Vysehrad, Prague

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    Vysehrad
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    Vysehrad
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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Vysehrad's amazing Church of Sts Peter and Paul

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 12, 2013

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    Of the many churches in Prague, the Church of Sts Peter and Paul in Vysehrad is easily my favourite and tops my list of crowd-dodging options in Prague! I find it surprising how little is written about it - and indeed the whole of enchanting Vysehrad - which make it one of those less visited gems that so excite me, especially in a city that attracts so many tourists!

    Although there has been a church on this site from the early 11th century, when the Vysehrad citadel was established, it has been remodelled several times over the centuries, most recently at the turn of the 20th century, when the towers were added. The current structure is built in a pleasing Neo Gothic style and is surprisingly small compared to many of the other churches in the city, which gives it a sense of intimacy.

    The outside is delightful, but it is the interior of the church that had me spellbound. Virtually every surface has been covered with colourful Art Nouveau frescoes depicting various saints of local significance (see photos) and the overall effect is breathtaking. As anyone reading my pages will know, I am a huge fan of Art Nouveau/Art Deco, and after days of Baroque interiors, this was like being served the perfect refreshing salad after an unremitting diet of overrich food!

    For those whose tastes run to the more traditional, the church also has an excellent 14th century Gothic painting of the Virgin Mary.

    Just across the path from the church is the fascinating Slavin cemetery where Prague's 'great and good' are buried, which should not be missed. Don't be put off by the sombre function of the place: I found that it had quite an uplifting atmosphere and many of the memorials are works of art in their own right.

    The church is set amid lovely parkland with lots of trees and is a lovely place to while away a few hours, particularly when the weather is hot. There is a vineyard on the slope of the citadel towards the river, and presumably their produce is on the menu at the beer gardens and restaurants where you can seek refreshment for a hard afternoon's tourism ahead!

    Just a note for those with limited mobility. The easiest way to get to Vysehrad is on the metro, but the walk up to the citadel is deceptively long and quite steep, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. Otherwise bite the bullet and organise yourself a taxi if you don't think that you'll be up to the climb: once at the top, it's pretty flat.

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    Rotunda of St Martin at Vysehrad

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 12, 2013

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    Rotunda of St Martin, Vyserhad

    This picturesque stone rotunda dates back to the 11th century, and is the only surviving Romanesque structure of the original Vysehrad fortress. It is one of the oldest buildings in Prague, and has undergone extensive reconstruction, including the repair of damage incurred as a result of a cannonball strike during an onslaught by invading Prussian forces.

    The building has somewhat of a chequered history, having first served as a parish church, then a storage facility for gunpowder before being returned to its original purpose. Today it is a chapel, but - unfortunately for the tourist - is unfortunately only open during services.

    Just a note for those with limited mobility. The easiest way to get to Vysehrad is on the metro, but the walk up to the citadel is deceptively long and quite steep, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. Otherwise bite the bullet and organise yourself a taxi if you don't think that you'll be up to the climb: once at the top, it's pretty flat.

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    Vyšehrad Castle

    by antistar Updated May 31, 2013

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    Prague from Vy?ehrad
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    Located south of the old city center, Vyšehrad is Prague's second castle. Like the more famous, and more obvious Hradcany, Vyšehrad is less of a castle, and more of an elevated platform for a cathedral. But it's no less grand for it.

    Built in the 10th century, the castle struggled for influence with the rival castle on the opposite banks of the Vltava. When Hradcany was expanded to its vast modern dimensions in the 14th century, by Emperor Charles IV, Vyšehrad had lost the battle.

    Today its most prominent feature are the black facades of the Cathedral of Saint Paul and Peter. The old castle walls also offer a great vantage point for views of the Vtlava and Prague across the rooftops. The cemetery holds the graves of notable Czechs like Dvorak.

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    castle on the heights

    by Skillsbus Written Dec 28, 2012

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    Vysehrad
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    A step cliff overlooking the river Vltava has been associated with the myth of the foundation of the Czech State and Prague itself. Legend has it that it was here the legendary founders of the Premyslid dynasty, Libuse and Premysl, resided, and where Libuse prophesied the town eternal glory "touching upon the stars".
    The medieval legend, revived at the Romantic period, has been confronted with a more sober scientific conclusion that while there are indeed traces of human settlement on this site dating from as early as 4000B.C., the medieval fortress of Vysehrad is actually younger then Prague Castle. This notwithstanding, while visiting Vysehrad and walking through the park decorated with statues by J. V. Myslbek on themes from old Bohemian legends, or admiring a view of the river and the city from the top of the cliff one is very likely to succumb to the illusion and believe the ancient legends.
    Impossible to get lost within the walls of the former fortress, wherever you go you are certain to find something of interest. Just behind the majestic Leopold Gate built in 1670 stands the Romanesque St. Martin's rotunda, the earliest preserved structure in Vysehrad.
    In the building of the Old Deanery visitors can inspect the foundation of the St. Lawrence basilica, while the New Deanery is frequently the value of concerts and literary programmes. Apart from a number of statues, the park is also known for its mysterious "devil's stones" and the remains of the earliest stone bridge in Prague. Vysehrad's most familiar landmark is the chapter church of St. Peter and Paul, originally built in the Romanesque style, but rebuilt many times, most recently in the 19th century by architects Mocker and Mikes in neo-Gothic style.
    Vysehrad, emblazoned with legends, including the primary national myth, was in the mid-19th century selected as the most suitable of places for a national cemetery which would be resting place for the nation's elite. In the 1880s, the chairman of the Smichov district council P. Fisher had a large monument knows as Slavin (Pantheon) built on the site of a medieval cemetery after a design of architect A. Wiehl.
    Fifty-one of the foremost Czech artists, scientists and politicians have so far been buried at Slavin, and the graves of 500 other major figures can be found elsewhere in the cemetary. With most of the gravestones the work of leading Czech sculptors, this is yet another of Prague's open-air art galleries.

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Pay your respects at Vysehrad's Slavin cemetery

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 7, 2012

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    Vysehrad cemetery (also known as Slavin cemetery) is where the great and the good of the Czech Republic are buried. It is a captivating place to spend an hour or so, especially if you combine it with the other delights - such as the exquisite Church of Sts Peter and Paul with its beguiling Art Deco frescoes - that lovely Vysehrad has to offer, in which case you could happily while away half a day up here in an area that I consider to be Prague's best kept secret.

    I have a fascination with cemeteries and whilst I should add I am in no great hurry to take up occupancy in one myself, I think that there's nothing more informative about a society than the way that it honours its dead. The majority of memorials of the Vysehrad cemetery are bursting with individuality and give a fascinating insight into the personalities of the individuals that they commemorate.

    The cemetery is small, and gives an indication of the exclusivity of this piece of Prague real estate - clearly THE place to be seen dead! The cemetery was only opened in 1869, and so the people commemorated are fairly contemporary: famous 'inmates' who are likely to be familiar to non-Czechs include the artist Alfons Mucha, poet Jan Neruda and composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak. I must say that it is fascinating to contrast the memorials of the two composer: Smetana's is simple and low key, whereas Dvorak's (sculpted by the Art Nouveau sculptor Ladislav Saloun, who is also responsible for the Jan Hus statue) is a beautifully crafted study in ostentatiousness and completely the other end of the spectrum!

    If you're in Prague on 12 May (the anniversary of Smetana's death), try to catch the procession from his grave to the Municipal House which follows the route of his funeral procession and marks the traditional start to the Prague Spring Music Festival.

    I visited this graveyard in summertime, and it was lovely: however, I imagine that this graveyard would be at its absolute best on a bright crisp winter day with a light dusting of snow (and you wrapped up warmly in thermals) ... if you're lucky enough to see it this way, please send me a photo!

    Just a note for those with limited mobility. The easiest way to get to Vysehrad is on the metro, but the walk up to the citadel is deceptively long and quite steep, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. Otherwise bite the bullet and organise yourself a taxi if you don't think that you'll be up to the climb: once at the top, it's pretty flat.

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    Vysehrad - enjoy the beer and sausages!

    by Penelope4 Written Jul 8, 2012
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    While up there, you won't really think of going down to look for a restaurant to have a fine meal. I am glad that I thought of just going to one of the few stalls in there. When one is tired and one gets to have a beer and sausage for almost nothing (was cheap, I thought) and gets to enjoy them while in the middle of the gardens, one can say that the day is just fantastic!

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    Vysehrad - the gardens and the views

    by Penelope4 Written Jul 8, 2012
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    Aside from visiting the church, spend time in the gardens. I did lay down on the bench near the the church and listened to the ringing of the bells. And later, I went to the gardens at the back of the church and took a nap. It was very nice. Birds singing, fresh air, green grass and lots of trees that provide shades. It was heavenly!

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  • Veroali's Profile Photo

    Vysehrad cathedral

    by Veroali Updated Apr 21, 2010

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    Vysehrad cathedral
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    Vysehrad is very important place of czech history. On the hill had been probably colonized already in prehistoric ages, the castle was a seat of czech kings for many years (till king Charles IV.) and also served as a fortress. In 11. century was built the castle, church, fortress and rotundas. The complex was destroyed many times, especially once during Hussite wars. Afterall, only the Church of St. Peter and Paul has been left.

    The romanish church has a beautiful main door painted and interior is also worth to see. The entrance is 40 Kc.

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    Sts Peter and Paul Church

    by Raimix Updated Jan 27, 2010

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    This church was one of churches that I haven’t got opportunity to visit inside. Church os St. Peter and St. Paul have roots from 11th century, when Visehrad was the main location to Czech Royal families (for example, Vratislav II).

    The Church is quite high, looks a bit like a copy of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle, just Vysegrad’s church is much younger, dated back to 1895, Neo-Gothic style. There is cemetery of famous Czechs around.

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    Vysehrad cemetery

    by Veroali Updated Dec 1, 2009

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    Antonin Dvorak, czech componist
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    This small cemetery is a cemetery of czech famous people, as writers, componists, actors, singers artists and scientists, from 19. century. All around are crypts covered by arcades. Here you can see very well according to the grave or crypt, who was poor or rich. Although there is an well known writer and did a great job, at that time his work was not honoured.
    I just picked up some people (in the photos): Antonin Dvorak - czech componist, opera Rusalka, lived in 19. century.
    Jan Neruda - lived in 19. cen. in Mala Strana. Probably you will see Dum U Dvou Sluncu, his house. His poems and work is adherent to Mala Strana.
    Vlasta Burian - czech comedian actor, lived in 20. cen.
    Karel Capek - czech writer, who among others made up a word ROBOT. Lived in 19. and 20. cen.

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    Cathedral of Ss Peter & Paul

    by alancollins Updated Aug 20, 2009

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    The twin spires of the Cathedral of Ss Peter & Paul are an impressive site that can be seen from some distance away. The church was originally built in the 19th century but had to be rebuilt in the 20th century after suffering fire damage.
    Open daily except Tuesdays, 9am - noon and 1pm-5pm.
    Entrance: Adults 10 Czk, Children 5 Czk.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Monumental Sculptural Groupings

    by von.otter Written Jan 7, 2009
    Sculptural Groupings on Vy��ehrad, Praha, 12/01
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    “I see a great castle whose glory will reach to heaven; it is located in a deep forest, bounded by the waves of the Vltava. You will find there a man who is digging out a threshold. And because even the great noblemen must bow low before a threshold, you shall give it the name Praha.”
    — Princess Libuse, wife of the founder of the Premyslid Dynasty, her prophetic vision of the greatness of Prague and its Castle

    LEGENDS IN STONE The four stone sculptural groupings of Josef Vaclav Myslbek (1843-1922) depict mythological figures that are part of Czech cultural tradition; today they are located in the park near the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.

    Carved between 1881 and 1895, these monumental works of art are the result of a competition, held by the City of Prague in 1881, to create decorative elements to stand at either end of Palackeho most, Palacky Bridge, which crosses the River Vltava.

    Heavily damaged during an air raid on Prague in February 1945, the groupings were brought to Vyšehrad when the bridge was repaired and enlarged in 1947.

    One of the most well known works is that of Princess Libuse and Premysi, her ploughman-turned-prince husband (see photo #1).

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    Statuary by Josef Vaclav Myslbek (I&V)

    by Zvrlj Updated May 7, 2008

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    Premysl & Libuse
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    The four monumentel sculptures of the mythological figures of Czech history, artwork of Josef Vaclav Myslbek are located in the park near Church of St Peter and St Paul. The sculptures were created in the period between 1881 and 1895, after the competition organized by Prague Municipality in 1881, for decorations to stand on Palackeho most – Palacky Bridge. They were at their supposed location – at the two ends of the bridge until 1947 when they had been transferred to Vysehrad as the bridge had been reconstructed and enlarged (during the air raid on Prague in March 14th 1945 the bridge and the statues had been severely damaged).

    The best known of all four statues – "Premysl & Libuse" is copy carved in 1970. The others are "Slavoj & Zaboj", "Ctirad & Sarka" and "Lumir & Pisen".

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  • MartinPazlar's Profile Photo

    history and restaurant

    by MartinPazlar Written Aug 19, 2007

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    If you like to join knowledge and pleasure you have to visit Vysehrad. It is a historical area and the gothic cathedral is located there. It is magic place and the cemetary of important people of the Czech history contribute to this. Beautiful view from walls is another reason why visit this place. When you are satisfy with history take a rest in garden restaurant called "na hradbach" (at the walls) where you can continue looking at the city and tasting a well cold beer.

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    Vysehrad

    by monkeytrousers Written Jul 17, 2007

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    View from Vysehrad Battlement
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    Vysehrad is an old fortress most notable I think for its spectaular views from the ramparts across the city and the Vltava and the church of SS Peter & Paul which has many notable Czechs buried in its cemetary including the composers Smetana and Dvorak.

    Its well signposted from the metro station and is free to walk around the grounds and cemetery.

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