West of river Moldova, majestic Prague castle overlooks the Czech capital. It is one of the most important landmarks, and a symbol of the Czech state. The UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises almost 7 ha, which makes it the largest enclosed castle complex in the world. It features a number of palaces and churches. If crowds don't scare you, you shouldn't miss the big changing of the guard. It takes place every day at 12:00.
Palaces and Exhibitions
A variety of different architectural styles make up the image of Prague Castle. Rosenberg Palace, for example, is a typical Renaissance building. Old Royal Palace, on the other hand, mixes different styles in itself: while it was first built mainly of wood, it also has Romanic and Gothic elements. Vladislav Hall and All Saints' Church especially are worth a visit.
The buildings at Prague Castle are also home to a number of exhibitions. The Picture Gallery holds paintings from European artists from the 15th to the 18th century. The Story of Prague Castle exhibition teaches its visitors about the thousand-year-long history of the site. The houses at Golden Lane also feature several interesting exhibits.
When you think of Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral immediatly comes to mind. Prague's biggest and most important cathedral used to be the venue for Czech kings' and queens' coronations. Furthermore, the mortal remains of the patron saints, rulers, aristocrats, and arch bishops reside here. The treasury of St Vitus Cathedral holds the biggest cathedral treasure in the country. Over 280 lead the way to the South Tower, from where you are rewarded with a great view of Prague. Another option to enjoy views of the city is a visit to the Powder Tower.
The second church at Prague Castle, St. George's Basilica, was founded in the 10th century. As it has been renewed several times since, it now includes elements of a variety of architectural styles. Tombstones of some members of the noble family of Přemysl can be found in the nave.
Prague castle is one of Czech Republic's most historically relevant sites. It was probably founded around the year 880, by Přemyslid Prince Bořivoj. Romanic structures from the 10th century were reshaped in a Gothic fashion around the 14th century, making for a unique mix of architectural styles all over the castle premises.
The castle was seat of the monarchs for a long time. It has seen many a historic incident happen on its premises. For instance, there have been three Defenestrations of Prague, one of which resulted in the beginning of the Hussite War, and another one in the beginning of the Thirty Years' War.
Nowadays, the castle is the official seat of the Czech president.
How to get there
There are various ways of getting to Prague Castle. The quickest and easiest is to take tram line 22 to Pražský hrad. A five minutes' walk takes you to the fountain on the second castle square.
Climbing the Old Castle Staircase takes a little more effort. They are located right by Malostranská metro station. Your effort will be rewarded with a stunning view over the roofs of Malá Strana and Moldova valley.
During the summer, you can also walk through the Royal Garden. From tram stop Královský letohrádek (line 22), a 15-20 minutes' walk through the gardens takes you up to Prague Castle Riding School.