Full of fascinating memorials to the famous (Smetana, Mucha, Dvorak) and the not-so-famous and the almost-entirely-unknown (and many monks and nuns too), this is a fascinating place.
The memorial art alone makes it worth a visit. I've made a travelogue with more photos.
Wander the rows of graves and just enjoy the art. Some of it, sadly, has obviously been stolen at some point...there were some pretty famous artists involved in creating some of the memorials.
But there is plenty more left to see, and the cemetery has a helpful map at the entrance so you can find specific graves.
Tram 3, 7, 16 or 17 along the riverside to stop 'Vyton' then either walk up Vratislavova or take the steep steps up from Rasinovo Nabrezi. The cemetery is right by the church of svPetr and Pavel, with its two unmissable Gothic towers.
Take a tram (3, 7, 16, 17) along the riverside to what legends say is the first place Slavic tribes settled in Prague.
Set on its rocky crag overlooking the Vltava river, with superb views of the city, the fortress of Vysehrad is a lovely place for a wander. You can walk almost all of its ramparts for those supoerb views, there are grassy spaces and shady trees, four massive statues which once stood on the nearby bridge.......and several cafes.
For me, the main reason for visiting was to explore the Vysehrad cemetery (see next tip) but I was pleasantly surprised at how much more the fortress had to offer.
A good escape from the busy city centre: if it's a nice day, take a picnic!
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.
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 - beside the Hradcany castle - the other important fortified place in Prague. Nowadays it is a place for recreation for locals as well as - few - tourists who enjoy the remaining buildings like castle walls, old churches, the historic cemetery, garden and cafés/restaurants.
The area is easy to reach by metro, stop Vysehrad. From there it is just a five minutes walk to the Tabor Gate from 1655. Highlight for me was the small Romanesque church St. Martin. Very beautiful architecture, unfortunately only open for services.
Definitely take a walk along the walls from where you can enjoy gorgeous views of Prague. Also, visit the Historic cemetery with graves of many famous Czechs, like A. Dvorak, B. Smetana, A. Mucha, K. Capek etc.
The big Neo-Gothic church St. Peter and Paul that dominates the Vysehrad hill is only open on weekends as far as I could see. I didn't have a chance to see the interior, but I guess it must be nice - probably great colourred stain-glass windows. The main portal is impressive with its mosaic works.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vysehrad ( high castle ) is the first part of Prague settled. About 100 meters inside of the main gate of Vysehrad complex, stands the Rotunda of sv. Martin, which is the oldest intact church, and one of the oldest structures of any kind in Prague. Although dates are not certain, it is believed that the rotunda was already under construction 1000 years ago today. The architecture is typical of Romanesque era rotundas in central Europe. It is primarily built of mortared rock with only a few timbered roof beams. The narrow capital contains double arched Romanesque windows, with the other windows being single arched. The rotunda is small, and contains only a single low capacity chapel. A cylindrical choir is attached to the side. Photo #1 is a rear view of the rotunda. Photo #2 is a front view showing the great wooden entrance.
Nowadays the chapel is primarily used for the private funeral services of those to be interred at the nearby cathedral cemetary. The chapel is normally closed but the rotunda can still be enjoyed greatley from the outside. Visit the rotunda and most of Vysehrad complex free of charge. The rotunda is situated in a pleasant park setting which is the most beautiful in mid to late April, as shown in the photos. A lot of restorative work has been done on this ancient church over the centuries. After all the forces of nature take a great toll on even the best built structures over a millenium. However, this unforgetable rotunda can still be regarded as the genuine article.
See my other Vysehrad tips for directions and transportation.
This house built n 1996, it is located in Rasinovo naberezi on the way to Visehrad. Czechs named this building "Dancing house", americans "Ginger and Fred". This house symbolising two dancing people. It was proceted by F.Gary and his Czech collegue V.Milanich.
The Church of St Peter & St Paul is the centerpiece of Vysehrad. Though seated in a historic fortress, the church was actually built in the 1800s, In the 1900s it was burned then rebuilt in its present configuration, an dit is considered to have one of the most beautiful interiors in Prague. The picturesque Vysehrad Cemetery surrounds the church.
Entrance: Adults 10 CZK, Children 5 CZK
Phone: +420.(0)2. 2491. 1353
The ancient citadel of Vysehrad (High Castle) offers some of the finest views of the city. Located a few kilometers south of the Old Town, Vysehrad was built in the 10th Century. It towers high over the Vlatava and offers scenic views of the river and Prague Castle. Some of the key sites at Vysehrad include the Tabor Gate, St Martin's Rotunda, St Peter and St Paul's Church, the cemetery, and the Western Bastions which offer the best views.
This was a great side trip from the city to a quiet area virtually free of tourists in the winter. There is no entrance fee!
To get to Vysehrad, take the metro Red Line to Vysehrad station and walk west a few hundred meters through a residential area to the Tabor Gate.
This pretigius graveyard is given as a measure of the part these artists and intellectuals that played in the foundation of the nation and the high esteem they are held in.
No soldiers, no politians, not even the Communists managed to muscle their way in here (except on artistic merit). The graves are very well kept & some are very fancy with mosaics
Ladislav Saloun's grave for Dvorak, is quite a showy one with a mosaic inscription, studded with gold stones.
Cemetery open March, Aprl & Oct 8am-6pm, May - Sept 8am - 7pm, Nov - Feb 9am-4pm
In the gardens there are 4 Myslbek statues that used to grace the nearby Palackeho bridge. The grass here is the ideal place for picnics but for us it was far too cold.