The defining monument on Prague’s picturesque skyline, Prague Castle today is the seat of the president and an important historical and cultural testament to the country.
There are four ways to approach the castle. By far the best way is to take tram N°22 to the Pohořelec stop, where you start with breathtaking views of Prague from Strahov Monastery; then walk down through the beautiful Hradčanská district along Loretánská towards the main castle entrance on Hradčanské náměstí. You can skip the Hradčanská walk by getting off the tram earlier, at the Pražský hrad stop, from where you enter the second courtyard. Alternatively, walk up Nerudova and the steep hill from Malostranské náměstí. The worst approach is up the Staré zámecké schody steps near Malostranská metro station; these are best kept for the way down.
The CastleIts current status dates way back and the complex in some form has experienced nearly all events of importance throughout the centuries. Research dates the founding to around the year 880 by Prince Bořivoj. This medieval structure was more of a fort with a moat and clay and stone ramparts. The Church of Virgin Mary was the first house of worship here with churches dedicated to St. George and St. Vitus coming along in the first half of the 10th century.
Already in the 10th century, Prague Castle was the representative governing site. Here you had the seat of the head of state, princes and later kings as well as the Prague bishop. The first convent in Bohemia was also founded on the grounds of Prague Castle, built for an order of Benedictine nuns next to St. George’s.
The towering St. Vitus is really what you are viewing when you gaze at Prague Castle from down below. Built on the site of the original rotunda, it was the main castle church beginning in the 11th century. Relics of Bohemia’s patron saints were kept here including St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert.
As with most of the rest of Prague, the Castle area flourished under King and later Emperor Charles IV in the middle of the 14th century.