold only noble prisoners until the end of the 18th century. However, it became a prison for commoners as well, towards the end. The name of this tower was derived from the Knight Dalibor of Kozojedy, the first prisoner. The history and tales related to this tower make it a key attraction for everybody visiting the castle in Prague.

Prague Castle is a must-see spot with a rich and intriguing history of dukes and kingdoms. You will feel like you have gone into a different world. You only have to find a suitable Prague tour package to venture into the land of history and castles.

January 19, 2023

Author

Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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