Prague Castle History | All You Need To Know
Brief History of Prague Castle
Considered to be the largest ancient castle in the world, Prague Castle is a sprawling monument home to incredible baroque and gothic structures like the St. Vitus Cathedral and the Golden Lane. Its origins date back to the Spread over 18 acres, the history of Prague Castle makes it an unmissable landmark. Over the years, Prague Castle has undergone several repairs and reconstructions. Josip Plečnik, the famous Slovenian architect, was responsible for extensive renovations in the time of the First Republic. the late 9th century during the reign of Bořivoj, the first Christian prince of Bohemia. Prague castle was formerly the seat of the kings of Bohemia. In the present day, it has become the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic.
Also Known As: Pražský hrad, Crown of the Czech Republic
Location: Hradčany, 119 08 Prague 1, Czechia
Size & Statistics: It is 70,000 m² and coves 18 hectares
Year Of Construction: 9th century
Name Of The Founder: Vratislaus I, Duke of Bohemia
Name Of Architect: Peter Parler and Matthias of Arras
Other Statistical Records: Guinness Book Of Records - Largest ancient castle
The History of Prague Castle's Origin
Archaeological research shows that the Prague Castle was built around the year 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the house of Premyslides. The early castle site was fortified with a moat and a rampart of clay and stones. The Church of Virgin Mary was the first walled building that was constructed in Prague Castle. St. George and St. Vitus Cathedral were other churches constructed in the first half of the 10th century. Prague Castle’s history details that it was not only the seat of the head of state, the princes and later kings, but also of the Prague bishop. During the rule of King and later Emperor Charles IV (the middle of the 14th century), Prague Castle saw the most prosperity. Today, renovations continue on the grounds of Prague Castle as it remains an important cultural and historical monument.
Prague Castle Reconstructions
- The early medieval site of Prague Castle was fortified with a moat and a rampart of clay and stones. Soon, other monuments were built on the grounds including churches dedicated to St. George and St. Vitus.
- During the rule of Charles IV, Prague Castle became the imperial residence and the royal palace was rebuilt and the fortifications were strengthened.
- Building continued at the site during the reign of Charles’s son, Wenceslas IV. The Hussite wars stopped construction and Prague Castle was not inhabited for several decades.
- During this time, its structures became dilapidated and required renovations.
- In 1483, the king of the new dynasty of Jagellons again made the Castle his seat and new fortifications were built and the royal palace was expanded.
- In the 16th century, Rudolph II transformed Prague Castle into a grand centre.
- Over the years, other historical events altered the Prague castle which is why alterations continue to take place even today.
Modern Day Prague Castle
- Prague Castle’s history is rich and layered. After the foundation of the independent Czech Republic in 1918, Prague Castle once again became the seat of the head of the state.
- The Slovene architect Josip Plecnik was given the responsibility to carry out necessary alterations in 1920.
- Since 1989, many previously closed areas like Royal Garden with its Ball Game Hall and the Southern Gardens have been opened to the public due to successful restoration work.
- It is home to relics of Bohemian kings, precious Christian relics, art treasures and historical documents.
Prague Castle Legends & Rumors
If you look back on Prague Castle’s history, you will find many legends and rumours. One of the most popular legends is that any usurper who placed the crown on their head would die within a year. During WWII, Prague Castle became the seat of power for Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich was the Reich’s protector of Bohemia and Moravia. Enthralled by the splendour and magnificence of the castle, Heydrich was known to put the crown on his head and pretend to be the king. Less than a year after usurping power, Heydrich was ambushed by Slovak and Czech rebels, while he was on his way to the castle. He was injured and died a week later. In line with the legend, his son Klaus also died the next year in a traffic accident. Spooky, isn’t it?
Prague Castle Architectural Highlights
Prague Castle Churches
St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica are the magnificent churches you can visit in Prague Castle. St. Vitus Cathedral is a splendid example of Gothic architecture and is one of the most important religious buildings in Prague. It contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. St. George’s Basilica is the oldest surviving church building with Prague Castle.
Prague Castle Halls
The Column Hall, the Spanish Hall, Rudolph’s Gallery and Vladislav Hall are some of the major attractions in Prague Castle. Vladislav Hall houses a complex vaulting system that was a refined engineering feat when it was first constructed. It was used for banquets, receptions, coronations, and other events of the Bohemian court. The Spanish Hall is a ceremonial hall and is intended for the reception of official guests of the President of the Czech Republic.
Prague Castle Palaces
The Old Royal Palace, Queen Anne’s Summer Palace, Lobkowicz Palace and the New Royal Palace are all a part of Prague Castle. The Old Royal Palace’s history dates back to the 12th century and it is designed in the Gothic and Renaissance style. It is home to the Vladislav Hall. Queen Anne’s Summer Palace is a Renaissance building located in the Royal Garden of Prague Castle. It also has a singing fountain from 1654 located in the front.
Prague Castle Gardens
The Royal Garden, Terrace of the Riding School, Garden on the Bastion, The South Gardens, Hartig Garden, Stag Moat, St. Wenceslas Vineyard, Empire Greenhouse, Orangery and Horticultural Gardens are the range of gardens available for visitors to see in Prague Castle. The Royal Garden is an Italian Renaissance garden and is perhaps the most popular, though every other garden has its own charm.
Know More About Prague Castle's History
A: Yes, your Prague Castle tickets provide you access to the garden and several other monuments as well.
A: Prague Castle was built in the 9th century, in the year 880.
A: There are two main churches in Prague Castle - St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica
A: Prague Castle is 70,000 m² and coves 18 hectares
A: Prague Castle was built around the year 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the house of Premyslides
A: In the present day, Prague Castle has become the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic.
A: Yes, Prague Castle is following all the required COVID-19 safety measures.