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Prague Castle at Dusk
Lesser Quarter Prague
Prague Castle Gate
Golden Lane in Prague Castle
Valdstejnsky Palace Garden in Autumn
Valdstejn Palace Garden

 

Castles in Prague

There are many castles, palaces, chateaus, and monastaries located in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic (Note: these are only the Castles & Chateaus located within the city of Prague; there are over 100 castles in the Czech Republic):


  • Biskupský Dvůr Castle
  • Chodov Fort
  • Chvaly Chateau
  • Ctěnice Chateau
  • Čakovice Chateau
  • Ďáblice Chateau
  • Děvín Castle
  • Dolní Počernice Chateau
  • Hloubětín Chateau
  • Hlubočepy Chateau
  • Jenerálka Chateau
  • Jinonice Chateau
  • Koloděje Chateau
  • Komořany Chateau
  • Krč Chateau
  • Kuglvajt Castle
  • Kunratice Chateau
  • Letohrádek Hvězda Chateau
  • Letohrádek Kinských Chateau
  • Queen Anne's Summerhouse
  • Libeň Chateau
  • Lochkov Chateau
  • Malešice Chateau
  • Michnův Letohrádek Chateau
  • Místodržitelský Letohrádek Chateau
  • Viceroy's Summerhouse
  • Motol Chateau
  • Nový Hrad Kunratic Castle
  • Petrovice Chateau
  • Portheimka Chateau
  • Práče Chateau
  • Prague Castle
  • Suchdol Chateau
  • Troja Chateau
  • Uhříněves Chateau
  • Veleslavín Chateau
  • Villa Amerika Prague
  • Vinoř Chateau
  • Vyšehrad Castle
  • Záběhlice Chateau

 

See Hundreds of Castles in the Czech Republic

Top 125 Châteaux and Castles in the Czech Republic

 

Prague Castle in Prague1

Prague Castle (Czech: Pražský hrad) is a castle complex in Prague, Czech Republic, dating from the 9th century. It is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 m2 (750,000 ft2), at about 570 meters (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 meters (430 feet) wide. The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually.

The castle buildings represent virtually every architectural style of the last millennium. Prague Castle includes Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, Romanesque Basilica of St. George, a monastery and several palaces, gardens and defense towers. Most of the castle areas are open to tourists. The castle houses several museums, including the National Gallery collection of Bohemian baroque and mannerism art, exhibition dedicated to Czech history, Toy Museum and the picture gallery of Prague Castle, based on the collection of Rudolph II. The Summer Shakespeare Festival regularly takes place in the courtyard of Burgrave Palace.

The neighborhood around Prague Castle is called Hradčany... across the deer moat is Queen Anne's Summerhouse in the Royal Garden of Prague Castle.

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle
Bohemian Crown Jewels

 

Hradčany (Prague Castle District)

Hradčany (common Czech pronunciation: [ˈɦrat͡ʃanɪ] ( listen); German: Hradschin), the Castle District, is the district of the city of Prague, Czech Republic surrounding Prague Castle.

The castle is said to be the biggest castle in the world at about 570 meters (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 meters (430 feet) wide. Its history stretches back to the 9th century. St. Vitus Cathedral is located in the castle area.

Most of the district consists of noble historical palaces. There are many other attractions for visitors: romantic nooks, peaceful places and beautiful lookouts.

Hradčany was an independent borough until 1784, when the 4 independent boroughs that had formerly constituted Prague were proclaimed a single city. The other 3 districts were Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter), Staré Město (Old Town), and Nové Město (New Town).

The history of the castle began in 870 when its first walled building, the Church of the Virgin Mary, was built. The Basilica of Saint George and the Basilica of St. Vitus were founded under the reign of Vratislaus I, Duke of Bohemia and his son St. Wenceslas in the first half of the 10th century.

The first convent in Bohemia was founded in the castle, next to the church of St. George. A Romanesque palace was erected here during the 12th century.

King Ottokar II of Bohemia improved fortifications and rebuilt the royal palace for the purposes of representation and housing. In the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV the royal palace was rebuilt in Gothic style and the castle fortifications were strengthened. In place of rotunda and basilica of St. Vitus began building of a vast Gothic church, that were completed almost six centuries later.

During the Hussite Wars and the following decades, the castle was not inhabited. In 1485, King Ladislaus II Jagello began to rebuild the castle. The massive Vladislav Hall (built by Benedikt Rejt) was added to the Royal Palace. New defense towers were also built on the north side of the castle.

A large fire in 1541 destroyed large parts of the castle. Under the Habsburgs, some new buildings in Renaissance style were added. Ferdinand I built the Belvedere as a summer palace for his wife Anne. Rudolph II used Prague Castle as his main residence. He founded the northern wing of the palace, with the Spanish Hall, where his precious art collections were exhibited.

The Second Prague defenestration in 1618 began the Bohemian Revolt. During the subsequent wars, the Castle was damaged and dilapidated. Many works from the collection of Rudolph II were looted by Swedes in 1648, in the Battle of Prague (1648) which was the final act of the Thirty Years' War.

The last major rebuilding of the castle was carried out by Empress Maria Theresa in the second half of the 18th century. Following his abdication in 1848, and the succession of his nephew, Franz Joseph, to the throne, the former emperor, Ferdinand I, made Prague Castle his home.

In 1918, the castle became the seat of the president of the new Czechoslovak Republic, T.G. Masaryk. The New Royal Palace and the gardens were renovated by Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik. In this period the St. Vitus Cathedral was finished (on September 28, 1929). Renovations continued in 1936 under Plečnik's successor Pavel Janák.

On March 15, 1939, shortly after the Nazi Germany forced Czech President Emil Hacha (who suffered a heart attack during the negotiations) to hand his nation over to the Germans, Adolf Hitler spent a night in the Prague Castle, "proudly surveying his new possession." During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II, Prague Castle became the headquarters of Reinhard Heydrich, the Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. He was said to have placed the Bohemian crown on his head; old legends say an usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year. Less than a year after assuming power, on May 27, 1942, Heydrich was attacked during Operation Anthropoid, by British-trained Slovak and Czech soldiers while on his way to the Castle, and died of his wounds (which became infected) a week later.

After the liberation of Czechoslovakia and the coup in 1948, the Castle housed the offices of the communist Czechoslovak government. After Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the castle became the seat of the Head of State of the new Czech Republic. Similar to what Masaryk did with Plečnik, president Václav Havel commissioned Bořek Šípek to be the architect of post-communism Prague Castle's necessary improvements, in particular of the facelift of the castle's gallery of paintings.

 

Deer Moat around Prague Castle

The deep natural gulch that surrounds the Prague Castle got its name after the deers, that used to be kept there since the 16 th century. It is spanned by a big Powder Bridge from 1770, which connects the Royal Garden on one side with the Prague Castle on the other side.

 

Animals Raised in the Deer Moat

Originally, the purpose of the Deer Moat was to protect the Prague Castle. In the middle ages, there were vineyards on the southern slope of the moat. The deers were raised there from the end of the 16 th century until 1740s and it was also used for hunting. In 1741-42 all the deers were shot by the French army that occupied Prague at the time.

The Emperor Rudolph II. kept lions in the Deer Moat in the 16 th century, as a symbol of the Bohemian Kingdom (a lion is pictured on the Bohemian national emblem).

There used to be a wooden Powder Bridge over the Deer Moat since 1534, then it was replaced by stone dyke in 1770. It probably got its name after the Powder Tower nearby. It divided the gulch to Upper Deer Moat and Lower Deer Moat.

 

Secret shelter of the Communist representatives

During the Communist era, the pavements disappeared from the Deer Moat, because it wasn´t accessible to public. Thanks to that, there are many kinds of animals still preserved there nowadays. A secret subterranean shelter for the representatives of the Communist regime was built deep in the hillside of the Deer Moat at the time.

At the present, the Deer Moat is open to public and various cultural events take place there in the summer.

 

Werewolf in the Deer Moat

There is a legend about a werewolf from the Deer Moat, that goes back to the era of Rudolph II. in the 16 th century. A man called Jan used to take care of the Emperor´s predatory animals and most of all of his two wolves. He was mute, but learned to howl as a wolf and one day he disappeared. Suddenly, a new big wolf was found in the Deer Moat, even the Emperor himself came to see him. The wolf´s behaviour was strange and people were afraid of him, because his eyes resembled Jan's eyes. Nowadays, the legend advises not to walk through the Deer Moat in the night, the werewolf is dangerous for dogs and for people moving quickly.

 

Vyšehrad Castle in Prague2

Local legend holds that Vyšehrad was the location of the first settlement which later became Prague, though thus far this claim remains unsubstantiated.

Vyšehrad (Czech for "upper castle") is a historic fort located in the city of Prague, Czech Republic. It was built, probably in the 10th century, on a hill over the Vltava River. Situated within the castle is the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as the Vyšehrad Cemetery, containing the remains of many famous people from Czech history, among them Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Karel Čapek, and Alphonse Mucha. It also contains one of Prague's oldest surviving buildings, the Rotunda of St. Martin from the 11th century. The oldest buildings in Prague are located within Prague Castle. The Basilica St. Martin, which was built from 900-950, and the Church of the Virgin Mary, which was built in the year 870.

When the Přemyslid dynasty settled on the current site of Prague Castle, the two castles maintained opposing spheres of influence for approximately two centuries. Like this the second seat of the Czech sovereigns was established on a steep rock directly above the right bank of the Vltava river, in the 10th century. The zenith of Vyšehrad was during the second half of the 11th century, when Vratislav transferred his seat from Prague Castle, and the original fort was remodelled as a complex comprising a sovereign's palatial residence, church and seat of the chapter. The period of growth ended around 1140 when Prince Soběslav moved his seat back to Prague Castle.

When Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV began to build the Prague Castle in its current dimensions in the early 14th century, the deteriorating castle Vyšehrad was abandoned as a royal home. Later the whole complex was renewed by Charles IV and new fortifications, with two gates and a royal palace were built, while the palace of Saints Peter and Paul awaited repair. At the beginning of the Hussite Wars, Vyšehrad was conquered and ransacked by the Hussites in 1420 and then again in 1448 by the troops of King George of Poděbrady. The castle was then abandoned and became ruined. It underwent a renovation in the 17th century, when the Habsburg Monarchy took over the Czech lands after the Thirty Years' War and remodelled it in 1654 as a Baroque fortress, turning it into a training center for the Austrian Army, and later incorporated into the Baroque era city walls around Prague.

The present form of Vyšehrad as a fortified residence, with powerful brick ramparts, bastions and the Tábor and Leopold gates, is a result of Baroque remodelling. The Cihelná brána (Brick gate) is an Empire-style structure, dating from 1841. The main part of the Špička Gate, parts of the Romanesque bridge, and the ruined Gothic lookout tower known as Libušina lázeň (Libuše's Bath) are the only fragments that have been preserved from the Middle Ages. The Romanesque rotunda of St. Martin dates from the second half of the 11th century. The 11th century of Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which dominates Vyšehrad, was remodelled in the second half of the 14th century and again in 1885 and 1887 in the Neo-gothic style. Vyšehrad and the area around it became part of the capital city in 1883. The area is one of the cadastral districts of the city.

By the twenty-first century, Vyšehrad has become a public park that is a popular site for recreation and celebrations. For example, it is a popular place for Czechs to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Vysehrad Castle
Vysehrad Castle Bridge

 

Libuše

In 2009, an American-Czech film version of the Libuše and Přemysl story was released under the name The Pagan Queen.

Libuše, Libussa, Libushe or, historically Lubossa, is a legendary ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty and the Czech people as a whole. According to legend, she was the youngest but wisest of three sisters, who became queen after their father died; she married a plowman, Přemysl, with whom she founded the Přemyslid dynasty, and prophesied and founded the city of Prague in the 8th century.

Libuše is said to have been the youngest daughter of the equally mythical Czech ruler Krok. The legend goes that she was the wisest of the three sisters, and while her sister Kazi was a healer and Teta was a magician, she had the gift of seeing the future, and was chosen by her father as his successor, to judge over the people. According to legends she prophesied from her castle at Libušín, though later legends say it was Vyšehrad.

Legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." On the site she ordered to build a castle and a town called Prague.

Although she proved herself as a wise chieftain, the male part of the tribe was displeased that their ruler was a woman and demanded that she marry, but she had fallen in love with a plowman, Přemysl. She therefore related a vision in which she saw a farmer with one broken sandal, plowing a field, or in other versions of the legend, eating from an iron table. She instructed her councilmen to seek out this man by letting a horse loose at a junction; they followed it to the village of Stadice and found Přemysl exactly as she had said (either plowing a field, or using an iron plow as a makeshift table). The two grandees who found Přemysl brought him to the princely palace where Libuše married him, and Přemysl the Ploughman thus became ruler. They went on to have three sons: Radobyl, Lidomir, and Nezamysl who continued the Přemyslid dynasty in the Czech lands.

In another legend, she commanded her councillors to found a city at the place where they found a man making the best of use of his teeth at midday. They set off and at midday found a man sawing a block of wood (using his saw's teeth) when everyone else was eating; when they asked him what he was making he replied "Prah" (which in Czech means "threshold") and so Libuše named the city Prague (Czech: "Praha").

Josef Mathauser - Libuse

 

The Battle of Vyšehrad

The Battle of Vyšehrad was a series of engagements at the start of the Hussite War between Hussite forces and Catholic crusaders sent by Emperor Sigismund. The battle took place at the castle of Vyšehrad from August 16, 1419 to c. November 1, 1420.

Vysehrad Castle Bridge

 

Dolní Počernice Château

Dolní Počernice is an architectural monument located at 1 Národních hrdinů street in Dolní Počernice, near the dike Počernický fishpond and a local English park. It is protected as a cultural monument of Czech Republic. Currently an orphanage is located there. Next to the castle is a small church from the 12th century, which originally was built in Romanesque style.

The castle was built from a medieval fortress, which was first mentioned in 1401. From this year comes the tabular record of the hearing succession of Jan z Cách, owner of the nearby Čelákovice. This record is the first mention of the fortress, but its origin is not known. Until the 1970s, it was presumed that the remains of the fort had not been preserved, but later findings revealed that parts of the castle corresponded to the Gothic tower fortress. On them the southern part of the east wing was built. The possibility of further research is therefore very limited.

By 1527, the fort had already been the property of several owners, having undergone substantial changes. The existing building was expanded to the north into a late Gothic style. It emphasized its character of a residential building. Apparently at that time, the defensive function was taken over by the newly built massive church tower. Later still this Renaissance fortress underwent reconstruction. In 1562, the whole property passed over to the king. The Royal Chamber of Commerce sold it at a reduced prize to Matej Hulka, burgher of Nové Město, named by Ferdinand I to the aristocracy with the attribute z Počernice. The new owner then built the western wing. From this period dates the crest vaults arches on the ground floor, and to this day it is possible to see the evident envelope graffito on the façade.

In 1622, after the Battle of the White Mountain, the castle was confiscated and sold at a reduced price to Jan Kaprovi z Kaprštejn. From 1664 to 1769 it was owned by the Counts of Colloredo-Wallsee from Dolní Počernice. They also gave the castle its present appearance. In 1856 the Hungarian noble family Dercznyi settled here, which owned Počernice until 1923, when it was acquired by the City of Prague.

The predominant Baroque style has been wiped off. The chateau has substantially changed and the garden has been transformed into a freely accessible English park. The chateau today includes both the so-called old mansion that originated around 1780 (the two-wing one-story building is situated close to the church), and the new chateau built in the 19th century, with a junction of the two wings included. The garden remains with the original Baroque architecture: arbor, vases on pedestals, and stairs with a terrace.

 

Ruins of The Bishop's Court Castle
(Biskupský Dvůr)

Remnants of Romanesque Castle. First mentioned in 1249. Built with the Bishop's effort to escape the royal power. The construction followed the Judith Bridge. In 1420 at the Battle of the Lesser Quarter, it was burned and broken. The gate and remnants of the walls are preserved.

A place that has been extinct centuries ago is located between Mostecká and Letenská streets in Lesser Town. Here, in the forefront of Judith's Bridge, a fortified castle was built, based on the Bishop's efforts to escape from the direct influence of the power of the country. Now there is space from most densely built houses. He also had a counterpart - a fortified point around the present-day Maltese church of the Virgin Mary under the chain.

It was destroyed during the Hussite wars, but one of its Gothic towers, which you can find today in the courtyard of the Three Golden Bells, is preserved (Mostecká 16). The tower is newly repaired, the bottom of the tower is reduced to almost the historical medieval level. The great rarity of the tower is preserved coats of arms, decorated portals of passage, and even fragments of medieval drawings.

It was first mentioned in the year 1249, but its construction probably followed the construction of the Judith Bridge, and was probably due to be built in the second half of the 12th century (1158), that is, as well as the johanite commando (on the contrary, today the Church of the Virgin Mary Under the chain) built between 1165 and 1182. It was basically rebuilt and extended to Jan IV. From Dražice, and further construction work continued even after Arnošt of Pardubice and Jan of Jenštejn. During the Battle of The Small Party in 1420 the Biskupský dvůr was burned and largely defaced. It has never been restored again.

 

Ruins of Děvín Castle

Hlavni mesto Praha, Czech Republic (N 50° 02.816 E 014° 24.076)

Děvín Castle used to stand on the Hill of Děvín in Middle Ages, (310 m) above Zlíchov.

The castle Devin is mainly known for the Old Czech stories by Alois Jirasek. According to legend "The Girl's War", Devin should be somewhere across Vysehrad on the opposite riverbank. There was is high hill with first settlements from the Late Stone Age. Later there was the Slavic settlement. Devin Castle was probably built in the first half of the 14th century and probably was built by Jan Volek Štepán from Tetín. Ever since the Hussite wars, however, does not figure in recorded history. At the beginning of the 16th century, its ruins were used as target practice for testing the efficacy of new works in Prague. The ruins of the castle today are not very noticeable, but its traces are evident in the field today. Masonry is now slightly above ground level appears only in one place. The ruins are accessible through the Zlichov's church toward streets Nad Zlichovem and Zvahovem to the top of Ctirad's hill.

 

Queen Anne's Summer Palace (Royal Garden)
"Letohrádek Královny Anny"

A beautiful Renaissance building in the Royal Gardens of the Prague Castle. Ferdinand I commissioned the summer palace, built on the eastern edge of the Royal Gardens between 1538 and 1560, for his wife Anna Jagiellon. Today the Summer Palace provides exhibition space for fine art and applied arts exhibitions.

Behind the Prague Castle walls, Ferdinand I established a royal (imperial) garden, in which he started to build a summer house in 1538 for his wife Anna of Jagiellon, who unfortunately did not live to see the completion of the building, as she died in 1547 after giving birth to her 15th child. Ferdinand I himself did not wait to see the house finished, and he left Prague after the fire in 1541.

Queen Anna’s Summer house (incorrectly called Belvedere) is the purest Renaissance architecture outside the Italian territory. It was built after a project and model of an Italian builder and stonemason Paolo della Stella in a style of Italian Renaissance by the builder Giovanni Spatio, who was succeeded by G. Maria del Pambio. Fire of the castle in 1541 interrupted the construction, which continued in the years 1548 - 1552 under the command of Paolo della Stella. He also carved out the stone reliefs on the gallery arcades. Stella decorated the summer house richly. The building is wreathed in 80cm high ornamental and figurative frieze; 36 pillars of the outside arcades have decorated Tuscan heads, there are 114 reliefs on the walls. They mostly depict scenes from mythology, hunting and wars. Among them, there is the figure of the founder Ferdinand I with the Order of the Golden Fleece on his chest, offering the lady - his wife, Queen Anna - a fig tree blossom. The stonework on the fine-grained sandstone is unbelievably fine.

In 1563, the summer house was completed by Hans Tirole and mainly Bonifác Wohlmut, who added the first floor. Unique copper roof shaped as a turned keel was then decorated by red and white stripes and painted symbols of the Bohemian kingdom. The ground floor with residential areas was surrounded by arcade gallery; there was a dance hall and a gallery on the first floor. The summer house was mostly used by Rudolf II, who established an astronomical observatory on the first floor. Among the guests, there were Tycho de Brahe, Johanes Kepler, and even the emperor himself, who died here after losing the royal title (1612). After his death, the summer house was abandoned and in 1648 it was plundered by the Swedish soldiers. The building was given different names throughout time: Belvedere for its beautiful view, Ferdinandeum after its founder, or Observatorium.

Joseph II gave the summer house to the army, which established an artillery laboratory there. In 1836, governor count Karel Chotek managed to evict the artillery, on the occasion of coronation of Ferdinand V. After that, the architects Bernard Grueber and Petr Nobile renewed the building in 1841 - 55 and modified it into a Picture gallery of the patriotic art lovers. A monumental Classicist staircase was built. In the years 1851 - 65, the cycle of historical scenes from Bohemian history was painted on the 1st floor walls, based upon drafts of the Academy director Kristián Ruben. The paintings were realized by his pupils Antonín Lhota, Josef Matyáš Trenkwald, Karel Svoboda and Emil Laufer. Architect Pavel Janák restored the summer house in the beginning of the 50s, and since then it has been used as an exhibition hall. Another reconstruction took place in 1988 - 1991.

In front of the summer house, there is the well known Singing fountain. The draft was made by the court painter Francesco Terzio. The Renaissance fountain was cast in the years 1564- 1568 by metal founder Tomáš Jaroš (the author of St. Vitus Cathedral’s largest bell - Sigismund). The material selected was bell-metal and bronze; the fountain is placed in the original position in the stone pool, where it was settled in 1573. Water drops falling on the rim of the lower bowl evoke lovely tones when you listen to them. The middle of the fountain depicts a shepherd and a Greek god Pan - protector of forests and streams. The top is furnished with a figure of a little piper (the only copy on an otherwise original fountain).

 

New Castle u Kunratic Castle

Ruins of Nový Hrad (New Castle) in Forest of Kunratice. This was a favorite residence of King Wenceslas IV but the castle was destroyed by Hussites shortly after his death.

The new castle at Kunratic (also called Nový Hrádek or Hrádek, German Wenzelsburg, formerly Wenzelstein) is the ruins of a royal Gothic castle in the Kunratice Forest on a forest ridge surrounded by the Kunratický potok. Located in Prague's Kunratice district. The ruin has been protected since 1958 as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic.

The new castle at Kunratic is a castle with a very short, only nine-year history. He built it for his private purposes, the Czech King Wenceslas IV, not long after whose death the building of Pražany was demolished. In the 19th century, the remains of the New Castle were deliberately damaged, unfortunately, they lost their attractiveness. Even so, it is a first-class tourist destination, given its location on the south-eastern outskirts of Prague, especially for the inhabitants of the capital.

The construction of the castle was ordered by King Václav IV. In 1411, and since 1412 there are records of the king's residence at the castle. In 1419 the king died here, and in 1421 after the conquest and subsequent burning by the Prague Hussite army, the New Castle also disappeared. New Castle (Kunratice) The castle had no long duration, the most important fact of its history was the death of Václav IV. August 16, 1419. He died here for a heart attack and, according to chronicles, he "rocked almost to the ground with roar". In mid-December 1420 the castle was besieged by the Pragues. On January 27, 1421, he was finally captured and devastated. No ruler showed any interest in restoring it. The remnants of the stone walls were later partially dismantled on surrounding buildings. From 1735 until the end of the 18th century, however, it was in the ruins of the chapel of St. Jana Nepomucký. At the end of the 19th century the castle was compared to the ground to the level of the cellars, because the walls were unstable and dangerous for the children who came here to play. There were also quarries on the slate.

In connection with research into the history of the Hussite movement, an archaeological survey of the National Museum was carried out in the 1950s. The result was the relocation of the stone fireplace ledge into the collections of the Lapidarium of the National Museum in Prague (where the missing parts were reconstructed and since 1958 it is exposed in a permanent exhibition). In addition, a collection of archaeological finds from the end of the 14th to the 15th centuries has been collected, especially ceramics and metals, including darts and axes from the period of the conquest of the castle. The history of the conquest of the castle was described by Zoroslava Drobná.

From 1934 through the ruins, the route of the annual cross-country course, Great Kunratická, passes through. The exit from the Kunratice Brook to Hrádek (as it is known among the racers and organizers of the New Castle) is the hardest and the most feared, but for many competitors the most attractive place in the whole race.

 

Villa Amerika

Near Metro C (Red Line) - I. P. Pavlova

Michna's Summerhouse in the New Town, now houses a museum of composer Antonín Dvořák. In Villa Amerika, you will be charmed not only by its late Baroque architecture, but also by nice chamber exhibition of music manuscripts and personal belongings of the famous composer Antonin Dvorak. If you admire Antonin Dvorak´s music, don´t miss chamber operatic concerts of Dvorak´s music held in the nice little concert hall of the museum!

Villa Amerika was built in 1720 as a summer palace for a Prague nobleman Jan Vaclav, Count Michna from Vacinov. A strong structure of the building and its fine decorations reflect the French style of the era, while its small scale, elegance and intimacy already announce future Rococo ideas. The villa is named after the restaurant "Amerika" set up here in 1826. In mid-19th century The City of Prague bought the villa, which served gradually to different purposes, until finally after the WWII the Antonin Dvorak Museum was settled here. Nowadays, this permanent exhibition gives details of Dvorak´s personal life and work, as well as his concert and educational activities. The Museum also houses a unique collection of sheet music manuscripts and correspondence. In a small shop you can buy various souvenirs, printed sheet music and numerous recordings of Dvorak´s compositions.

 

Chodov Fort

Chodovská vodní tvrz or Chodov Fort, is a round building which now serves as a cultural center, and includes a gallery and a small recital room. The Chodov water fort dates back to 1185, when it was owned by the Vyšehrad Chapter. In the 19th century neo-classical arcades were added, and the north tower was demolished.

Chodov (Czech pronunciation: [ˈxodof]) is a suburb of Prague in the Czech Republic. It lies in the south-east of the city, and became part of the Prague municipality in 1968. In terms of the Prague districts defined in 1960, it lay in administrative district 4, and its postal address is still Prague 4. However, since 2001 it has been placed in the administrative district Prague 11; within that, it lies in the Prague 11 municipal district. It has a Metro station, on the C line.

Chodov Fort

 

Český Krumlov Castle

Český Krumlov Castle is a Museum located in the city Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic. It dates back to 1240 when the first castle was built by the Witigonen family, the main branch of the powerful Rosenberg family.

By the 17th century the Rosenbergs had died out, and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II gave the dominion of Krumau to Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg, naming him Duke of Krumau. After the death of Hans Ulrich's son, Johann Anton I von Eggenberg, the castle was administered for the period between 1649 and 1664 by his widow, Anna Maria.

One of her two sons, Johann Christian I von Eggenberg, was responsible for the Baroque renovations and expansions to the castle, including the castle theater now called the Eggenberg Theater. When the male line of the Eggenbergs died out in 1717, the castle and duchy passed into the possession of the Schwarzenbergs. In 1947, the Schwarzenberg property, including Český Krumlov, was transferred to the Czech provincial properties and in 1950 it became the property of the Czechoslovakian State. The entire area was declared a national monument in 1989 and in 1992 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The castle houses the Český Krumlov Baroque Theater, which is situated on the Vth Castle Courtyard. It is one of the world's most completely preserved Baroque theaters with its original theater building, auditorium, orchestra pit, stage, stage technology, machinery, coulisses (stage curtains), librettos, costumes etc.

Cesky Krumlov Castle

 

Kroměříž Castle

The Kroměříž Castle (Czech: Zámek Kroměříž or Arcibiskupský zámek, German: Schloss Kremsier) in Kroměříž, Czech Republic, used to be the principal residence of the bishops and (since 1777) archbishops of Olomouc.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, "the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden". Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal 19th-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.

 

Zbiroh Castle

3 Emperors: Charles IV, Sigismund, and Rudolph II

Zbiroh (Czech pronunciation: [ˈzbɪrox]) is a town in the Pilsen Region of the Czech Republic. It lies some 30 km (19 mi) to the east-northeast from the region capital of Pilsen. Zbiroh is also a Municipality with Commissioned Local Authority within the Rokycany Municipality with Extended Competence.

Zbiroh Coat of ArmsZbiroh is a castle rebuilt into a castle in the town of the same name in Rokycany district in the Pilsen region. Since 1958 it has been protected as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic.

From the vague outlines of its inception, the Romanesque-Gothic castle Zbiroh emerges at the end of the 12th century as the oldest Czech aristocratic residence in Czech. The original part of the castle still dominates the oldest freestanding watchtower on our territory, hidden there is the deepest well in Europe and as a pearl of the castle part is here one of the oldest chapels in the country. Todays form of grandeurs renaissance chateau Zbiroh gains at the very end of the 16th century, in the possession of Emperor Rudolf II. Habsburg.

Today's castle originated from an original fortified castle, which was founded at the beginning of the 13th century. Its founder is Bretislaw of Zbiroh (Brechizlaus de Zbiroh, 1247) of the Sulislavci family. But already in 1230, the report reminds some brothers Chren and Sulislaw of Zbiroh. Later, the owners of the castle were Drslavice (Děpolt z Zbiroh), King Přemysl Otakar II., Rozmberk family, Zikmund king, Kolovrats family, Lobkovice family, or Emperor Rudolf II.

In 1868, the businessman Baron Bethel Heinrich Strousberg bought it and rebuilt the castle between 1869 and 1870 in a neo-renaissance style according to the architect August Orth. In 1879, after Strousberg's bankruptcy, an empty castle was bought by Colloredo-Mansfeld.

From 1943 to 1945 the castle was the seat of the SS Staff. After that the site became the property of the Czechoslovak state and was used by the army. After 1989 the castle was acquired by Zbiroh, which sold it to Gastro Žofin in 2004.

In the eastern wing, Alfons Mucha lived between 1912 and 1928 with his family. Here in the big hall of the chateau he painted the famous picture cycle The Slav Epic, which was exhibited at the castle in Moravský Krumlov in 1962-2011.

The Zbiroh Chateau has a 163-meter deep well, which is the deepest castle well in Europe. The well is turned into a helix in the vertical direction, which is caused by the difficult excavation into the extremely hard rock boulder.

Zbiroh Lion
Zbiroh Castle Tower
Zbiroh Bar
Zbiroh Castle Corridor
Alphonse Mucha's Piano
Alfonse Mucha Slav Epic
Zbiroh Crowned Madonna

 

Czechoslovak Border Fortifications

The Czechoslovak government built a system of border fortifications, as well as some fortified defensive lines inland, from 1935 to 1938 as a defensive countermeasure against the rising threat of Nazi Germany. The objective of the fortifications was to prevent the taking of key areas by an enemy (not only Germany but also Hungary and Poland) by means of a sudden attack before the mobilization of the Czechoslovak army could be completed, and to enable effective defense until allies (Britain and France, and possibly the Soviet Union) could help.

With the rise of Hitler and his demands for unification of German minorities (the Sudeten Germans) and return of other claimed territories (the Sudetenland), the alarmed Czechoslovak leadership began defensive plans. While some basic defensive structures were built early on, it was not until after conferences with French military on their design that a full scale effort began.

A change in the design philosophy was noticeable in the "pillboxes" and larger blockhouses similar to the French Maginot line when the massive construction program began in 1936. The original plan was to have the first stage of construction finished in 1941-42, whilst the full system should have been completed by the early 1950s.

Construction was very rapid, and by the time of the Munich Agreement in September 1938 there were completed in total 264 heavy blockhouses (small forts or elements of strongholds) and 10,014 light pillboxes which means about 20% of the heavy objects and 70% of the light objects. Moreover, many other objects were near completion and would have been functional at least as shelters despite missing certain heavy armaments in some structures.

After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia border regions as a result of the "Sudeten crisis", the Germans used these objects to test and develop new weapons and tactics, plan, and practise the attacks eventually used against the Maginot Line and Belgium's forts (the most notable is Fort Eben-Emael), resulting in astounding success. After the fall of Belgium, France and the low countries, the Germans began to dismantle the "Beneš Wall", blowing up the cupolas, or removing them and the cannon/MG embrasures, some of which were eventually installed in the Atlantic Wall against the Allies.

Later in the war, with the Soviet forces to the east collapsing the German front, the Germans hurriedly repaired what they could of the fortifications, often just bricking up the holes where the cannon/MG embrasures once were, leaving a small hole for a machine gun. The east–west portion of the line that ran from Ostrava to Opava which is a river valley with a steep rise to the south, became the scene of intense fighting. It is unknown how vital those fortifications were to German defense, but after hurried patching of some buildings leaving holes for machine-gun nests they were used against the Soviet advance from about April 17–26, 1945.

During World War II the Germans had removed many armored parts like domes, cupolas and embrasures from the majority of the objects. Some objects became subjects of German penetration shells or explosives testing and are heavily damaged. In the post-war period, many of the remaining armoured parts were scrapped as a result of a loss of their strategic value and general drive for steel.

After the war they were further stripped of useful materials, and then sealed. A couple of the large underground structures continued to be used long after as military hardware storage, and some still are to this day, by the once again independent Czech military.

Today almost all of the remaining light objects are freely accessible. Some of the heavy objects are also accessible, others may be rented or sold to enthusiasts. A certain number were turned into museums and very few into depots. The "Hanička" Artillery Fort was being rebuilt into a modern shelter for the Ministry of Interior between 1979 and 1993, but declared unneeded in 1995. A museum has been created here. Many of the open museums are located between Ostrava and Opava, close to the present Polish border which had been the German border before World War II.

Czech Resistance Forts

 

Park Boheminium Mariánské Lázně

Krakonoš 665, Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic 353 01

In Boheminium Park are the most famous Czech monuments models, with emphasis on regional buildings - castles Plzen, Pilsen castles, towers Karlovy Vary region or border farms. At one point you can see the unique castle Karlštejn, Ještěd lookout tower, colonnade, fairytale castle Cervena Lhota and other miniatures Czech monuments. The best of the modeling can be found in Marienbad in the park Boheminium!

 

Crown of Bohemia
Hradcany Prague Castle District
Hluboka nad Vltavou Chateau
Karlstejn Castle
Konopiste Castle
Czech Stemberk Castle
Castle in Mlada Boleslav
Bitov Castle
Frydlant Castle
Lednice Palace
Hradek u Nechanic Chateau
Kacina Chateau
Orlik Castle
Buchlovice Chateau
Ledec nad Sazavou Chateau
Krivoklat Castle
Radun Chateau
Zvikov Castle
Kokorin Castle
Helfstyn Castle
Rabi Castle
Klenova Castle
Zviretice Castle
Ricany Castle
Drabske Svetnicky Castle
Tolstejn Castle

 

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