Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad)
A castle was established on this site in the 9th century, and a Romanesque palace was erected in the 12th. In the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style. The final reconstruction of the Royal palace took place under the Jagellons at the end of the 15th century, and at that time the builder Benedikt Rejt added the now-famous Vladislav Hall, also in Gothic style. The castle was enlarged in the 16th century, especially after a big fire in 1541. The Spanish Hall, in a new part of the castle, was added in the reign of Rudolf II, and it took its final form in the time of Empress Maria Theresa, under the direction of the architect M. Pacassi. After World War I the interior and gardens of the castle were renovated by the architect J. Plecnik.
Today the Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic, and it serves as the historical and political centre of both city and state.
Opening hours :
The Prague Castle premises are open to the public daily 5 a.m. - 12 p.m. (April to October), 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. (November to March). Changing of the Guards at the Castle gates every hour starting at 5 a.m. - 11 p.m., or 12 p.m., at noon with fanfares and banner exchange. All the Prague Castle sights are open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (April to October), 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (November to March), Prague Castle Gardens daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (April to October).
Old Royal Palace (Stary kralovsky palac)
Up to the 16th century the residence of Bohemian princes and kings. It was
built on relics of the romanesque palace of the Prince Sobeslav. Additional
reconstructions in the gothic and renaissance styles were initiated by famous
Czech kings Premysl Otakar II, Charles IV, Wenceslas IV and Vladislav Jagello.
The most noteworthy space is the gothic Vladislav Hall - the largest profane
hall of the medieval Prague (1487 - 1500 Benedikt Rejt) with a remarkable rounded
rib vault, today the scene of presidential elections and representative events.
St. George's Convent (Klaster sv. Jiri)
Founded in AD 973 by Prince Boleslav and his sister Mlada for the Benedictine
Order. Dissolved in 1782, reconstructed and reopened in 1976 as part of the
National Gallery, it contains collections of old Czech Art.
St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral (Katedrala svateho Vita,
Vaclava a Vojtecha)
This Gothic cathedral, the spiritual symbol of the Czech state, founded in
the year by Jan Lucembursky (John of Luxembourg) and his sons Karel and Jan
Jindrich. It took nearly six centuries to build. Begun in 1344 by Mathias Arras
and Petr Parler upon the site of a 10th-century rotunda, the final phase of
construction ended only in the period 1873-1929.. The cathedral contains undergrounds
tombs of Czech kings. Parler also built St. Wenceslas Chapel, which is decorated
with frescoes and semi-precious stones. The coronation jewels are deposited
Imperial stable (Kralovske staje)
Located at ground level of the northern wing of the Castle contains an exhibition
Golden Lane (Zlata ulicka)
Small houses built in the gothic fortification, the 16th century homes of castle
riflemen and craftsmen. In 1916 - 1917 Franz Kafka used to work in No. 22.
The Daliborka Tower (Daliborka)
A military tower built in 1496 by Benedict Rejt as a part of the castle fortifications,
and used as a jail till the end of 18th century. It was given its name after
the first prisoner Dalibor of Kozojedy. It was Dalibor´s story which was
put to music by Bedrich Smetana in his opera Dalibor (1868).
The Powder Tower Mihulka (Mihulka)
This tower, the diameter of which is 20 m, comes from the 15th century, part
of the castle fortifications. It was used at various periods to store gunpowder.
It houses exhibitions of medieval arts and crafts, astrology and alchemy from
the time of Rudolf II.
Castle Gallery (Obrazarna Prazskeho hradu)
In the place of what were once stables, a gallery was built at Prague Castle.
The pictures of late Rudolf's Gallery were discovered and for a fine art collection.
Many paintings from Rudolf II's gallery were rediscovered and identified only
in 1961-62, including works by Tizian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Czech Baroque Art
St. George Basilica (Basilika sv. Jiri)
The oldest preserved church building of the Prague Castle. A Romanesque basilica
was founded in AD 920 near the Benedictine monastery,and rebuilt in the 10th
and the 12th centuries.
The former Burgrave's House
This 16th century Renaissance building houses a museum of toys (see Museums).
Lobkovic Palace (Lobkovicky palac)
The Pernstein family began construction of this palace in the mid-16th century.In
1627 it became the property of Polyxena of Lobkovic and was rebuilt in 1651-68
by Carlo Lurago in the form seen today. Since 1983 it has been a part of the
National Museum, containing monuments of Czech history including copies of the
Ball Games House (Micovna)
A Renaissance building with graffito decoration situated in the Royal Garden.
It was used as barracks at one time, nowadays it is is an exhibition and concert
The Prague Castle Riding Hall (Jizdarna Prazskeho hradu)
A baroque building from the late 17th century, today a place of exhibition.
Queen Anna´s Summerhouse (Letohradek kralovny Anny)
Perhaps the most remarkable Renaissance building in Prague, this palace was
built on plans of Paolo della Stella in 1535-1537 but not finished until 1557-63
under the direction of the architect B. Wohlmut. The famous Singing Fountain,
whose drops of water make music, is in the garden and was designed and cast
by Tomas Jaros in 1564-68. The exposition of the African Art is situated here.
The Prague Castle Gardens (Zahrady Prazskeho hradu)
The Royal Garden was founded in 1534. South Gardens - Paradise, On the Bastion,
On the Riding Hall Terrace, Upper and Lower Deer Gully and Masaryk Vista. As
a rule the gardens are opened at 10 a.m. by fanfares from the Hartig Music Pavilion.
The Prague Castle premises are open to the public daily 5 a.m. - 12 p.m. (April
to October), 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. (November to March). Changing of the Guards at
the Castle gates every hour starting at 5 a.m. - 11 p.m., or 12 p.m., at noon
with fanfares and banner exchange. All the Prague Castle sights are open daily
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (April to October), 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (November to March), Prague
Castle Gardens daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (April to October).
Combinated tickets for the sites open to the public (Old Royal Palace, the
eastern gothic part of the St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral
with the tomb of the Kings of Bohemia and the cathedral spire, St. George´s
Basilica, Mihulka Powder Tower, Golden Lane, Daliborka Tower) can be purchased
in the Information Centre on the third castle courtyard or at each site. Admission
tothe Prague Castle gardens is free of charge. The tower of the cathedral is
open from April to October, if favourable weather.
The Information Centre (phone 224 373 368) provides both Czech and foreign languages
guides,specialised tours or lectures as well as guides for the disabled. A plastic
Braille guide-book for blind persons is available free of charge.
Prague 1, Loretanske namesti 7
This former place of pilgrimage with the copy of Santa Casa was built in 1626-31,
and the Baroque Church of the Nativity of Our Lord was added in 1734-35. The
facade of the front wing was rebuilt by K. I. Dienzenhofer in 1720-22. The tower
contains 27 loretto bells which play a Marian song We Greet You a Thousand Times
(every hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).The most valuable item of the liturgical
treasury is the so-called Prague Sun, a monstrance weighing over 12 kg and embellished
with 6,222 diamonds.
Open daily, except Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12.15 p.m., and from 1 p.m. to 4.30
Cernin Palace (Cerninsky palac)
Prague 1, Loretanske namesti 5
This early Baroque palace, now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was built by
Francesco Caratti in 1669-87. Its garden is open to the public from time to
time in the summer months.
Strahov Monastery (Strahovsky klaster)
Prague 1, Strahovske nadvori 1/132
A Monastery of the Premonstratensian Order at Strahov, originally in Romanesque
style, including the Church of Our Lady and the Strahov Library.The Library
contains an early Baroque Theological Hall from 1671-79 and a Classicism Philosophical
Hall from 1785-94, decorated with frescoes by A. Maulbertsch.
Open daily except Monday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Places of the Castle accessible to the public :
The Royal Palace (Vladislav Hall, Old Parliament, equestrian statues, Czech and Court Chancellery, Theresian Wing)
St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral with its St. Wenceslas Chapel and the tomb of Czech Kings
St. George Basilica, St. George Monastery
Prague Castle Gallery
Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower
Powder Tower called Mihulka
Queen Anna´ Summerhouse
Royal garden with Ball Games House
Prague Castle Riding Hall
Prague Castle Gardens