Thursday, May 24, 2012

Prague Castle

While we were in Prague, we had a chance to visit another of the top 25 European Castles, Prague Castle.  Unlike most of the other castles, it's not so much a single palace, as it's a complex of palaces, churches, and other buildings.  It's in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 square meters.  Prague Castle was the home of Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors, and more recently contained the offices of the presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.

We made this our destination for the morning of our second day in Prague.  We had bought cards that would get us into most of the attractions in the city for free and Prague Castle was one of them.  It got us into the most important buildings in the complex.

A look back at the stairs that had led us up to the castle.

The view once we reached the top.

As luck would have it, we got to the gates just at the top of the hour, so we were able to witness the changing of the guards.

The biggest attraction at Prague Castle is St. Vitus Cathedral.  It's simply massive and beautiful from every side (more pictures below).

What we saw inside the cathedral.  It's the biggest and most important church in the whole country.  It saw the coronation of many of the Bohemian kings, and contains the tombs of most of the Bohemian kings and some of the Holy Roman Emperors.

Once we were done at St. Vitus Cathedral, we headed to the Old Royal Palace.

Family crests covered the walls and ceilings.

The throne room.

The Czech crown jewels.

Next up was St. George's Basilica.  It's the oldest surviving church within Prague Castle, as it was created in 920.

The final stop was the Golden Lane, where they had glass inside the buildings and you could look and see what they looked like back in the medieval times.

We decided to leave through the opposite gates from where we entered and passed through a large courtyard.

The front gates.

Andy liked that the statues were a little out of ordinary.

You can see St. Vitus Cathedral from well outside the main gates.

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