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Praha Hradčany / Malá Strana

Worth visiting

busy

 

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Type of sights

Old town / World heritage site

 
 

Name and address

Praha Hradčany / Malá Strana
Prague/Castle and Lesser Town

CZ-118 00 Praha

Geodetic coordinates

50.088512 14.400437

Communication

Prag, Blick auf den Hradschin (Hradčany) mit Burg
Prag, Blick auf den Hradschin (Hradčany) mit Burg
Prag, St.-Veits-Dom
Prag, St.-Veits-Dom
Prag, Palais Lobkowicz
Prag, Palais Lobkowicz

Castle and Lesser Town are both in district Prague 1, Castle district of Prague Wikivoyage Icon (Czech: Hradčany.) is the highest part of the city while the Lesser Town of Prague (Czech: Malá Strana) is the lower area on the left bank.

Understand

Prague Castle is the symbol of the Czech state. It became the seat of Bohemian dukes in the 9th century. Since then, the Prague Castle had been continually the seat of ruler of the Czech lands, from kings of Bohemia to Czechoslovak and Czech presidents. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. Castle complex is a unique mixture of different architecural styles. From romanesque St. George's Basilica, gothic St. Vitus cathedral, renaissance Belvedere with gardens to adjustments by well-known architects form 20th century.

Under the Castle is Lesser Town. Founded in 13th century, this part of Prague was inhabited mostly by Germans. Lesser Town was destroyed during the Hussite Rebellion, therefore Baroque architecture predominants there.

See

The main attraction of Hradčany (Castle Quarter or Castle District) is the Prague Castle itself. However the Castle Quarter is much larger and is filled with many other attractions, palaces, churches and monasteries. Some of the palaces host excellent galleries, others are used as government or church buildings.

Some of the areas require you to buy a ticket for entrance. You can buy one of two combined tickets. The short tour allows entrance to the Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica, Golden Lane and Daliborka Tower for 250 Kč. The long tour allows entry to all the same places as the short tour, as well as "The Story of Prague Castle" exhibition, the National Gallery display in the Convent of St. George, and the Prague Castle Picture Gallery all for 350 Kč. The entry to the St. Vithus Cathedral is free (but crowds are regulated) when the owned by the state, but money is charged when owned by the Catholic church. The legal battle over the ownership of the cathedral still continues.

  • Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad). The former seat of the King and is now the seat of the Czech president. This is Prague's number one tourist attraction so expect huge crowds and possibly long lines, especially during high tourist season. Your best bet is to come early, as soon as the castle opens.
    Similar to other royal palaces, there is an hourly changing of the guard ceremony. At noon, the ceremony includes fanfare at a flag ceremony in the first courtyard. 
  • St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrala svateho Vita). In the center of the castle and the most important cathedral in all of the Czech republic. The oldest parts of the cathedral are from the 14th century, but the cathedral was not completed in the Medieval period. The highest tower was completed in Renaissance and Baroque styles much later, as is clearly obvious. The Western portal and both Western towers are even younger, completed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, the original Medieval plans were used for them and their relatively small age is not obvious. St. Vitus Cathedral was the place of royal coronations and also the location of the remains of several famous Czech Kings (notably Charles IV, of Charles Bridge fame).
  • Old Royal Palace (Starý královský palác). The original seat of Czech rulers. Visitors first enter the Vladislav hall, the largest high-Gothic vaulted space in Central Europe. Other rooms include the Palace chapel and throne room. At the end of the exhibit is "The Story of Prague Castle" exhibit, which features artificats from the castle's past. 
  • St. George's Basilica. The second oldest church in the castle and features a colorful Baroque facade. The interior is visibly older and is the burial place of the Premyslid family and the first Czech saint, Princess Ludmila. 
  • St. George's Convent - National Gallery. One of several branches of the National Gallery is located inside this, the first convent in Bohemia. Today it houses the collection of Czech Mannerist and Baroque art. 
  • The Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička). During the reign of Rudolf II, goldsmiths lived in a lively alleyway filled with tiny workshops, which were also their residence, hence its name. Tiny, cobblestoned walkway filled with brightly-painted little houses, where modern man has a hard time standing with the low ceiling. Franz Kafka occupied No. 22 from 1916 to 1917, and this is why most people visit the Golden Lane. There really isn't another good reason unless you want to buy some overpriced souvenirs in the small shops now occupying the houses, or need to cut through the crowds to see the Daliborka.
  • The Daliborka. Built by Prince Vladislav in 1496, the tower at the far end of the castle is part of a new fortified wall. Its first prisoner was a recalcitrant knight named Dalibor who, according to legend, played his violin very sadly at the wall serenading the castle residents. Though, the thickness of the walls makes that legend a little unlikely. No one would have been able to hear him outside! Today the tower holds a small display of prison and torture techniques used during that time. 
  • Prague Castle Picture Gallery. Housed in the original castle stables. It contains Renaissance and Baroque art, including parts of the original collection of Rudolph II. 
  • The Royal Garden. To the east/north-east of the palace is a large park. Aside from its own beauty, it has an excellent view of the east bank of the river. Entrance is free. 
  • The State Rooms at Prague Castle. Open to the public two days of the year, as they are mostly used exclusively by the President. Contact the Castle Information office for more details. 
  • Charles Bridge (Karlův Most). connects the Old Town with Lesser Town. Commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and constructed between 1357 and 1402, it is one of the most interesting historical stone bridges in Europe. It is 516 meters long with 16 arches. Baroque statues (a total of 30) began to be placed here in the 17th century. The best time to visit the bridge is in the quiet morning or in the evening at sunset, when one can enjoy a view of the fully lit Prague Castle. 
  • Wallenstein Palace (Valdštejnský palác) is a Baroque palace, currently the home of the Czech Senate. The original Palace was built in years 1623-1630 by Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Mecklenburg (1583-1634), who made his name and fortune as the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial forces in the Thirty Years War.
  • Child Jesus of Prague, Karmelitská 385/9 (Church of Our Lady Victorious of Discalced Carmelite Order). This image of Christ, known also as the Holy Infant of Prague, is among the most widespread religious images in the world. The statue was brought from Spain in the 16th century and given to the Carmelites in 1628. It is 47 cm high and represents Jesus as a Child and King. The statue is carved out of wood and the surface is modeled in coloured wax. The entrance to the church is free of charge. 
  • Petrin Hill. Due to a housing crunch, most young Czechs don't move out of their parents' house until they marry (sometimes long after!) This lack of privacy leads to some very public displays of affection - what you see on the metro or trams won't compare to what you’re likely to encounter on Petrin Hill. This hillside slopes down from the Castle and Strahov Monastery to Mala Strana and Malostranske namesti metro station. It affords an amazing view of the city on a clear day, and in springtime the trees are all in bloom. This is possibly the nicest place to kick back with a bottle of wine and your significant other to watch the sun set over the city. Petrin has a miniature Eiffel Tower that offers a nice view over Prague and its suburbs.
    • Petřínská rozhledna. A smaller version of the Eiffel Tower on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking Prague. Climbing the tower costs 105 Kč for a standard ticket or 55 Kč for discounts. Paid lift available. 
  • Loreta. A beautiful Baroque convent in the Lesser Town. 
  • Franz Kafka Museum, Cihelná 2b,  +420 257 535507. Influences, life and works of the German language writer. 
  • The Pedagogical Comenius Museum, Valdštejnská 20, Praha 1. A museum documenting the writings of the Czech Renaissance erudite. 
  • Lobkowicz Palace, Jiřská 3. 10:00-18:00. Art museum near Prague Castle. Houses the original manuscript for Beethoven's famous 5th symphony, and many other interesting artifacts. 275 crowns. 
  • Museum Kampa. A museum of modern Central European art. 

Sleep

Inside the range of 4 km:

Useful

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Rights characteristic / license

by-sa: CREATIVE COMMONS Attribution-ShareAlike

Link to the description of the license

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Input taken over from:

Wikivoyage contributors, 'Prague/Castle and Lesser Town', Wikivoyage, The FREE worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit, 11 September 2016, 14:25 UTC, <https://en.wikivoyage.org/w/index.php?title=Prague/Castle_and_Lesser_Town&oldid=3048887> [accessed 13 October 2016]

taken over / edited on

13 Oct 2016

taken over / edited by

biroto-Redaktion