Prague Castle The City's Crowning Glory

With its position high above the River Vitava the Castle crowned by St Vitus's Cathedral draws the eye upward and beckons you to ascend its lofty heights. So with a hearty breakfast to set us up for the day's exploits we set out across the city bound for the historical throne of the Czech lands.

Mostecka in the Mala Strana

Our path took us across the Old Town and Charles Bridge to Mosteck in the Mala Strana. Originally called the 'Lesser Town', the Mala Strana's main square is dominated by the building known as St. Nicholas Church. Crossing the square we began our steep ascent up the steps to the Castle.

Onward and Upwards

Even in March the Castle proved to be a popular tourist destination, with crowds queuing to pass through security in order to access the grounds of the castle. As we stood in the queue, with the sun beating down, we wondered if we should have applied sun cream.

Guard Duty in front of the Castle

Our entrance coincided with the changing of the guard which we were able to view through the arch linking the inner and outer courtyards. From what we could make out there were ordinary soldiers and then guards in ceremonial dress.

Changing of the Guard

St Vitus Cathedral inside the Castle grounds is an impressive building dominating the skyline and the castle itself. Architecturally there is much to admire and particularly the work of the stone masons.

St Vitus Cathedral

The Castle grounds are extensive and next on our list of places to visit was the Vladislav Hall in the Old Royal Palace. The hall is said to be a mastery of Gothic design with elaborate vaulting. Even the Riders' Staircase which permitted mounted knights to make a grand entrance to the hall has a vaulted ceiling. The hall has been used for coronations and jousting tournaments, and since the `First Republic' the country's presidents have been chosen here. Leaving the hall we made away next to St George's Basilica.

Vladislav Hall and inside St George's Basilica

With a blue skies overhead Golden Lane was photogenic. The lane is narrow with the tiny houses built into the castle walls. At one point the houses were occupied by goldsmiths who lived here to avoid paying guild dues in town.

Golden Lane

Now the restored houses in Golden lane feature various aspects of life within the castle grounds over the years. They also provide a shop front for traditional Prague products.

Golden Lane

At the foot of the lane the view over the city was spectacular. From here we could identify so many of the landmarks featured in our guidebook.

Cityscape

Before exiting the castle grounds we stopped by the Black Tower to enjoy a panini lunch washed down by a good cup of coffee.

The Black Tower and Cafe

We exited the castle by an arch that framed the cityscape. Our castle visit had been a most enjoyable experience made all the more pleasurable by the warmth and brightness of the sun.

An Arch frames the city

Our path to the River and its crossing took us down through a vineyard to Malostransk√°.

Vineyard on the slopes of the castle grounds

Many around us were purchasing typical street food including Hot Potato (like a spiral crisp) and a special Prague doughnut - some filled with cram or ice-cream. What really caught our attention was an advert for the Soup of the Day - Wine!

Buy Me!

As we made the way back to our accommodation we found ourselves in Wenceslas Square - as mentioned in the traditional Christmas Carol. Most of the buildings have Art Nouveau facades but many house Stores and Shops that are familiar names in Britain.

Wenceslas Square

With shoe leather well worn we decided it was time to refresh ourselves before heading out for something to eat and to photograph the city by night.

Created By
Alan Millar
Appreciate

Credits:

Photographs copyright to Ursula and Alan Millar

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