Prague Castle - buildings

Prague Castle Gallery

The Prague Castle Gallery presents a valuable collection of paintings by European and Czech artists from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Artists on display include Tizian, Tintoretto, P.P. Rubens, Hans von Aachen, B. Spranger, P. Veronese, L. Cra-nach. H. Holbein, J. Kupecky, and P. Brandl. Open daily from 10.00 to 18.00.

Chapel of the Holy Cross (Kaple svateho krize)

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is now a gift shop and treasure house run by Prague Castle Administration (Sprava Prazskeho hradu). Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00.

St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrala sv. Vita)

Construction of the Cathedral of SS. Vit, Wenceslas, and Adalbert (katedrala sv. Vita, Vaclava a Vojtecha – generally known as St. Vitus Cathedral) took place from 1344 to 1352 under the guidance of Matthias of Arras, then from 1356 to 1399 with Petr Parler as its architect. The first builder oversaw the building of a classic French cathedral; Petr Parler enhanced it with several innovative features.

Part of St. Vitus Cathedral

In 1420 the Hussite Revolution interrupted the building's construction. At this time the wide ambulatory with radiating chapels, the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, the south foyer and the large tower with the annexed ecclesiastical library were complete. Benedikt Ried and Hans Spiess built the late Gothic royal oratory in 1490 – 1493. In 1557 – 1562 Bonifaz Wolmut and Hans Tirol added the Renaissance music gallery and completed work on the immense south tower.

Leopold decided to have work on the building continue in 1673. Attempts to do so, however, were hindered by insufficient resources. In 1859 the Association for the Completion of St. Vitus Cathedral (Jednota pro dostaveni chramu sv. Vita) was established. Under the guidance of Josef Ondrej Kranner and Josef Mocker, the Gothic part of the cathedral was modified. Then from 1873, the cathedral was completed in the Neo-Gothic style according to plans drawn up by Josef Mocker and, later on, Kamil Hilbert. It was opened once again following the completion of reconstruction work in 1929.

Old royal palace (Stary kralovsky palac)

The Old Royal Palace

The old royal palace originated as a complicated integration of separate construction phases. Its evolution begins with the Romanesque Sobeslav Palace. On the Gothic floors, the palace of Charles IV and Wenceslas IV, a permanent exhibition called The Story of Prague Castle,which presents the entire history of the castle, from prehistoric times right up to the present. Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00. Handicap access.

Fountain in front of the royal palace (Kasna pred kralovskym palacem)

The Fountain in front of the royal palace

Georg and Martin of Klausenberg created the bronze statue on the fountain. In 1541 it was damaged by fire and in 1562 Tomas Jaros recast its horse and dragon. The statue was originally located in front of the St. George Basilica. In 1662 Francesco Caratti designed a new fountain with a fishpond right by the castle's south wing.

In order to prevent it from being damaged during the Theresian reconstruction of 1761, Anselmo Lurago and stonecutter Franz M. Lauermann relocated the fountain to the centre of Courtyard III. In 1928, Josip Plecnik had the Baroque fountain placed at the entrance to the old royal palace, replacing it in its former location with a new one of his own design.

St. George Basilica (Bazilika svateho Jiri)

St. George Basilica

Prince Vratislav I founded the St. George Basilica prior to 921. It was consecrated in 925. After a fire in 1142, it went through several Romanesque phases of reconstruction. In the 14th century the church underwent a Gothic restoration. The basilica received a new Baroque facade, designed by either Francesco Caratti or Giovanni Battista Maderna, in the second half of the 17th century.

The Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk on the right corner was built in 1717 – 1722. From 1897 to 1908 the church was reconstructed in the Purist style; its Baroque main fašade was, and remains, preserved while its interior was converted back to its Romanesque appearance.

Lobkowicz Palace

Today Lobkowicz Palace serves as the National Museum. Its permanent exhibition, Monuments of a Nation's Past, presents the complete pictorial histories of Bohemia and Moravia from the 4th century BC to the mid-19th century. The palace is open daily except Mondays from 09:00 to 17:00; ticket sales end at 16:30. The museum has handicap access.

Golden Lane (Zlata ulicka)

Golden Lane

The contrast between the picturesque little homes lining Golden Lane and the monumental Prague Castle highlights one of the fundamental characteristics of the castle as well as the entire city. After 1484, when the Castle's new Gothic internal fortifications were being built, wooden dwellings for the castle's lower servants and guards were soon constructed in twelve lit arcades between the Daliborka and White Towers.

As part of the reconstruction work done to the castle under Rudolf II 24 arches were placed over them, and the archers' walkway became situated here. In 1597 the emperor gave his sharpshooters permission to build their homes here. They stayed on this lane even after 1784, when Josef II discontinued the institution of archers.

In 1864 catastrophic hygienic standards forced the demolition of one side of the street; the side on the outer fortification remained untouched. After World War II the homes were nationalised, repaired by Pavel Janak and Jiri Trnka and used for museum exhibitions. The colours selected by Czech painter, illustrator and animated film director Jiri Trnka have lost none of their vibrancy.

Imperial Stable (Cisarska konirna)

The Imperial Stable is part of the northern tract of the castle. It is a two-storeyed stable that was built for Emperor Rudolf II. Under it there was an art gallery and a glyptotheca (a room devoted to sculptural works) for Rudolph's collection; today these rooms are the Rudolph Gallery and the Spanish Hall. Today, the Imperial Stable is used as an exhibition hall. The Rudolph Gallery and the Spanish Hall are used as concert halls.

For information about programs:

Powder Bridge (Prasny most)

The Powder Bridge was built in 1533 – 1535 as a covered wooden crossing on stone pillars. When the bridge burned down during the 1757 siege of Prague it was replaced by a clay dike, damming the Stag Moat (Jeleni prikop). In 2002, on the initiative of President Vaclav Havel, a pedestrian tunnel, designed by Josef Pleskot, was bored into it. Part of one of the original stone pillars of the Powder Bridge can be seen in the tunnel. Also, the Brusnice Stream flows through it.

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