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Prague Castle

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The Prague Castle is one of the largest enclosed castle areas at over 70,000m² (nearly 753,474 sq ft) and the largest historical castle in the world. Over 1.8 million guests visit the Pražský hrad annually, as the Prague Castle is called in Czech. Rightly so, because there is plenty to see: The St. Vitus Cathedral, which towers on the Hradčany Hill, is one of the most prominent buildings within the castle. The Palais Lobkowitz holds a large collection of Baroque artworks. Moreover, Prague Castle serves as the official residence of the Czech president, underscoring its contemporary political significance. During a tour, you learn more about the historical and current aspects of the castle.
Jessica DonevBy Jessica Donev
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Tickets

Book tickets in advance so that you can enter Prague Castle without having to queue.
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Prague: Skip-the-line Castle Ticket and Optional Audio Guide
4.1starstarstarstarstar empty(9951)
 
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Prague: Prague Castle and Lobkowicz Palace Entry Tickets
4.4starstarstarstarstar half(1732)
 
getyourguide.com
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Skip the Line Combo: Prague Castle, National Museum & Astronomical Clock
4.3starstarstarstarstar half(1824)
 
headout.com
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Prague Castle: Admission Ticket With Transfer And Audioguide
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(111)
 
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Tours

Your sense of direction takes you to many places you never wanted to see? Book a guide to find what you're looking for!
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Prague Castle 2.5-Hour Tour Including Admission Ticket
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(6995)
 
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Prague: Castle Tour with Local Guide and Entry Ticket
4.7starstarstarstarstar half(6714)
 
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Alchemy and Mysteries of Prague Castle Walking Tour
4.7starstarstarstarstar half(200)
 
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Prague: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour and Vltava River Cruise
3.9starstarstarstarstar empty(2015)
 
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Extras

Space tours, tailored to your taste.
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Prague: Old Town, Prague Castle & River Boat Cruise Day-Tour
5.0starstarstarstarstar(9)
 
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Prague: Prague Castle Complex Smartphone Audio Guide
3.0starstarstarstar emptystar empty(59)
 
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Prague Castle: audio guide in your smartphone
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Prague Castle Audio Guide (no admission ticket included)
 
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10 tips for visiting the Prague Castle

The entrance to Prague Castle | Flickr: Chris CC-BY 2.0
1
Purchase a ticket in advancePrague Castle is a popular tourist attraction. To avoid long queues, you should buy tickets in advance.
View of Prague Castle | Unspash: Alice CC-BY 2.0
2
Note the opening hoursCheck the opening times of individual attractions within the castle; especially the St. Vitus Cathedral and other museums, to make sure you can see everything.
3
Suitable ClothingPrague Castle includes a large open area, so wear comfortable clothing and good footwear, especially if you want to explore the gardens and courtyards.
4
Respect the rules in the church and in the museumsFollow the rules in the churches and museums within the castle, such as the photography prohibition in some areas.
5
Use an audio guide or participate in a guided tourTo make your visit even more informative and to not miss any highlights in the large area, it is best to book a guided tour! With plenty of information about the history and significance of Prague Castle, your visit will become even more exciting.
6
Theme-Oriented ToursIf you have a specific interest, look for theme-oriented tours. There are tours focusing on art, architecture, history, or even the secrets and legends of the castle.
7
Enjoy the PanoramaThe castle offers an impressive view of the city Prague. Also schedule some time to visit the viewpoints. You have the best views from the St. Vitus Cathedral or the Golden Lane. The restaurants, bars, and cafés on the hill also offer great views of the city.
8
Discover the Golden LaneThis small alley is made up of tiny colorful houses once inhabited by writers and goldsmiths. The houses are very charming and tell interesting stories. Today, they host souvenir shops, museums, and cafés among others.
9
Take Your TimeIf the weather is nice, take some time for a picnic in the Castle Garden and enjoy the green oasis with a view of the city. Plan enough time to explore this area.
10
Pay attention to eventsConcerts and other events take place regularly at the Prague Castle. If you are interested in participating, buy your tickets in time!
<i>Prague Castle</i> at night | Flickr: apple.white2010 CC-BY 2.0

The history of the Prague Castle

Here you can find a very brief summary of the history of the Prague Castle. If you are interested in this topic - it's best to book a guided tour of the castle!
Baroque street lamp with St. Vitus Cathedral | Flickr: Martin__V CC-BY 2.0

The past

The history of the castle dates back to 880 AD. It was built in four stages up to the 12th century. Over the centuries, the castle was altered again and again by generations of builders. Not only the various architectural styles, but also the many different residents and their demands during their residence left their mark. The castle is a witness to political intrigues, cultural upheavals, and royal splendor.

The Hradschin Hill, on which the castle stands, served as the seat of the Bohemian kings and later two emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. It was one of the power centers of the Habsburgs for 400 years and has been the residence of the Czechoslovak presidents since 1919.

Since 1925, archaeologists have been excavating to get to the bottom of the castle's history.
Changing of the Guard | Flickr: Ryan Park CC-BY 2.0

Today

Nowadays, Prague Castle is not just a historical monument, but also a vibrant center. With over 1.8 million visitors annually, it is one of the most visited attractions in Europe. The castle serves as a symbol for the Czech nation and is the official residence of the President. Its historical significance is carried forward through cultural events, exhibitions, and festivals, thus blending the past with the present.

Prague Castle is a testament to the resilience of Czech history and culture. Its towers may reach into the sky, but its true greatness lies in its ability to connect generations and tell stories. Visiting this historical site, one can not only admire the impressive architecture but also capture the cultural essence of a country that has asserted itself over centuries.
View from Prague Castle to the Lesser Side | Flickr: Anthony G. Reyes CC-BY 2.0

Which buildings make up Prague Castle?

Prague Castle consists of 51 gardens, buildings, and other highlights. Here is an excerpt.
St. Vitus Cathedral | Unsplash: Flavio CC-BY 2.0

St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, Rosenberg Palace, and Toy Museum

The St. Vitus Cathedral is a Gothic cathedral and the largest church building in the Czech Republic. Its architecture and artistically valuable treasures make it one of the most important and well-known buildings of the Prague Castle.

The Golden Lane between the White Tower and the Tower Daliborka includes houses from the Gothic and Renaissance periods. The houses were inhabited until the Second World War. From 1916 to 1917, Franz Kafka lived temporarily in house No. 22. Today, there is an exhibition about the life in the alley during the last five centuries in the fairy-tale houses.

The Rosenberg Palace was built from 1545 - 1574 and was used by Maria Theresa from 1753 to provide for impoverished noble daughters as an institute for noblewomen. That's why the palace is also called Theresian Noble Ladies' Institute today.

The Toy Museum in the former Counts' Palace now comprises the world's largest private toy collection.
Lobkowicz Palace | Flickr: Donald Judge CC-BY 2.0

Lobkowicz Baroque Palace, Picture Gallery, Royal Garden, and Tourist Information

The Lobkowicz Baroque Palace is still owned by the Lobkowicz noble family today. Part of the art collection and personal items of the Lobkowicz family are kept in the museum. The collection includes paintings by world-famous painters, musical instruments, and manuscripts from composers like Mozart or Beethoven. Concerts are held daily in the palace.

The Picture Gallery of Prague Castle dates back to the 16th century. The collection contains a total of 4,000 paintings. Hundreds are displayed in the permanent exhibition. The property of the castle includes works by artists such as Rubens and Titian.

In the Royal Garden of Prague Castle is the Queen Anne's Summer Palace. The Renaissance building, constructed by Emperor Ferdinand I., today houses an exhibition of fine arts and artistic craftsmanship. In front of the summer house stands the bronze Singing Fountain.

In the third courtyard of Prague Castle is the tourist information centre of the capital city of Prague and is available to visitors 365 days a year.
Charles Bridge with a view of the Prague Castle | Unsplash: William Zhang CC-BY 2.0

Legends and Facts

The Prague Castle is surrounded by many legends, myths, and stories.
Golden Lane | Flickr: Tilemahos Efthimiadis CC-BY 2.0

Legends about the Prague Castle

One of the most fascinating legends is that of the so-called Defenestration - Window, which is linked to an important historical event.
The most famous Defenestration occurred in 1618, when two Catholic regents were thrown out of a window of the Prague Castle during a conflict with the Protestants. This event marked the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. Amazingly, the overthrown survived the fall from great heights. The Protestants interpreted this as a divine intervention and saw it as a sign for the protection of their cause.
The legend has it that those who had survived the defenestration were caught by angels hovering over the Hradčany Hill.

Another popular legend is the Legend of the Crown, which was supposed to bring a tragic fate. Any usurper who wants to seize power and puts on the crown is said to die within a year. This also happened to Reinhard Heydrich, who had his seat of power in the Prague Castle during World War II. He was Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and could not resist the splendor and glory of the castle and the crown, put it on, and proclaimed himself king. Not a year should pass when the tragic fate took its course. Slovak and Czech rebels ambushed Heydrich on the way to the castle. Heydrich died of his injuries shortly after. According to legend, his son also died in a traffic accident the following year.

The Golden Lane, known for its tiny, colorful houses, supposedly housed alchemists serving Emperor Rudolf II. It is said that they were looking for the Philosopher's Stone and tried to create gold. A goldsmith named Rückert is said to have succeeded in turning lead into gold. The curious statue of a winged bull marks his house.
St. Vitus Cathedral Interior | Unsplash: Anthony DELANOIX CC-BY 2.0

Unusual Facts about the Prague Castle

Beneath the Prague Castle, there is allegedly a network of secret passages and tunnels. Some of these passages were created over the centuries for military reasons, while others served to discreetly move royal personalities. There is even supposed to be a tunnel leading to the Charles Bridge.

Few visitors know that St. Vitus Cathedral also serves as a stage for impressive concerts. The acoustics of the cathedral provide a unique backdrop for musical performances.

The Prague Castle actually consists of two castles – namely, the Royal Palace and the Hradčany. The Royal Palace was founded in the 9th century, while the Hradčany was added in the 12th century.

The rosette in St. Vitus Cathedral contains a mysterious number: 135. It is assumed that this refers to the year 1356, when Charles IV. transferred the relics of Saint Wenceslas into the cathedral.

In St. Vitus Cathedral, there is an impressive representation of the starry sky. The domed ceiling of the cathedral shows more than 130 gilded stars arranged in a pattern that is supposed to represent the sky over Prague on July 8, 1359.

The Prague Castle has served as a backdrop for numerous movies, including Hollywood productions like 'Mission: Impossible' and 'The Illusionist'. The impressive architecture of the castle has attracted filmmakers worldwide.

The flags on the towers of Prague Castle are not just for decoration. Depending on which flag is hoisted, one can determine whether the president is in the country or not. If the flag is flying, the president is present.

The Hradčany, part of the Prague Castle, houses a carillon that can be heard daily at 12 o'clock. It is a traditional concert consisting of Czech folk songs played by an automatic mechanism.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time should I plan for a visit to Prague Castle?

The required time for a visit to Prague Castle can vary depending on personal interest, chosen route, and willingness to visit museums or exhibitions. However, as a general rule, you should plan at least half a day for Prague Castle to explore the main attractions.
A visit to St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane typically requires half a day.
If the visit includes museums and galleries within the castle, a whole day might be necessary. Prague Castle houses various cultural institutions, including the National Museum, the Toy Museum, and the Schwarzenberg Picture Gallery.
For a particularly in-depth experience, two days might be sensible to explore the different parts of the castle leisurely and perhaps also participate in a guided tour.
Planning in advance definitely makes sense for Prague Castle to optimize the visit according to your interests. In the summer months, Prague Castle can be particularly busy due to the high influx of tourists, and queues can form.
Read more.

Is it possible to visit the castle at night?

Prague Castle closes in the evening to the public. Official opening hours vary depending on the season. However, it is possible to view the castle grounds and its surroundings at night.
The outdoor areas of Prague Castle, such as the castle square and the area around St. Vitus Cathedral, are often illuminated after dark and can offer an impressive atmosphere. The illuminated silhouette of Prague Castle on the hill is a fascinating sight and provides a romantic setting.
Read more.

Are there temporary exhibitions or events at Prague Castle?

Prague Castle houses various cultural institutions, museums, and galleries, where temporary exhibitions and events are also held.
The official website of Prague Castle usually provides information about current exhibitions, cultural events, or special programs.
Additionally, you can also inquire on-site at the information centers of Prague Castle.
Read more.

Is Prague Castle accessible for people with mobility impairments?

All buildings and gardens have at least partial barrier-free access. Exceptions are the Golden Lane, which is unfortunately difficult to access, and the Defense Passage Tower. With assistance, the Old Royal Palace, the Vladislav Hall, the St. George's Basilica, and St. Vitus's Cathedral can be visited. In the summer, a tour through the courtyards and royal garden is recommended. There is also an accessible toilet on the premises of Prague Castle. Read more.

General information

opening hours

Prague Castle is open daily. The Prague Castle complex is open from 6am to 10pm. The opening hours of the historical buildings are from April 1 to October 31 from 9am to 5pm and from November 1 to March 31 from 9am to 4pm. St. Vitus Cathedral opens on Sundays from noon. The Prague Castle complex is closed on December 24th.

tickets

There are many different options for your visit to Prague Castle. The price of the tickets depends on what you want to experience. The cheapest ticket costs € 16.

address

Hradčany
119 08 Prague 1
Czech Republic

how to get there

Take the green line (Line A) and get off at the Malostranská station, which is about 500m (16ft) (7 minutes on foot) from the castle. Tram lines 22 and 23 have several stops near the various entrance gates of the castle. For those arriving by car, there are free and paid parking spaces on U Prašného mostu street. However, driving in the Czech capital is advised against due to many access restrictions.
On foot, Prague Castle is well connected to the Charles Bridge and can be reached via a somewhat strenuous walk.

website

Official site: https://www.hrad.cz
Jessica Donev
Written byJessica DonevJessica is the definition of Jack of all trades. When she wants to do something, she just does it. That's why Jessica is an event manager, professional dancer, trainer, content creator, speaker / presenter in training and much more. Having traveled the world a lot, she knows what's important when traveling and shares it with you here on TicketLens.
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