Prague Castle History

A Historical Overview Of Prague Castle

Constructed in the 9th century and spanning across an area of a whopping 45 hectares, the Prague Castle complex is considered to be one of the world’s largest complexes. Adding a rustic charm to modern Prague, the castle dominates the city with its fame and allure. Once the home of Bohemian kings, it is now the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic.

Prague Castle complex is packed with a plethora of brilliant architectural marvels, including halls, palaces, churches, and gardens. According to the rich Prague Castle history, many buildings in the complex have undergone multiple renovations, though the castle still retains the prime architectural designs of the bygone times. The castle leaves visitors spellbound with its beautiful combination of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque-style architectural elements.

As per Prague Castle facts, the first walled building to be established in the castle complex was the Church of the Virgin Mary. This was followed by other important buildings, with most of them being constructed between the 10th and 16th centuries. The other significant churches in the complex include St. George’s Basilica and St. Vitus Cathedral. The complex is also packed with majestic palaces with the oldest being the Old Royal Palace. A plethora of lush gardens adorn the castle complex, with the Italian Renaissance-style Royal Garden of Prague Castle being the most beautiful and popular.

History Of Prague Castle

The Prague Castle history dates back to the 9th century, when its foundation was laid by Prince Bořivoj. The castle further evolved from the 10th to the 16th, after which it faced 30 years of war. The 17th century marked the reconstruction of the castle in the Baroque era. In 1918, the castle became the seat of the President of Czechoslovakia and was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

  • 9th century: The foundation of Prague Castle's foundations were laid by Prince Bořivoj on the top of a hill. 
  • 10th century: During the 10th century, the castle became the residence of Bohemian rulers. The first stone building, the Church of the Virgin Mary, was constructed, and the Castle 
  • 14th century: The 14th century, known as the golden era, marked another major change in Prague Castle history with its transformation into a Gothic residence. The Old Royal Palace and the St. Vitus Cathedral were constructed.
  • 16th Century: It was in the 16th century when Prague Castle emerged as the centre of political power, under the Habsburg dynasty. The 16th century also saw the incident which led to 30 years of war in Europe.
  • 17th century: The castle was reconstructed under the reign of Emperor Ferdinand II.The Royal Garden and the Schwarzenberg Palace were added to the castle complex.
  • 1918: Prague Castle became the seat of the President of Czechoslovakia. 
  • 1992: The Prague Castle was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Historical Buildings Of Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest as well as the most important temple in Prague, has a major significance in the history of Prague Castle. The cathedral was established about 600 years ago and has treasures belonging to the 14th century. The cathedral served as the venue for the coronations of Czech kings and queens and also had religious services. The place also was the burial ground for many noblemen, archbishops, patron saints and sovereigns and also houses the tomb of St John of Nepomuk and St Vitus. Visitors exploring the place will be delighted to see the carved wooden doors and stained glass windows by famous 20th-century Czech artists.

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The Golden Lane

The Golden Lane in Prague Castle, a flamboyant street, is a major part of Prague Castle history. The lane originated after the construction of the new northern wall of the Castle in the 16th century. The area was a postcard-perfect street, with old, colourful houses on either of its sides. These modest dwellings were occupied by the goldsmiths and castle guards and gave a glimpse of the small-scale architecture of Prague Castle. Then, in the 19th century, many of the houses were demolished and after the Second World War, the houses remaining were renovated and a few of them were converted into shops.

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Old Royal Palace

The Old Royal Palace has a special place in the history of Prague Castle for being one of the oldest structures present in the Prague Castle complex. This palace was established in 1135 as the residence of the Czech princesses. Later, in the 13th century, the palace became the personal palace of the Czech king and remained so till the 16th century. While exploring the old castle, visitors must look out for its prime attraction, the majestic Vladislav Hall, located in the heart of the palace. The hall has gained its prominence due to its spectacular Gothic architecture and its unique vaulted ceiling.

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St. George’s Basilica

St. George's Basilica originated as the second church at Prague Castle and dates back to the 10th century. The place was established by Prince Vratislav I in 920 AD to shelter the tombs of the princes belonging to the Premyslid dynasty. Since its inception, the basilica has been renovated several times and was enlarged and reconstructed in 973 when the convent of Benedictine nuns was founded. Currently, the church stands as an important part of Prague Castle history and is presently used by the state to host many important cultural events and concerts. While visiting the place, visitors will feel mesmerised looking at the Baroque, Bohemian and Romanesque styles of architectural elements. 

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Great Southern Tower of the Cathedral

The Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral is a 100 metre tall church tower whose construction started in the 14th century and was completed in the 19th century. Visitors can climb its 290 steps to reach the top of the tower, from where they can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Prague Castle complex. The top of the tower also has 7 bells, including Zikmund, Czech’s largest known bell. Apart from this, while on top, the visitors can also get a glimpse of the clockwork of the 16th century from the South Tower in Prague Castle.

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The Picture Gallery at Prague Castle

Visitors interested to learn more about the Prague Castle history and heritage must pay a visit to the Picture Gallery of the Prague Castle, located inside the castle. They will be able to take a look at the permanent exhibition where more than 4000 top-quality pictures are on display. They will also be able to witness hidden treasures from the 16th century, which have been a part of the famous collections which once belonged to Emperor Rudolf II. Apart from this, the gallery also has jewels from workshops across the world such as German, Dutch, Flemish and other art masters.

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What is the history of Prague Castle?

Prague Castle history will tell us about how this magnificent place, considered to be one of the world’s largest complexes, was built in the 9th century. Covering an area of 45 hectares, the castle evolved from a simple fortification into a seat of power in the 10th century and was further evolved in the 14th century. While the beginning of the 16th century marked the rise of the castle into a centre of political power, the year 1618 saw the beginning of the castle being damaged due to the thirty-year-long battle. The castle was reconstructed again in the Baroque era of the 17th century and it’s former glory was returned. Finally, in 1918, the castle became the seat of the President of Czechoslovakia and then in 1992, it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Why is Prague Castle famous?

Prague Castle is famous for being the seat of the head of the state. Apart from this, the fascinating history of Prague Castle along with its cultural significance has also made the castle famous. The place is also well known for housing crown jewels, relics of Bohemian kings, art treasures, precious Christian relics, and historical documents.

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What is the oldest part of Prague Castle?

The oldest part of the Prague Castle is the Old Royal Palace, which dates back to the year 1135. The palace was established in 1135 as the residence of the Czech princesses and later, in the 13th century, became the personal palace of the Czech king. The prime attraction of the castle is the Vladislav Hall, with its spectacular Gothic architecture and its unique vaulted ceiling.

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What happened in Prague Castle in 1618?

Referring to the Prague Castle history, it is known that in the year 1618, a dramatic event occurred when two catholic governors were thrown out of a window. While they managed to survive the fall, the incident ignited a conflict that led to a war in England that continued for thirty years.

When was Prague Castle founded?

According to Prague Castle historical facts and archaeological research, Prague Castle was founded sometime back in the 880s by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty. The first walled building to be established in the castle complex was the Church of Virgin Mary. This was followed by St. George Basilica and St. Vitus Cathedral, which were established in the 10th century. Most of the other buildings were founded between the 11th and the 16th centuries.

Who built Prague Castle?

The Prague Castle was founded by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty sometime back in the 880s. The Royal Palace and the St. Vitus Cathedral were rebuilt under Charles IV in the 14th century. The Spanish Hall together with the northern wing of the palace were built by Rudolph II in the 16th century. The Chapel of the Holy Cross was rebuilt on the Second Courtyard by Ferdinand V in 1848.

When was the Prague Castle built?

The Prague Castle’s foundations were laid in the 9th century when a magnificent fortress was built on a strategic location on the top of the hill. The location allowed the rules to get a better view of the surroundings and helped them to safeguard their kingdoms.

What was the history of Prague Castle's Origin and Reconstructions?

The rich Prague Castle history dates back to 880, when the Church of the Virgin Mary, its first walled building was founded. This was followed by St. George Basilica and St. Vitus Cathedral, which were established in the 10th century under the Bohemian king, Vratislaus I. The Old Royal Palace (of today) was constructed in the 12th century, which was again reconstructed in the 14th century under Charles IV. In 1485, King Vladislaus II again reconstructed the palace and established the Vladislav Hall inside it. Many Renaissance-style were added to the castle complex under the reign of the Habsburgs. The Spanish Hall together with the northern wing of the palace were built by Rudolph II in the 16th century. In the 18th century, Empress Maria Theresa commenced the last major renovation of Prague Castle.

What are the palaces inside of Prague Castle?

  • New Royal Palace: Located in the third courtyard of Prague Castle complex, the New Royal Palace comprises four wings. The construction of this palace started in the 17th century and ended in the 18th century.

  • Old Royal Palace: Once a residence building, the brilliantly architectured Old Royal Palace flaunts striking Renaissance and Gothic architectural styles, offering a true visual delight. It houses the huge Vladislav Hall right at its center.

  • Lobkowicz Palace: The majestic Lobkowicz Palace happens to be the only privately owned structure in Prague Castle. The palace is home to intriguing museums and rich fascinating collections.

  • Queen Anne's Summer Palace: The Renaissance style Queen Anne's Summer Palace is nestled amidst the lush Royal Gardens of the Prague Castle complex. It was Ferdinand I, who commenced the construction of this beautiful palace for his beloved wife Anna Jagiellon.

What are the Prague Castle architectural highlights?

  • Prague Castle Halls: The Vladislav Hall, the Spanish Hall, the Column Hall, and Rudolph’s Gallery happen to be the important halls of Prague Castle.
  • Prague Castle Churches: St. George’s Basilica and St. Vitus Cathedral are the significant churches in the Prague Castle complex, the former being the oldest and the latter being the largest.
  • Prague Castle Gardens: The Italian Renaissance Royal Garden is the most popular garden in the complex. Other important gardens include the Terrace of the Riding School, Garden on the Bastion, The South Gardens in Prague Castle, Stag Moat in Prague Castle, St. Wenceslas Vineyard, Empire Greenhouse, Orangery in Prague Castle, Hartig Garden, and Horticultural Gardens.
  • Prague Castle Palaces: The Old Royal Palace has great significance in Prague Castle's history. The Renaissance Queen Anne’s Summer Palace, the New Royal Palace, and Lobkowicz Palace are other palaces inside the complex.

What are the popular things to see inside Prague Castle?

Here are some of the treasure trove of historical and artistic wonders to explore inside Prague Castle:

  • Royal Garden: A meticulously manicured garden with elegant fountains and statues.
  • The South Gardens: Terraced gardens offering breathtaking vistas of the city.
  • The Golden Lane: A picturesque lane lined with colorful medieval houses.
  • Prague Castle Garden: A serene oasis with lush greenery and peaceful atmosphere.

Can we book Prague Castle tickets online?

Yes, you can book your Prague Castle tickets online, on various trustworthy websites. Booking your slot online in advance will let you skip the line of entry to the castle and offer you a convenient and hassle-free visit. You can also avail of many exciting combo deals that will let you pay less and explore.


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