The Castle is sprawling and the tours are several. My boyfriend had visited once before and was not desiring to do the tours again. So, we visited the castle in the evening and just walked around and took some photos. St. Vitus Cathedral is absolutely beautiful at night with the lighting upon it. It's medieval spires are impressive. We also witnessed the changing of the guards.
The Guinness Book of Records lists this castle as the largest ancient castle in the world and originated in the 9th century (870).
Below is a link for the castle but here is the link for the church: http://www.katedralasvatehovita.cz/en
The castle is open daily. From April 1 - October 31 5am-12am. From November 1 - March 31 6am-11pm.
Roughly the size of seven football fields, "Prague Castle" is the largest ancient castle in the world. Built and renovated during 13 centuries, the complex includes churches, gardens, alleyways and royal residences that would take days to appreciate.
I assume you will need several hours to see around in the castle and concerning courtyards, but you will sure need a whole day if you decide to see all the details and the cathedral and so ... :)
Don't miss the St. Vitus Cathedral. In addition to Art Nouveau stained-glass windows and a wooden depiction of the crucifixion, it houses treasures like the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk — a blinding two-metric-ton vault that is held up by an army of silver angels. Enjoy ... :)
The second Castle courtyard is surrounded by buildings with facades all the same! This was not always the case as when first built, each building looked different to the other.
During Emperor Rudolf II's reign, the North wing ground floor was used as Stables and for the Carriages. Now, the Stables are used as a picture gallery of Prague Castle - a small part of the Emperor Rudolf's former gallery.
The first floor is where the famous Spanish Hall is located, built for the Emperor's collections to be kept. Sometimes it was used for Royal occasions and what Emperor Leopold thought was fun - these days it would be animal cruelty and he would be in gaol!
I am talking about the year 1680, when the Emperor had a wild tomcat released into the hall so his children and dogs could chase it down and kill it, this they did by spearing it to death. Emperor Charles VI used to shoot at deer driven out from the Stag Moat from one of the Spanish Halls windows.
The courtyard is a good size and has a Baroque fountain  in its centre. Nearby is a well with a pretty wrought iron cover. Was the Well dry - I am not sure as I read water was brought here for the wells!
Along one of the courtyard walls, is the Chapel of the Holy Rood, built where the kitchens once stood. Inside the Chapel are biblical themes painted upon the ceiling.
It is here where you can visit the Imperial Stables and the Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral
On entering the third Castle courtyard, I couldn't help but notice the massive St. Vitus Cathedral and the Baroque Deanery, decorated with the statue of St. Wenceslas from 1662.
The courtyard is decorated with a replica of a 14th century statue of St. George and a 17 meter tall granite obelisk. Below the pavers in the 3rd courtyard, are the foundations of a 12th century church, which used to be connected by a covered passage to the basilica of St. Vítus.
The 3rd Courtyard opens up to the St. George Square, where St. George's Basilica and the Royal Palace are located.
This area is believed to be the oldest and perhaps where the stone throne of the Bohemian Princes may have once stood.
The Treasury is the largest church treasury in the Czech Republic and is one of the best I have ever seen!
NO PHOTO'S ALLOWED - I was very disappointed!
The Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral goes back to the early middle Ages. You will see lots of marvellous historical pieces on display, such as a relic of the arm of Saint Vitus from 929, very old.
One of the "jewels" of the Treasury is Charles IV's gold coronation reliquary, as well as a cross with a fragment of Christ’s loincloth.
Another is the processional crystal cross and the crystal jug, used for storing the tablecloth from the Last Supper!
Expect to see lots of gold and silver, and remember to allow time to have a look at this outstanding exhibition.
OPEN DAILY from 10am to 6pm
Full: 300 CZK Reduced: 150 CZK Family: 600 CZK
We were given a coin for FREE to remember our visit to the St. Vitus Treasury.
A MUST VISIT
After passing through the "Gate of the Giants" we were in what is know as the first Courtyard or Square of Honour.
This square was built between 1763 – 1765 where the former ramparts were. It is quite an important courtyard, as reception ceremonies and the changing of castle guards is held here.
It's here, where the imposing Baroque portal, the Matthias Gate, connects the small first courtyard to the second courtyard. Dating back to the 17th century, the Matthias gate is believed to be the earliest Baroque work of art in Bohemia.
PRAGUE CASTLE IS OPEN DAILY
5.00 - Midnight in the summer season (April 1 - October 31)
6.00 - 11pm in the winter season (November 1 - March 31)
Historical monuments are open daily except 24.12.
9.00 - 5pm in the summer season (April 1 - October 31)
9.00 - 4pm in the winter season (November 1 - March 31)
IT IS FREE TO WANDER AROUND THE CASTLE - ENTRY FEES ARE PAYABLE FOR EXHIBITIONS.
From the Castle Square we walked across to the main entrance gate, which is known as "THE GATE OF THE GIANTS."
I thought it was quite an unusual name, until I could see the large sculptures of some fighting giants!
This lovely entrance gate, has a gold-coated wrought iron arch, with a royal crown at the top. Sides of the gate are formed by columns bearing sculptures of fighting giants from 1768. Further along, there are more sculptures, not quite as impressive as these.
In front of the largest columns were the Castle Guards on duty. Many people were having their photo's taken next to him - poor man, I guess he gets used to it!
After taking some photo's, I passed through the gate and into the first courtyard.
Prague Castle Painting Art Gallery offers to the visitors more than one hundred paintings from the Prague Castle fund, which owns about 4,000 paintings.
The Gallery has in its possession a fragment of what used to be Emperor's Rudolf the Second collection plus collection from the 17th century contains artwork of renowned Italian, German, Dutch, Flemish and Czech Baroque painters.
Art Gallery is open to the public daily including Monday (from 9 am to 5 pm during Summer season, from 9 am to 4 pm during winter season).
Entrance to the exposition is from 2nd Courtyard of Prague Castle.
in the 3rd courtyard of Prague Castle, right by St Vitus, is a replica of a statue originally done in the 1300's of St George slaying the dragon. This is the most common depiction of St George, the legend of him slaying the dragon. He did this, protecting himself by making the sign of the cross, rescuing the princess from the dragon.
The legend lives on, though the depiction is most likely based on old pagan legends.
Prague Castle is a complex of around 60 buildings. Its construction began in the late 9th century. Between the 12th and 13th centuries it was fortified and expanded. In the 14th century, under the reign of king Charles IV it was renovated and enlarged. In 1485 king Ladislaus II Jagello started to reconstruct the castle. Queen Maria Theresa ordered the final major reconstruction of the buildings in the latter half of the 18th century.
The highlights of the castle are; Saint Vitus Cathedral; the Old Royal Palace; Saint George basilica and the Golden Lane.
The building of Saint Vitus Cathedral begun in 1344 on the site of a 10th century rotunda and was completed in the XIX century. The Cathedral is very large and has many beautiful glass stained windows. I recommend climbing up the Wentzel Tower (it is a bell tower). It is inside the Cathedral. From the top of it you will enjoy a very beautiful landscape over the castle and the city.
The Old Royal Palace is a complex of buildings set one on the other. Its construction was started from the first half of the XII century. It was the seat of Bohemian princes and from the 13th century to the 16th century it was the king's palace.
Saint George basilica was first built as a rotunda; around 920. It was later reconstructed into a three naves basilica. It was enlarged at the beginning of the XIII century.
The access to the castle grounds is free, but if you want to see some places and/or museums there, you must buy a ticket.
Prague Castle is one of the largest ancient castles in the world according to the Guiness Book of World Records, topping at 570 meters and 130 meters wide. It is also where you will find the Czech crown Jewels.
When I was walking around, I felt I should have read more before I did so that I could easily identify the buildings. The Prague Castle Complex actually consists of several religious structures which include the Saint Vitus Cathedral, a monastery and several jmuseum and art galleries. St Georges’s Basilica is famous for evening classical concerts and you might chance upon one when visiting Prague.
There has also been several wars and fires in the area and so the place has seen a lot of rebuilding. Today, tourists from all over the world walk around and it can get a little confusing. They watch the changing of the guards every hour in this castle which is the political and historical center of the Czech republic (seat of the President)
But the beauty of the buildings remain and their history adds to their character.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!
I made a video of my adventure in Prague!
Hope you like this:
MY FIRST DAY IN PRAGUE
I hadn't really planned on visiting Lobkowicz Palace until I saw that it was rated as one of the city's top attractions on TripAdvisor. Since we happened to be in the Prague Castle area on a chilly day, I thought it might be fun to spend some time indoors and see what all the fuss was about. In the end, I had to agree with the reviewers - I loved my visit at Lobkowicz Palace! The audioguide is incredibly well done, probably the best one I've listened to after the one at Alcatraz. The story of the Lobkowicz family is told by family members, and the several funny anecdotes and captivating stories make it easy to listen to. There sure is a lot to tell since the 16th century palace has belonged to the Lobkowicz family almost from the beginning up until 1939, when it was seized and occupied by the Nazis, and then by the Communist party. It was finally returned to the Lobkowicz in 2002, and they decided to open it to the public with the idea of showcasing the Lobkowicz's collection of paintings, books, music scores and other cultural artefacts. Perhaps the most amazing piece of the collection is the original handwritten score of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" (Who doesn't get shivers when they hear the famous Tum-dum-dum-dum?!).
Lobkowitz Palace is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission costs 275 CZK, and it gives you 10% off at the palace's cafe (a good option for lunch, see my restaurant tip for more info). Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed inside the palace.
Prague Castle actually refers to a fortified complex built in the 9th century on a hill overlooking the Vlatva River. In the beginning, the complex included a palace, three churches and a monastery, but it soon grew to include several other buildings. Prague Castle was attacked, destroyed and rebuilt on many occasions throughout the years, and it houses some of Prague's most interesting historical attractions as well as the present-day office of the President of the Czech Republic. Visitors are of course free to walk around the area (and take in the amazing views of the city!), but if you want to gain access to the buildings you must get an admission ticket. These cost 350 CZK, and most buildings are open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The Old Royal Palace sits at the heart of the Prague Castle area. The first palace, built for the kings of Bohemia in the early 11th century, was a relatively modest wooden structure that burned to the ground during the siege of 1041. A new Romanesque stone palace was built in 1135, to which several additions were made throughout the centuries. Although from the very beginning it was considered the official seat of the court, it wasn't until the end of the 15th century that it also became the official royal residence. Today, a visit to the Royal Palace includes a visit of all the state rooms, including the majestic Vladislav Hall where jousting tournaments used to take place. There is also a permanent exhibition that details the history of Prague Castle, featuring numerous artefacts. Changing of the Guard ceremonies are held daily in front of the Royal Palace.
I only have been there once, at dusk, in a dark day, rushing down to dinner in town.
Not enough time to appreciate it or to make good pictures, but time enough for a strong decision: "This is a place where I must come back".