Gothic cellar, underground space of the Baroque citadel with fragments of masonry of mediaeval palace buildings, houses permanent exposition Historic Forms of Vysehrad. This exposition offers the great overview of Vysehrad fortress history and mythology.
Gothic cellar is on Vysehrad hill, near Church of St Peter and St Paul.
Equestrian sculpture of St Vaclav (St Wenceslas) created in the second half of 17th century by the first important Bohemian Baroque sculptor Jan Jiri Bendl had been located on Wenceslas Square, but it had been transferred to Vysehrad in 1879. This sculpture is quite unusual comparing it to the Equestrian sculpture of St Wenceslas by Josef Vaclav Myslbek – the most famous one (now on Wenceslas Square).
Bendl's sculpture can be seen in a distant northwest corner of Vysehrad hill.
Vysehrad is one of the more overlooked areas of Prague. Its a little out of the way but still within the limits of the city. High up on a hill overlooking the city Vyrsehrad has several walking paths to explore. It is a nice departure when you get weary of the crowds in Old Town Square and on the Charles Bridge. There is a Metro station for Vysehrad. However we found out way here from the Convention Center. Its just a short walk from the convention center.
One of the finest examples of Czech cubism in architecture is corner house at crossing of Premyslova and Neklanova streets. It was projected by architect Josef Chochol. It can be easily reached on a way down from Vysehrad hill.
Vysehrad is the place of the venues of many legends about Libuse, mythical ancestor of the Premyslid dynasty and the Czech people as whole. Libuse and her husband, prince Premysl, ruled peacefully over the Czech lands from the hill of Vysehrad. The most famous legend is one about Libuse's prediction – she stood on a cliff overlooking the Vltava, pointed to a forested hill across the river, and proclaimed: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars".
So called Libuse's Bath is, actually, ruin of a 14th century watchtower, an outpost on Vysehrad rock guarding approach to Prague by water. It was supposedly from there that the princess cast her lovers down into the river.
We probably would not have found this place had it not been for the son of one of our neighbors who had been an international university student in Prague and suggested we visit. He had evidently lived and studied at Vysehrad and the area. It is a wonderful complex and not on the beaten tourist path. There are also great views of the city and surrounding area from this high vantage point.
This high stronghold overlooking the Vltava River has been here since the late 11th C. It was the site of the original castle which is no longer there and a church which is. It is a pretty quiet and peaceful place and we saw no other tourists as we wandered the lovely landscaped gardens inhabited by some huge and wonderful statues depicting figures of Czech Mythology. Many of Prague's great artists, scribes, musicians and politicians lie buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church. Most notable are the graves of Dvorak, Smetana and Mucha.
If you go, take the metro to the Vysehrad stop. I decided it looked more accessible from the river side so we took a tram, got off and had trouble even finding an access point. When we finally did, it required our walking up hundreds of steps.
The view from Vysehrad is very beautiful. From the top of the hill you can view the entire city of Prague and the Vltava river. Any time of the day is a good time to visit this area. Its a great place for a quiet picnic lunch or just a quiet stroll. There are few areas of Prague this quiet and green.
just in the gateway that we exited on our tour through Wysehrad - the Cihelma (Brick) Gate is an entrance to tunnels that goes underneath the ramparts - guided tour only (small fee payable). Just as we passed the the custodian appeared so we took the opportunity of this short tour. After a short walk inside down narrow dark passageways you come to this huge hall. Here six of the original statues from the Charles Bridge are being stored. When you seee these you realise how dirty the copies of them are on the Charles Bridge.
There is a small charge to vist the church but I think it was worth it - one of the nicest churches that we popped into in Prague. The altar walls were covered in colourful paintings of various saints -some were really detailed and ornate. We were glad to spend a while in here wwhilst we escaped the cold wind which was blowing outside.
Just next to the church in Vysehrad are several groups of sculptures by Josef Myslbek. They were originally on Palacky bridge but suffered damage in the war. This one in the picture is of Princess Libuse (heroine of an opeara) and her husbamd Premysl. Legend has it that she looked across the river to where Prague Castle now stands and foretold the the building of a great city. They crossed the river and discovered a man already building the threshold - PRAH - so hence the city's name.
Vysehrad is a pleasant few hours diversion away from the centre of Prague - its just a few metro stops away or you could even walk there - just keep walking on past the Fred and Ginger building. Its the site of an 11th century clifftop fortress and has tourist information for the route of the sights there as you enter and exit the area by each of the two main gates. We decided to go by metro, follow the sites and return by the tram as we ended up down by the embankment where the trams run.
On entering Vysehrad you first pass the 17th century Tabor Gate and a bit further on the Leopold Gate with its sculptures atop. These gates are the most impressive of the fortress fortifications.
Final resting place of one of the world's best and most prolific composers, Antonin Dvorak. He and his wife Anna are buried in the pantheon of the Slavin cemetary of Kostel Sv Petra a Pavla in Vysehrad complex. The pantheon with its beautiful neo-gothic arches and wrought iron craftsmanship, forms the outer boundary of the cemetary. Many other famous and accomplished Bohemians are also buried in the cemetary. Near the cemetary gate located closest to the cathedral can be found a map showing the location of each tomb.
Dvorak was the son of the Nelahozevez village innkeeper and butcher. Antonin himself became a journeyman butcher. His many contributions include helping the United States to establish a classical musical identity. He died at the age of 63 from a heart attack, although he also likely had cirrhosis of the liver. He was known to have had a great love of pivo ( beer ).
It is interesting to note that the Czech Republic and seven other former soviet bloc nations were admitted to the European Union on May 1, 2004, the 100th anniversery of Dvorak's passing. What a painful and tragedy laden 100 years it was for these great nations. May the next century be a time of peace, liberty, and prosperity for all of them.
Composer Bedrich Smetana, who is best known for his symphonic poems of the fatherland including Vlatava, is also buried in the Slavin cemetary. Smetana was from the Bohemian city of Plzen, where his father was one of the early brewmasters of Plzen ( Pilsner ) beer. Smetana tragically died of Syphilis in 1884, at the age of 60.
Vysehrad was supposedly the origins of the first seat of czech royalty. Today perched on top of the wooded crop of rock on which the castle was built - HRAD means castle -are the remains of the baths of Libuse (Prague's prophetess) which was a defence bastion.
After that is straight down to the river!
To see this view of the baths walk through the park with the sculptures and take the path on the right. Here there also good views of the River Vltava.
I don't know how off the beaten path Vysehrad is, exactly. It is not too far from the city center. Perhaps a half an hour, 45 minute walk from Charles Bridge. A lot quicker if you take the tram. But if you walk you get to see a lot of New Town, which is also a plus.
If you become annoyed with all the crowds and want to get away but still see Prague, Vysehrad is wonderful! Situated atop a rocky cliff above the Vlatava, Vysehrad means "Castle on the heights". According to the legend it was the first seat of Czech Royalty. Princess Libuse, from this spot, forsaw the greatness that will one day be Prague.
From here you can see unrivaled views of the Vlatava and Prague. The serene park provides a wonderful setting for people tired of the Charles Bridge commotion. The Neo-Gothic church of St. Peter and St. Paul is quite impressive.
There is a little cafe, with a lunch menu being quite reasonable, right next to the church.
Kostel sv Petra a Pavla ( church of Sts. Peter and Paul ) dominates the Vysehrad complex of southeast Prague. The exterior architecture of the church is distinctly Gothic, with many relief sculptures of gargoyles and other religious symbols protuding from the high spires of the twin bell towers. These sculptures make the spires resemble enormous barbed spears. The church was finally completed about 1880, and much of it was destroyed shortly thereafter. It was rebuilt about 100 years ago.
The interior of the chuch can best be described as having neo-Gothic architecture. The walls and insets of the arches have a dazzling polychrome finish, as shown in photo #2. The arches and their decoration are exactly like those of the pantheon of the adjoining Slavin cemetary. The walls are covered with an interesting cycle of paintings. The choirs resemble large crowns, and the altars are elaborately decorated. There is a small admission fee to enter the church. It is well worth the price. The church is open to the public from 0900 to 1700 daily except during services.
To get there take Metro line C to Vysehrad station, then follow the signs to the footpath, or take the tram from the Metro station.