Hradcany

Prague Castle had the whole city beneath it, especially its closest town – the Lesser Town. While this town always benefited from its privileged proximity to the royal seat, it also tried to attain the greatest possible independence. However, a royal seat required an actual outer ward as well as a ward beneath it.

Prague Castle

In around 1320 the Burgrave of Prague Castle, Berka of Duba, founded a town of serfs in close proximity of the castle. It was situated along the main road from Pohorelec and its centre was in the present Hradcany Square (Hradcanske namesti). In rank it was third out of Prague's three towns and was enclosed by its own fortifications.

Citizens connected with the castle resided here and formed a town of an unusual social make-up: on one side there were the castle personnel, craftsmen and artists, on the other there were the high court officials, the clergy, and the court nobility.

Prague Castle

From the mid-16th century new Renaissance Palaces of the most eminent aristocratic families – Rozmberg, Pernstejn, Lobkowicz – arose around the main square. The 17th and 18th century saw the construction of the following Baroque palaces: Cernin, Thun, Martinic, and the Archbishop's.

Prominent religious orders also took up residence in Hradcany: the Premonstrats (Ordo Praemonstratensis), Capuchins (Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum), Ursulines (Ordo Snctae Ursulae), Barnabites (Barnabitarum), and Carmelites (Carmelitae, Ordo Carmelitanarum). However, the structural vestiges of the everyday life of common townsfolk were not absent, primarily in Pohorelec, and the modest outer ward life in Novy svet.

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