One of the must-visit places in Prague, Prague Castle. It has an amazing history over 1000 years, and is also registered as UNESCO World Heritage. Prague Castle is considered a textbook of architecture and art history. It is beautiful enough when you see it from far away near sunset time or during the night with its lights on, but you will be amazed again when you see it close.
The largest and the most important building in Prague Castle. Not only religious services, but also coronations of Czech kings and queens also took place in St. Vitus Cathedral. It was originally a Romanesque rotunda founded by Prince Wenceslas around 925, and was converted into a basilica with Gothic style. With the width of 124m, and height of 100m, this cathedral gives you a marvelous impression.
The picture above is the western facade where visitors can enter the cathedral. When you go to the right side, you can see the front facade of St. Vitus cathedral in the courtyard.
The cathedral was finally completed in 1929, after 1000 years construction. There are many relics of Wenceslas, making it as a museum as well.
You will see many statues when you walk on the bridge, and the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk is the most famous among them. He was the court priest of King Wenceslas IV, and he refused to tell the king about the confession of queen, and thus, he was killed by request of the king.
He was drowned in the Vltava river, and his body is enshrined in St. Vitus Cathedral. His grave is decorated with two tones of fine silver. When you get closer to see in detail, you can see a small pink decoration, which is told it is either his cut tongue or a part of his brain tissue.
When you look back after entering St. Vitus Cathedral, you will see the beautiful rose window made with over 27,000 color glasses. The stainded glasses by Alphonse Mucha and some other representative artists of those days are also the things not to be missed. When the sun is shining through windows, stained glasses color the whole cathedral with wonderful and mysterious colors.
Defenders of the castle, servants, and goldsmiths used to reside in Golden Lane until World War II. When you visit the house No. 15, you can see that goldsmiths were living there, and due to that reason, the name of this street was called Goldsmith Lane, which later changed to Golden Lane as now.
The house No. 14 was the house of the famous fortune teller ‘Madame de Thebes’, who predicted a near fall of the Third Reich. After her predictions, the German secret police arrested her and she died during an interrogation.
The tiny houses in this cute and colourful street are now used as museums or souvenir shops.
The most famous house in Golden Lane is of course the house No. 22, which was the house of the most famous Czech writer, Franz Kafka. You can see his name on the wall of house No. 22, and the house is now used as a book store selling his books.
The historical buildings and Prague Castle itself is marvelous, but the streets surrounding Prague Castle also arresting. The panorama of Prague unfolded right before your eyes are amazingly beautiful and invites you to a fairy tale. There is a starbucks near the main gate of Prague Castle which has one of the most amazing view points in Prague. On a sunny day, you can have a seat on a terrace seat to enjoy a coffee, or you can also get a cozy indoor seat downstairs.
Address : Pražský Hrad, Kajetánka, Hradčanské nám, 118 00 Malá Strana
Opening Hours : weekdays 9:00-19:00 / weekends 9:00-20:00
Across from St. Vitus Cathedral, there is the Presidential residence. If you see the Czech flag on the building, it means that the president is inside the residence. Other than St. Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane, there are also St. George's basilica and Old Palace built in Romanesque style. If you want to start your tour from the front door and end at the back gate, you can see St. Vitus Cathedral-Old Palace-St. George's Basilica-Golden Lane in order. If you are starting your tour from the back gate and ending at front gate, you can visit in the opposite order. Depending on where you arrive first, you can plan your tour.
One of the main events of Prague Castle is the changing of the Gaurds every hour on the hour. The biggest one takes place at noon. You can see the changing of Guards in front of the main gate of Prague Castle in Hradčany Plaza. Many people wait in front the main gate before noon already, so we recommend you to be there at least 20 minutes before to see it closer.
Prague Castle is large and there are many things to see, so it takes a while to look around, especially when you are visiting inside historical buildings. If you want to appreciate Prague Castle more in details, you can expect to spend a half day here. If you don't have much time, you can expect at least two hours to look around.
Words and Photographs by Yuna Lee
Address : 119 08 Prague 1
Transportation : Take tram no. 22, and get off at Pražský hrad
Opening Hours : November-March Prague Castle 6:00-22:00, Historical Buildings 9:00-16:00 / April-October Prague Castle 6:00-22:00, Historical Buildings 9:00-17:00
Admission Fee : Adults - 350 CZK(A course), 250 CZK(B) / 6-16 years old & Students under 26 - 175 CZK(A), 125 CZK(B) / Free under 6 years old