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Prague Castle Facts | 8 Things You Must Know

Founded in the 9th century, Prague Castle makes you feel like you have time-traveled to the vintage era. It's the world's oldest and largest ancient castle complex, featuring stunning architecture, gardens, and historical buildings. The official residence and workplace of the president of the Czech Republic, Prague Castle, has its fair share of secrets and an intriguing past. Here are some interesting Prague Castle facts that will make you want to visit it even more!

8 interesting Prague Castle facts

Prague Castle Facts

Prague Castle holds a Guinness world record.

Did you know that Prague Castle snagged itself a Guinness World Record title? Yep, it's recognized as the oldest ancient castle complex still in use. It has been around since the 9th century, hosting Bohemian kings, Roman Emperors, and Czech presidents. Spread across more than 70,000 square meters, the castle is practically a city boasting churches, palaces, gardens, and more. You can't miss the iconic St. Vitus Cathedral with its soaring spires or the charming Golden Lane, showcasing centuries of Czech heritage. 

Prague Castle Facts

Lawbreakers were thrown out of castle windows.

Yes, this is true! The term "defenestration," meaning tossing someone out of a window, originated from this incident at Prague Castle. It happened because Roman Catholic rulers shut down a couple of Protestant chapels. The angry Protestants then called for a trial at the castle and won. Then, something wild happened. Two Catholic officials, convicted of religious suppression, were thrown out of the window! Thankfully, they landed in a heap of horse dung, escaping unharmed. However, the incident led to a long and devastating war across Europe.

Prague Castle Facts

The Bohemian crown jewels have never been more secure.

The precious Bohemian crown jewels, including the St. Wenceslas crown, royal scepter, and coronation cloak, are safely stored inside a chamber in St. Vitus Cathedral. The jewels probably cannot be more secure than they are now. 
To ensure their safety, the chamber door and iron safe have seven locks, each held by a different key holder, such as the president and prime minister. Accessing the jewels requires the presence of all key holders, and only the president can authorize their public exhibition, which happens only on special occasions.

Prague Castle Facts

There is a Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Don't miss out on catching the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony. Every day, soldiers, decked out in their vibrant uniforms, march with absolute precision from the Powder Tower to the Main Courtyard to swap places with the guards on duty. And it's not a silent affair; there's music involved, making it a whole spectacle.
The uniforms of Prague Castle Guards were created by Oscar-winning designer Theodor Pistek, who worked on the set of 1984's Amadeus. So, go ahead and take pictures with the guards dressed in their traditional uniforms, complete with weapons. 

Prague Castle FactsPrague Castle Facts

A tropical garden within the castle

In the 16th century, Emperor Rudolf II introduced tropical and citrus plants to Prague Castle. Today, this tradition thrives in the Orangery, a modern greenhouse established within the Royal Gardens in 1999. You can explore this lush haven during the summer season. 
You can also explore other stunning Prague Castle gardens like the Royal Garden, the Garden on the Bastion, and the Southern Gardens, offering serene escapes amidst Prague's hustle and bustle.

Prague Castle Facts

The Golden Lane and Franz Kafka

The Golden Lane in Prague Castle boasts quaint rows of tiny houses. In the late 16th century, Emperor Rudolf II housed alchemists here, striving to transmute metals into gold. However, today, it's bustling with tourists shopping for souvenirs.
Notably, from 1916 to 1917, Franz Kafka resided with his sister in House No. 22, where he penned works like A Country Doctor and found inspiration for The Castle. This charming alley, steeped in legend and myth, also houses exhibitions showcasing its 500-year history, offering visitors a glimpse into Prague's rich cultural heritage.

Prague Castle Facts

There are four palaces for four churches.

Prague Castle is home to four churches - the renowned St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica (the oldest standing building on the grounds), All Saints Church, and the Holy Cross Chapel. Interestingly, all four churches are paired with four magnificent palaces - the Old Royal Palace, Belvedere, Lobkowicz, and New Royal Palace.
These palaces, constructed one after the other over centuries, showcase stunning architecture, reaching their zenith during the Holy Roman Empire and Austrian Empire eras. These churches and palaces instill a profound sense of holiness and historical significance within the castle.

Prague Castle Facts

Saint Vitus - the saint of dancers

The St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle houses the richest church treasury of the Czech Republic and one of Europe's largest collections. These treasures include the arm of Saint Vitus, a Sicilian martyr from the 4th century. During medieval times, Germans and Latvians celebrated him with dances. Today, he's revered as the patron saint of dancers, entertainers, and epileptics, believed to offer protection against lightning strikes. 
This Gothic cathedral, founded in the 10th century, dazzles with its stained glass windows and frescoes, making it a significant religious and cultural landmark in the country.




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Frequently asked questions about the Prague Castle

When was Prague Castle built?

The construction of Prague Castle began in 870 during the reign of Prince Bořivoj and was completed in 1929.

How big is Prague Castle?

Prague Castle covers an area of 70,000 m², making it the largest castle complex in the world.

What are some interesting facts about Prague Castle?

Prague Castle is the world's largest ancient castle, with over 1,000 years of history. It has served as the throne for Bohemian kings, hosted Holy Roman Emperors, and now houses the president of the Czech Republic. It has a fascinating story, peppered with dramatic events like the infamous Defenestration of 1618 and the daring assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The castle also safeguards the invaluable Bohemian crown jewels within its walls, alongside a treasure trove of historical buildings.

Has Prague Castle won any awards or recognitions?

Prague Castle has been recorded as the world's largest coherent castle complex by Guinness World Records.

Can I go inside Prague Castle?

Yes, you can go inside Prague Castle and visit most buildings inside the complex with a Prague Castle ticket. These include the St. George Basilica, Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, and more.

Is there an entrance fee for Prague Castle?

Yes, there is an entrance fee for the interiors of the churches, palaces, and monuments within Prague Castle, but the courtyards and Prague Castle gardens are free to visit.

What are some of the must-visit buildings in Prague Castle?

Some of the must-visit buildings in Prague Castle include St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George Basilica, and Golden Lane.

How many works of art can be found in Prague Castle?

Prague Castle houses one of the oldest and largest private art collections in Central Europe, with more than 4,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries.