prague castle
Castles and Churches Traveling Prague Cities

Prague Castle

Prague Castle – history of the symbol of Prague, interesting facts, how to get tour tickets, where to stay near the castle.

Together with Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle belongs to the icons of the Czech capital. It’s not just a symbol of the city an the Czech statehood but also home to the Bohemian crown jewels, the place where Czech kings were crowned and also their final resting place. Among others, it was one of the Czech filming locations for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) and The Illusionist (2006) and you can find there the Gallery of Prague Castle and Toy Museum.

You could have read about it in our articles Prague Sightseeing Essentials and TOP 25 Castles to visit in Bohemia, now we’ll look at it a little closer.

prague castle
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Where to find it

Prague Castle or Pražský hrad with the equally popular Prague Cathedral of St. Vitus can be found in the quarter of Hradčany, on a promontory raising over the river Vltava. You’ll find sighs pointing the way all around the city center and here’s a map to help you:

Sometimes, you could just let your eyes guide you, because the Prague Castle complex is well visible from many places.

prague castle

History of the Castle

The construction of the castle started in the 9th century. Rulers from the Přemyslid dynasty turned the settlement into a hillfort. Churches were added, also the St. George’s Convent.

In the 12th century the castle got a stone wall and it Ottokar II who started a more ambitious changes to the castle in the 13th century. He focused on the fortification. The Luxembourgs did substantial changes in a French style in the 14th century and also built additions to the castle.

The construction of the St. Vitus Cathedral started in 1344 under the rule of John of Bohemia with the contribution of the future Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.

The Jagiellonian dynasty once again perfected the fortifications and added more parts to the castle, including many residential parts.

Before the Jagiellonian reconstruction

The first Habsburgs took it upon them to modernize the castle and make it into a representative Renaissance residence. The modernization included the founding of the Royal garden with exotic plants and it was also the first place cultivating tulips in Europe. A large part of the complex was damaged completely ruined in an extensive fire in 1541 but more Renaissance reconstruction followed. And of course, the changes didn’t stop there, more works were done in the Baroque era.

Rudolph II. decided to make the castle into his permanent residence and with this act, the whole imperial court was moved here from Vienna, which meant more changes needed to be done. And they were massive – palaces, horse stalls, exposition halls, among them the Gallery of Prague Castle. After Rudolph’s death the castle was never again the royal residence but this didn’t diminish its importance.

Ferdinand III. added a whole empress’ wing in the 17th century. Leopold I. was forced to move to the castle temporarily from Vienna because of the plague, the Baroque fountains with the letter L serve as a reminder of his short stay.

The 18th century was a time of significant events at the castle. Charles VI. was crowned King of Bohemia and John of Nepomuk was canonized and a chapel in his honor was added to the castle complex.

With the foundation of the Independent Czechoslovak State it was necessary to rebuild the castle to fit the presidential needs. Changes included the patios, gardens, a colonnade was added. In the 1990, substantial changes were made in the interiors and also new elements were added, such as the bridge to Chotkova street or the Orangery. The 1990s works were followed by the reconstruction of many historical parts of the castle.

Cathedral of St. Vitus

Commonly known as the St. Vitus Cathedral, also called Prague Cathedral unofficially, is actually called Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert. It’s probably the most famous part of the castle complex. You can visit the cathedral on one of the Castle Tours.

Prague Castle in Numbers

It’s the largest ancient castle in the world, it’s 570 m (1.870 ft) long and 128 m (420 ft) wide, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square meters (750,000 square ft). According to The National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture, it attracts over 1,8 million visitors annually.

prague castle

Prague Castle Tour

You can visit Prague Castle, as most of its parts are open to the public. The best way to see Prague Castle is on one of the guided tours. There’s a variety of Prague Castle tours and you can even choose English, German, Italian, Spanish or French. Some of the tours are accessible with baby prams.

Some tourists worry for if they’ll be able to visit both the Prague Castle and Cathedral, the answer is yes. The complex is large but it’s definitely a one-day visit.

prague castle

Prague Castle Tour Tickets

You can get your Prague Castle tickets online and choose your Prague Castle tour in advance in the reservation system of the Prague Castle official website. It is recommended to get your Prague castle tickets in advance especially when travelling in summer which is the highest tourist season.

There are webpages that offer booking services for the tours, sometimes even calling it Prague Castle walking tour like that was some special service but I recommend you to use the official reservation system directly as it is in English and there is no extra fee for booking via a third party.

There’s a free admission to the Charles Bridge Museum with a circuit ticket. And if you cannot visit in person, here’s a link to the virtual tour:

Prague Castle Private Tour

Private tours need to be booked in advance on:

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel.: +420 224 372 187, +420 224 373 568

Hotels near Prague Castle

You cannot stay in a castle in Prague, however, you can stay very near Prague Castle!








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