Pražský hrad/ Prague castle
A castle was built at this site as early as in the 9th century. In the 12th and 13th century the castle was fortified and expanded. Around the castle, a small community started to grow. That neighborhood, now called Lesser Town, obtained city rights in 1257. In the 14th century, under the reign of King Charles IV the whole castle was renovated and expanded. More expansions were built by the House of Habsburg, who also redecorated large parts of the castle in a Main entrance to the Prague Castle
Baroque and neoclassical style. After the First World War the castle became the seat of the government of Czechoslovakia and today the president of the Czech Republic still resides here.
Prague Castle Castle District, Prague 1
Public transport to get to Prague Castle
Metro: Malostranska (line A), then take tram 22 to Prazsky Hrad or Pohorelec. Prazsky Hrad offers the shortest route to Prague Castle. Pohorelec enables you to take a short walk through the Castle District (Hradcany), which is quite pleasant, before entering Prague Castle by the main entrance.
Prague Castle Courtyards:
Apr-Oct: Daily 05:00-24:00
Nov-Mar: Daily 06:00-23:00
Prague Castle Buildings Interiors:
Apr-Oct: Daily 09:00-17:00
Nov-Mar: Daily 09:00-16:00
Prague Castle Gardens:
Apr & Oct: Daily 10:00-18:00
May & Sep: Daily 10:00-19:00
Jun-July: Daily 10:00-21:00
Aug: Daily 10:00-20:00
Changing of the Guard:
Hourly 06:00-23:00. Midday ceremony includes a fanfare & banner exchange.
A popular sight at the Prague Castle is the Golden Lane, a small picturesque street with colorful wooden houses. Legend wants one to believe alchemists attempted to turn metal into gold here, but in fact the alchemists lived elsewhere at the castle. It was actually goldsmiths living here in the 17th century who gave the street its captivating name.
St. George's Basilica
The basilica of St. George was built in the 12th century and replaced an older, 10th century church. The façade was added in the 17th century. Inside the Romanesque church, you'll find the graves of Ludmila (860 - 921) - the first Czech Christian martyr - and duke Vratislav I of Bohemia (915 - 921); his painted wooden grave can be found near the choir.
Adjacent to the basilica is the Convent of St. George, originally built in the 10th century. During the 18th century - when the Habsburg emperor Joseph II abolished the monasteries - it was used as a barrack. The building is now home to a museum with a collection of mostly Baroque paintings and statues from the National Gallery, including works from Czech masters such as Petr Brandl and Karel Škréta.
St. Vitus Cathedral
In the center of the Prague Castle is the St. Vitus Cathedral, one of the most recognized landmarks in the city. When Charles IV acquired the bones of St. Vitus - a popular fourth-century martyr - and brought them to Prague, the city became a center of the St. Vitus cult.
In 1344, when Prague became an archbishopric, Charles IV started with the construction of the St. Vitus Cathedral. The first part was built by the Frenchman Mathieu d'Arras. After his death in 1352, Peter Parler took over for the next 47 years. In 1421, the Hussite wars stopped work on the cathedral, and it wasn't until 1872 that works resumed and finally in 1929 the cathedral was completed. Golden Portal, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle
Until the 19th century the Golden Gate (Porta Aurea) was the main gate of St. Vitus. It was used as the doorway by which kings entered on coronation day. Just above the entrance is a large mosaic of the Last Judgment.
Inside, the most remarkable part of the church is the tremendously high chancel with a beautiful net vaulting. Also noteworthy is the richly decorated chapel of St. Wenceslas.
The castle resembles a small city in the city. There are no less than three courtyards and several streets. An ornate entrance gate at the Castle Square leads to the first courtyard, where on the hour you can watch uniformed palace guards parade during the Change of the Guards. Second Courtyard, Prague Castle
The entrance gate is decorated with large sculptures of fighting giants and putti, some of which crown a lion and an eagle.
An imposing Baroque portal, the Matthias Gate, connects the small first courtyard to the second courtyard where you'll find the Chapel of the Holy Cross and a central fountain. In the palace wing on the left is a museum with a collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings. An arcade in another wing, which houses offices of the president of the Czech Republic, brings you to the third and largest courtyard, dominated by the St. Vitus Cathedral.
The courtyard is decorated with a replica of a 14th century statue of St. George and a 17 meter tall granite obelisk.
The courtyard opens up to the St. George Square, where you'll find attractions such as the St. George's Basilica and the Royal Palace. A street leads further to the other end of the castle complex, towards the Lobkowicz Palace and the always crowded Golden Lane.