If you're planning to travel to Prague, one of the must-see tourist attractions is the Prague Castle. This castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the largest ancient castle in the world. With over 1300 years of history, the Prague Castle is a symbol of the country's rich cultural heritage and an architectural marvel. This article will take you on a virtual tour of the castle, providing you with all the information you need to plan your visit.
History of the Prague Castle
The Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century when it was founded by Prince Borivoj. Over the centuries, it has been expanded and renovated by different rulers, including Charles IV, who commissioned the construction of the iconic St. Vitus Cathedral. During the reign of Rudolf II, the castle became the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and was the center of cultural and artistic activities in Europe. Today, the castle is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic.
Architecture and Layout
The Prague Castle is an architectural masterpiece, featuring a blend of different styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. The castle covers an area of over 70,000 square meters, and its layout includes three main courtyards, gardens, and numerous buildings. The second courtyard is the most significant and contains some of the most remarkable structures, including St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane.
Highlights of the Prague Castle
The Prague Castle offers a lot to see and explore, and some of the top highlights include:
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral is one of the most impressive and recognizable landmarks of Prague. It was built in the 14th century in the Gothic style and features intricate details and stunning stained glass windows. Visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city.
Old Royal Palace
The Old Royal Palace is a complex of buildings that served as the residence of Bohemian kings and emperors. It features stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. Visitors can explore the palace's interior, which includes the Vladislav Hall, the Hall of Audience, and the Royal Garden.
The Golden Lane is a picturesque street of colorful houses, dating back to the 16th century. The houses were originally built as homes for castle guards, and later became the residence of artists and writers. Today, they serve as shops and galleries, showcasing traditional Czech crafts and souvenirs.
Gardens and Surroundings
The Prague Castle features beautiful gardens and surroundings, including the Royal Garden, the South Gardens, and the Deer Moat. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll and admire the stunning views of the city and the castle.
Tips for Visiting
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Prague Castle is during the early morning or late afternoon, when the crowds are smaller. Additionally, it's best to avoid visiting on weekends and public holidays, as the lines can be quite long.
How to Get There
The Prague Castle is located in the Hradcany neighborhood and can be easily accessed by public transportation. Visitors can take the tram to Prazsky hrad stop or walk up the hill from Malostranska metro station.
Admission and Tours
The admission fee to the Prague Castle varies depending on the package and the areas you want to visit. Visitors can choose from several ticket options, including a basic circuit, a long circuit, and a combined ticket with other attractions. Guided tours are also available and can provide a more in-depth experience of the castle's history and architecture.
The Prague Castle is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Prague. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful surroundings, the castle offers a unique and unforgettable experience. From exploring the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral to strolling through the picturesque Golden Lane, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure to plan your visit ahead of time and take advantage of the tips and recommendations provided in this article to make the most of your experience.
Is the Prague Castle open all year round?
Yes, the Prague Castle is open to visitors year-round, except for some national holidays and special events.
Can I take photos inside the Prague Castle?
Photography is allowed in most areas of the Prague Castle, but flash photography is prohibited in some areas, including the St. Vitus Cathedral.
Are there any dress codes for visiting the Prague Castle?
Visitors are asked to dress appropriately when visiting the Prague Castle, which means no shorts, sleeveless tops, or flip flops. Comfortable walking shoes are also recommended.
Is there a fee to enter the Prague Castle gardens?
No, the Prague Castle gardens are open to the public free of charge, except for some special exhibitions and events.
Can I visit the Prague Castle at night?
Yes, the Prague Castle offers evening tours during certain times of the year, which provide a unique and magical experience of the castle's architecture and surroundings.