History of Prague Castle
Basically a town in its own right, with its four churches, four palaces, five halls, four towers, and eleven gardens, the Prague castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. Spanning an area of 45 hectares, the castle grounds are visited by thousands of visitors daily. Last year alone, the estimated number of visitors to the castle totaled over seven million.
The Prague castle was built in 850 AD by the Premyslid family, and since then, has been the home of several Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, presidents of Czechoslovakia, and today, the home of Czech Republic’s president. However, the Prague castle was not always the seat of power throughout its history. In 1526, the seat of power was moved to Vienna under the Habsburg dynasty, and the castle was primarily used for recreational purposes.
In 1541, there was a large fire that destroyed parts of the castle.
Indisputably, the complex of buildings of the castle, featuring every architectural style of the last millennium, is astonishing enough from the outside. Yet, the interiors of either the Vladislav Hall or the St. Vitus Cathedral are even more fascinating. The Vladislav Hall of the Royal Palace, with its unique structural complexity, was built large enough to hold tournaments between knights during the middle ages.
The St. Vitus Cathedral, which is the biggest attraction of the Prague castle, is overwhelming impressive for any visitor. The high glass mosaic windows that line up the walls of the church and the gothic architectural style of the building put the cathedral on the must visit list. But the rich history behind this church definitely worth learning about. The St. Vitus cathedral houses the tombs of many Holy Roman emperors and Bohemian kings. Furthermore, the cathedral was only half-finished for many centuries and was completed later in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Also worth noting about the Prague castle is that it holds the treasured Bohemian Crown Jewels in the Saint Wenceslaus Chamber. There are seven people who have the keys to this chamber, and only with all seven keys can the chamber be unlocked.
Tickets are valid for two days so if you want to avoid the crowds, you can always go back the next day at a time when it is less crowded to finish the rest.
It is best to go early in the morning when it is less crowded with tourists.
People typically spend 3-4 hours depending on the ticket choice.
There are guided tours available in six languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. Each tour lasts an hour and starts at specific times throughout the day. If you are planning to do the tour, look up the times of the tour in your language before you go.
How to get to Prague Castle
By tram: either of these tram stops works: Kralovsky letohradek, Pohorelec, and Prazsky hrad. Tram no. 22 (Prazky hrad) is the most used by visitors, but it will require a hike up to the castle. To steer clear of the hike, get off at Pohorelec.
By metro: stations Malostranska or Hradcanska.