The Prague castle towers over the rest of the city with its fortified walls, stone towers and the spires of churches and the monastery inside. The Prague castle is in fact the largest ancient castle in the world covering some 18 acres with a Palace, 3 churches, a monastery, gardens and stables inside.
Although the grounds and most of the attractions are open year-round, the gardens and some parts of the grounds are off limits during the winter months. Tickets to the main attractions come in two key types: the long visit which includes the majority of museums inside and the short visit limited to only the most popular ones. Family tickets are also available which effectively allow children to enter for free.
For more details, please visit the official Prague Castle website.
The present castle was built in the Renaissance period, after a fire in 1541 burnt down the previous one standing in the same spot. A castle had existed on top of the hill overlooking Prague since the late 9th century when Prince Borijev established a wooden fortress there. Throughout time, it was the historical throne of Czech rulers and the seat of empires which included modern-day Czech Republic. Today the castle's status as a seat of power remains as it is the home of the President of the Czech Republic.
The district displays a variety of architectural styles which reflect the influences of a broad range of people, royal dynasties and religious communities over time. There is a wealth of history, culture, and treasures in this small area with its maze of streets, alleyways and gardens. Dutifully, the Prague Castle, which resembles a small town, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A number of palaces and grandiose buildings surround the castle as the area around was home to Czech nobility and rich tradespeople. Be sure to also see some of these adjoining sites as you visit the castle.
A permanent exhibition within the castle, this is a collection of paintings originally owned by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II. His passion for art resulted in the largest art collection of the 16th century some of which can be seen at the exhibition today. The rest of the paintings comprise latter additions. World-renowned Titian and Rubens are among the works on show.
This collection comprises of a number of artefacts, models and descriptions of the history of the Prague Castle from its origins to the present day showing how the complex grew and expanded over time.
The Golden Lane is a street running close to the castle wall at the north end of the compound. Originally home to the poor echelons of the castle society, these colourful homes housed servants and marksmen as well as goldsmiths. Over time, these properties' value changed significantly as rich and famous people bought the small houses. One of its more famous residents was the writer Franz Kafka who lived at number 22.
The Royal Palace is a concoction of styles from many centuries as it grew from a wooden structure in the 9th century to the grandiose structure of today. The palace has a number of different wings filled with grand rooms. Some key parts are the Vladislav Hall (housing the Throne and used for most ceremonies), All Saints' Church (mostly built in the 16th century) and a riders staircase allowing people to go up and down on horseback.
Originally founded in 920 by Prince Vratislav as a church, the Basilica and its adjacent properties have been home to Benedictine nuns since 973. Numerous reconstructions following fires and extensions over time mean it looks very different today, with chiefly Romanesque and Baroque design cues, and is most definitely worth the visit.
For information on the Cathedral of St. Vitus, please see our separate page here.
January 1st to March 31st
November 1st to December 31st
April 1st to October 31st
Prague Castle - Long Tour
Prague Castle - Short Tour
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