The Castle dominates the skyline all around the city, sitting on top of a hill it affords incredible views over the city. Prague Castle is where the Czech kings, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices and it is still used as the workplace and official residence of the President.
Opening Hours and Costs
From April 1 till October 31 the Castle complex is open from 5 a.m. to midnight. Premises requiring tickets are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Old Royal Palace, exhibition “The Story of Prague Castle”, St. George’s Basilica, Convent of St. George – National Gallery (closed till May 6), Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, Powder Tower).
The castle grounds are open from 5am to midnight through-out the year – the parts that you need a ticket for are open 9am to 4pm – and will close at 4pm sharp. To take any photos you will also need to buy a photo license. The costs vary depending on which tour you want and your age from CZK 70 to CZK 500 for a family – check out their website for full details.
What to see and do in the Prague Castle area
Saint Vitus’s Cathedral – this is the main Cathedral in the Czech Republic and in Prague. It is located within the Castle, well worth a visit.
The crown jewels of the Bohemian Kingdom are kept here. Prague Castle is one of the biggest castles in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records the biggest ancient castle) at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide. It would be easy to give one full day over to this whole area.
The history of Prague Castle
Prague Castle housed Kings of Bohemia, Roman Emperors, Presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and according to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the largest castle in the globe. It measures in length at about 570 metres and 130 metres in width. Prague Castle is also in possession of the crown jewels.
The past events of the castle dates back to the 9th century with the first façade of the structure being the church of Our Lady. In the primary half of the 10th century, the Basilica’s of Saint George and St. Vitus were both erected. Alongside the church of St. George the first convent in Bohemia was constructed. Around the 12th century, a Romanesque place was built. Under the rule of Charles IV, in the 14th century, the royal castle was reconstructed and reinforced in Gothic style. For several decades that followed the Hussite Wars, the castle was left vacant. King Ladislaus II Jagello started the process of reconstructing the castle in 1485. Some of the additions included brand new defense towers located on the northern side of the estate and Vladislav Hall. A massive fire ruined the castle in 1541. Belvidere was a summer castle that Ferdinand I had constructed for his wife Anne. Rudolph II inhabited Prague Castle as his primary dwelling and had the northern wing erected where he housed his beloved artistic collections. The Bohemian Revolt started in 1618 with the Second Prague expulsion. During the consecutive battles, the Castle was destroyed with many of the works of art Rudolph II collected having been pillaged by the Swedes in 1648. Queen Maria Theresa ordered the final major reconstruction of the castle to be built the latter half of the 18th century. After Ferdinan V stepped down in 1848, he selected Prague Castle as his residence.
The president of the new Czechoslovakia Republic took over the castle in 1918. Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik refurbished the gardens and Royal Estate with the modernization extending in 1936 with Pavel Janak, Plecnik’s replacement.
Prague Castle became the command post for Reinhard Heydrich during World War II with the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. Stories were told that Reinhard Heydrich put the Bohemian crown on top of his head and fables stated that a ruler who wears this crown is destined to perish in a year. Heydrich was murdered less than a year after taking command.
The castle was home to the businesses of the liberal Czechoslovak bureaucracy after the freedom of Czechoslovakia. Alexander Dubcek, the head of Czechoslovakia, addressed the crowd of dissidents on the balcony which took place during the Velvet Revolution.
With the divide of Czechoslovakia in the direction of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Prague Castle lodged the potentate to the recent Czech Republic. Vaclav Havel, president, delegated architect Borek Sipek to make improvements to Prague Castle including a beautification to the Castle’s gallery.
Other top attractions tourists will want to visit in Prague include Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, Petrin Gardens and St. Nicholas Church.