Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is the largest ancient castle in the world according to Guinness Book of Records. Its enormous compound area consists of the Royal Palace for the Kings of Bohemia, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica and a Monastery centred around three grand courtyards. Besides its historical importance, Prague Castle also doubles up now as an important political centre where the Czech Republic President’s office is located.
It was a gradual uphill walk from Manesuv Bridge (Mánesův most) towards the Black Tower of Prague Castle.
Soon enough we see St. George’s Basilica (Bazilika Sv. Jiří) with its catchy-coloured reconstructed façade.
St. Vitus Cathedral
Right across St. George’s Basilica is St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta) founded by Charles IV. The spiritual symbol and largest church in the Czech Republic have witnessed many coronations of Czech kings and queens.
It holds some of the country’s most important treasures like the Saint Wenceslas Crown and the Coronation Cross. And here’s where the tomb of Saint John of Nepomuk is kept.
I was overwhelmed upon seeing it up close – St. Vitus Cathedral is indeed an amazing sight! The Golden Gate and the Last Judgement mosaic is a joy to look at.
St Vitus Cathedral interior is equally stunning with high ceiling and beautiful stained glass. But expectedly, it’s so packed with tourists that I gave up and head over to the South Tower for some steps-climbing exercise instead.
The Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral is much more peaceful in comparison. Not sure whether it’s because of the taunting 280+ narrow steps or the additional admission fee. Perhaps it’s the former as the ascent can turn legs into jelly-like LOL.
All the effort is for this rewarding view of Prague.
I have a chat with this pleasant lady working here and she mentioned that she and her colleagues do the climb almost every day!!
Old Royal Palace
The castle visit will not be completed without seeing the Old Royal Palace (Starý královský palác) founded in the 12th century. It was the official residence of Czech Kings for up to 16th century but do not expect the grandeur of Versailles. The interior design and décor of the Old Royal Palace is simpler in comparison, or perhaps way too simple…
One of the highlights would be Vladislav Hall (Vladislavský sál) famed for its Gothic vaulted ceiling.
We then went over to check out Kohl’s Fountain (Kohlova kašna) and around before heading over to The Golden Lane.
Golden Lane of Prague Castle
The small street of Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) used to be homes for those living within the castle compound. People like castle guards, servants and craftsmen especially the goldsmiths, thus the name. I find it rather amazing to be living in those little colourful houses – just look at the size of the door!
Now the picturesque street is mostly occupied by souvenir shops cater to the tourists. There are also houses which are decorated with artsy designs adding some life to their old-world quaintness.
We spent the rest of the day around Charles Bridge and Old Town Square before heading for dinner at Kolkovna. The meal was exceptional as per previous visits and a nice way to conclude our Europe trip.