Castle Guard, Prague
If you wish to see the Changing of the Guard, I suggest you come a little early to find a good spot to watch. Quite a lot of people come to see this parade.
I had noticed when looking through photo's, that the Guard's have different uniforms.
Since 1990, the Guards have been provided with uniforms and wear any one of the three basic uniform types.
A Service uniform of which there is a summer and winter version;
Dress (ceremonial) uniform - also a summer and winter version;
Battle dress 95, identical to the one of the Czech Republic Army.
There uniforms contain a number of historical emblems (associate legionnaire's emblem, legionnaire's buttons, epaulettes with designs of linden leaves and a type of indication of rank.)
They also carry a weapon, which most probably will be a model 61 Skorpion submachine.
My Guard is wearing the Dress Uniform.
The ceremonial Changing of the Guard including a fanfare and the flag ceremony is held daily at 12.00 in the first courtyard.
The Changing by the Castle gates:
on the hour from 7- 8pm in the summer season
on the hour from 7- 6pm in the winter season
There is the formal changing of the guard in the first courtyard daily at 12:00 noon
At the Castle gates hourly from 7 am to 6/8 pm (summer/winter)
The Guard is composed of a brigade unit of 653 persons provided by the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. Technically, they serve the President of the Czech Republic, not only as security force but also as honor guard/ceremonial functions. Remember, of course, that the President of the Czech Republic is also a resident of Prague Castle as well as the sole titular administrator of the Castle.
Here are a few of the requirements for admission into the Castle Guard:
Height- must be between 1-78 and 1-88 meters
Weight proportional to height- cannot be overweight
No tattoos, piercings or earrings, no visible cosmetic defects
No beards or facial hair
Perfect health- including sight (no glasses allowed)
There is a psychological evaluation required for military service as well as one for Castle Guards.
The uniforms are only worn by this group. Light blue uniforms for summer and dark blue for winter. The guard is armed with a "Scorpio" submachine gun with bayonet attachment.
The actual ceremony of the Changing of the Guard was pretty low key, really. Don't expect flamboyant colors, feathered helmets like in Italy, showy goose stepping or any of that. It's a simple, precise ceremony with a minimum of fanfare compared to other European countries.
Changing of the guard takes place at 12pm at the palace. The music is great - more like the music from a sci fi film - very catchy.
You can have your picture taken with the gate guard who stand still as a statue.
Look up at the side of the gates a two large and quite scary statues.
It is a bit of a trek up the hill to the palace - but it's worth it and good for the thigh muscle, so set off in good time.
At noon, you can watch the shift of the castle guard. Being a traveller who has visited many countries and watched many guard shifts, I must admit that this was an ordinary one which does not include any spectacular moments in it. But still, you can wait for 5-10 minutes in front of the castle entrance to watch the guards shift.
The very neat guards at the Prague Castle is an attraction by itself.
I heard the music or some sort of a band marching/playing and found lots of people gathered inside the castle ground - that gate with those statues, a guy hitting the other with a bat - and band member on each window on the 2nd or 1st floor of the building. Several Guards marching and suddenly came to me that it may be the changing of the guards!
Yes it is, and it's not once a day but they do it many times a day - every hour. It's very entertaining and many people have their photos taken with the guard standing at the gate -- juz don't do sumthin funny.
You shouldn't miss it! It's free.
The Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle takes place every hour on the hour from 5 in the morning till 11 at night. If you want to see an extra touch of pomp and ceremony then you need to be there at noon when the banners are exchanged and the fanfare is played.
Prague Castle Complex:
Apr-Oct: Daily 05:00-24:00
Nov-Mar: Daily 06:00-23:00
Prague Castle Sights & Attractions:
Apr-Oct: Daily 09:00-18:00
Nov-Mar: Daily 09:00-16:00
Prague Castle Gardens:
Apr & Oct: Daily 10:00-18:00
May & Sep: Daily 10:00-19:00
Jun-Aug: Daily 10:00-21:00
Like in many palaces also here it is popular event to check out the change of the castles guards. This if you have the time and patient for it. The particular time that I was in Prague was very special and they were preparing for a very special guest coming tomorrow, that was the visit of the "yes we can" president :)
The changing of the guard at Prague Castle takes place every hour. It is a very formal ceremony where two guards in dress uniform are marched in to replace the former two guards. The guards stand at their posts without moving or smiling. At 12 noon every day there is an extended ceremony in the first courtyard involving a group of guards and live music. This ceremony is very popular with tourists and you need to get to the main entrance 15 minutes before the start.
Prague Castle looks almost like a small town itself. It is the largest ancient castle in the world (570m long and on average 128m wide). It is also the former place where the Czech kings, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of the Czech Republic have had their offices. So it is no wonder this is the most visited tourist attraction in Prague.
There are guards that stand at the entrances to the Prague Castle everyday. They wear pretty light blue uniforms and stand there completely still, without talking or moving for 1 hour. You can go up and stand next to them and take pictures if you like. Every hour on the hour they do a small shift change, but at noon everyday there is a huge ceremonial changing of the guard with a parade of the guards thats quite nice to see, and something fre to do in an increasingly expensive Prague. Get there early for good spots, as there are usualy a good amount of people there.
Because the Royal Castle area is the seat of government, now of the Czech Republic, not of the Kingdom of Bohemia, and the president of the Republic has his living quarters here, there are many soldiers within its confines.
There are those standing guard at the Royal Castle entrance, the Giants Gate; and those who are parading about with their band instruments; and those who are guarding a Christmas tree outside the Cathedral of St. Vidas.
They stand guard 24/7 and are always positioned at the shelters. Maybe go under cover in bad weather? The hard part is to stand there and have thousands of tourists by your side taking pictures. These guys have patience, to be admired.
There's something about posing for silly pictures with a guard that can't talk that's like a man slipping on a banana peel. It's like classic comedy that just doesn't get old.
Find these stoic (and often kinda cute) lads posted in front of Prague Castle. There's a bus that goes right up there.
I know, I come from a country where the guards where big black comical hats and I shouldn't really mock guards from another country but the changing of the guards at Prague Castle is extremely entertaining.
The changing of the guards takes place every hour but I was lucky enough to catch the main event at midday.
The guards exchange banners while the band play from the windows of Plecnik Hall.
It actually sounds like something from Trumpton (apologies to any non-English/younger readers its the best comparison I can think of!) and it looks as if it was choreographed by Disney.
It does go on for a while too, but, its well worth watching. Turn up 10 minutes or so before to get a decent spot to watch.
Pazsky Hrad : It's a citadel cram packed with palaces, churches, courtyards, squares and little streets.
The castle with it's 1000 windows holds spectacular views over Prague.
Golden Lane is a It's a quirky street and Franz Kafka lived at no. 22 but personally I thought it was a bit of a tuorist trap. You have to pay to enter the lane which is filled with little but expensive shops. .
Every day (at the Western Gate) at noon there is the ceremonial changing of the guards worthy of a watch. If you miss this they do change every hour, on the hour. On one of our early morning meanders we were the only people there - us and them. I felt like a bit of a tourist - something I always struggle with - until one of the guards poked his tongue out at us and made me chuckle at which point I was given a withering look by the senior guard and made to feel like a naughty child!!!
The impressive St. Vitus Cathedral holds the sacophagus of Jan Nepomuk behind the main alter & contains a crypt with royal tombs.
Bazilika a klaster sv Jiri (Basilica of St. George) has a baroque exterior but a very ancient interior. No nuns here now - It's used as a concert venue!
Within the grounds, which you can walk freely around, there is a shop from which you can purchase tickets allowing you access into the buildings. There are several differnt tickets available so you can pick and choose (to some extent) what you do and don't want to see.
Make sure you pick up the Prague Castle map which is best alongside a book containing a little information on each area/building - I used the info in my Prague guide book and found that was sufficient.