Prague Castle Prague   Charles Bridge Prague Castle Old Town Square St.Vitus Cathedral Dancing House

Key attraction information

Founded: 870


The main gate of the castle is protected by the two Fighting Giants made by Ignaz Platzer in 1769, and by flesh and blood soldiers of the Castle Guard, dressed in uniforms created in 1990 by Theodor Pistek, a stage and costume designer. The Changing of the Guard takes place every day at noon. You are now in the First, or Honour Courtyard, built by the Empress Maria Theresa. Ahead is the old entrance to the castle, called Mathias’s Gate, built in the baroque style by the Emperor Mathias in 1614. Pass through Mathias’s Gate into the Second Courtyard. If you want to see the St Vitus Treasury – a priceless collection of religious paraphernalia – you will find it in the neo-classical Rood Chapel just in front of you. To get to the Royal Garden, go to the left, behind the fountain, and leave the castle by the gate which leads to the Powder Bridge. Near the castle, in the Royal Garden, is the summer palace called the Belvedere. It was built in the style of the Italian Renaissance by the first Habsburg on the Czech throne, Ferdinand I, for his wife Queen Anne. The architect was Paulo della Stella who worked on the Belvedere from 1538 to 1541 when building was interrupted by a great fire at the castle. The second floor of the Belvedere is the work of the architect Bonifac Wohlmut. In the garden is the Singing Fountain, made of bronze in 1564 by Tomas Jaros. It is said that if you want to hear all the bells of Prague ringing together, listen to the sound of water falling into the bowls of the fountain. In the Royal Garden there is also a real (indoor) tennis court built between 1567 and 1569 by Wohlmut and Aostalis, with sgraffito plaster drawings representing the Sciences, Virtues and Elements. You can leave the Second Courtyard by a smaller gate on the west side, close to the gate you entered by. This will lead you to the entrance of the Spanish Hall, built by Emperor Rudolf II between 1604 and 1606. Concerts are sometimes held here on festive occasions.

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