Prague Castle on Hradčany (Czech Republic) - seat of Czech princes, kings and president
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Prague Castle, Prague 1, Czech Republic
Date of build
Hradčany Castle is one of the most recognizable medieval monuments of Czech Prague. Historically it served as the seat of kings. At present, it is used for tourist and representative purposes; among other things, the castle is the seat of the oath of the President of the Czech Republic.
The first mention of the castle on the Vltava River dates back to the 9th century, when it was founded by Duke Bořivoj of the Přemyslid dynasty.
The significant expansion of the castle did not take place until several hundred years later, at the turn of the 12th and 13th century during the reign of Czech Prince Sobieslaus. Unfortunately, the following years were the period when the fortress was forgotten and gradually destroyed, until the 14th century, when the Hradèany castle slowly began to regain its former glory.
The first stone building in the castle grounds was the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose remains can only be seen today.
Prague Castle experienced one of the greatest periods during the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378), when it became the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor.
King Ladislaus II Jagello began to rebuild the castle in 1485. At that time, a huge hall of Wladyslaw was added to the Royal Palace. On the northern side of the castle new defensive towers were added.
In 1541 a large part of the castle was consumed by a great fire. The Roman Emperor Rudolf II undertook repairs and reconstructions.
The castle's renewed prosperity coincided with the start of construction of one of the largest monuments in the complex - St. Vitus Cathedral. What is very interesting, its construction was completed only in the 1820s. Apart from its obvious sacral function, the building also provides a treasury for Czech royal jewels and the mausoleum of kings.
The most modern castle reconstruction dates back to the Renaissance period. Their main initiator was Empress Teresa. The architectural changes made at that time are responsible for the contemporary image of the Prague royal complex. Among other things, in those years the New Royal Palace, located in the southern part of the complex, was built and the gardens were renovated by Jože Plečnik.
As a curiosity, it is impossible not to mention that according to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world in terms of occupied area.
The castle covers an area of almost 70,000 square metres, is about 570 metres long and on average 130 metres wide.
The buildings of the castle complex represent practically every architectural style of the last millennium.
There are four churches in the castle: St. Vitus Cathedral - the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, St. George's Basilica - the oldest surviving church building in Prague Castle, All Saints Chapel and the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
It also includes four palaces: the Old Royal Palace, the New Royal Palace, Queen Anna's Belvedere and Lobkovice Palace and four towers: the White Tower, the Black Tower, the Dalibork Tower and Mihulka.
The five rooms in the castle are: Spanish Hall, Rudolf Gallery, Rothmayer Room, Vladislav Hall and Column Hall.
At present, you can admire objects in several museums, such as the collection of Czech Baroque and Mannerist art in the National Gallery, a toy museum and a picture gallery based on the collection of Emperor Rudolf II.
The castle gardens are also impressive, in fact many gardens: The Royal Garden of Prague Castle, the garden by the Ujeżdżalnia buildings, the area of the Upper and Lower Deer Trench, Lumbe's Garden, Garden of Paradise, Garden by the Defensive Embankments, Baszta Garden and Hartigowski Garden.
The castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Prague, attracting more than 1.8 million tourists every year.
Official website: https://www.hrad.cz/en