Prague Castle silhouette

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Prague castle and the area that surrounds it are called Hradčany. It is one of the most famous landmarks of Prague. It is the largest medieval castle complex in Europe. Castle itself is one of the biggest castles in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records the biggest ancient castle) at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide. Hradčany has been renovated several times after many destructive wars and fires along with different political forces and thus a truly unique architectural complex has been created.

Prague castle has been the seat of kings for ages; nowadays it is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic and it serves as the historical and political centre of both city and state. Moreover, the crown jewels of the Bohemian Kingdom are kept here.

The castle was established in the 9th century. However the palace was erected in the 12th century in Romanesque style, but rebuilt in the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV to Gothic style. It was again reconstructed at the end of the 15th century under the Jagellons and the famous Vladislav Hall was added by the builder Benedikt Rejt. In 1541 there was a big fire and new reconstruction was needed. This time a Spanish Hall was added. Final modifications were made under the Empress Maria Theresa, with Pacassi being the architect. After World War I. the interior and gardens were renewed by Plecnik.

The complex called Hradčany consists of many buildings, including two churches – the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral (Prague’s most recognizable landmark) and St. George’s Basilica with convent. There are several palaces: Old Royal Palace, Belvedere (Royal Summer Palace), Lobkovicz, Rosenberg and New Royal Palace (with Spanish Hall and Rudolph’s Gallery). To other buildings belong Dalibor Tower, Powder Tower – Mihulka, Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička), Supreme Burgrave's House, Ball Game Hall, Riding School, Imperial Stables, Old Provost Residence and New Provost Residence. The Hradčany complex contains also several gardens: Royal Garden, Riding School Terrace Garden, The Garden on the Bastion, South Gardens (consisting of Paradise Garden, Garden on the Ramparts and The Hartig Garden) and finally Deer Moat.
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