Take a look inside Prague Castle

Take a look inside Prague Castle

by Sharon Odegaard
Stripes Europe

High on the hill above Prague’s Old Town, sits the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Prague Castle. Unlike some European castles, this castle is not one main building, but instead a complex of various buildings all within the protective outer wall. The castle area is complete with guard towers and what once was a moat.

Spend a pleasant morning mesmerized by the architecture of different styles dating back 1,000 years. Remains of Romanesque-style buildings along with Gothic updates from the 14th century. During the First Republic, from 1918 to 1938, extensive renovations of the historic buildings took place. Even now, ongoing reconstruction is taking place. Today, Prague Castle is also home to the official office of the President of the Czech Republic.

When you enter the castle grounds, follow the steep main street to the spacious open square. Here, you will likely head straight for the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral. This is the twin-steepled church visible from the Old Town of Prague across the Vltava River. Up close, the cathedral is a showcase of spires, stained glass, wood ornamentation and atmospheric gargoyles darting out from the walls.

For a small fee, you can climb the many narrow, winding stone steps to the dome that houses the cathedral bells. The view from here takes in the red roofs of Prague, the Vltava River and the iconic Charles Bridge. This is truly a sight to savor.

Back down at ground level, you can wander around the spacious courtyard. This courtyard houses a toy museum, churches and a village of small houses that once were home to blacksmiths and tradespeople. Fun fact: Author Franz Kafka lived in one of these houses. You are free to look in any of the nooks and crannies and little garden areas of the castle.

A museum in the Old Royal Palace tells the story of Prague’s history going back a thousand years. You can also visit the Rosenberg Palace, built during the Renaissance era and was remodeled a few hundred years later.

All the step climbing and exploring calls for a refreshment. Here you can have lunch at a café in a historic building, while imagining all the history that’s taken place in these surroundings.

Prague Castle also has large gardens, complete with a view. The entrance to the government offices boasts a serious guard who resembles London’s royal guards. Prague not only knows how to entertain its visitors, but also how to protect this landmark castle and its own government.

Prague Castle is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with St. Vitus Cathedral open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Aim early to avoid crowds.

Entrance to the castle grounds is free. If you want to go inside the museums and displays, several ticket packages are available, depending on how many of the exhibits you plan to see. Check the official website for more information. 

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