April 10, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Courtyards And Squares At Prague Castle

The Prague Castle complex contains several courtyards and squares making it quite difficult for visitors to find their way around.


Hradčany Square

The main entrance of the Prague Castle is situated on the Hradcany Square. Nearby, you may notice the bronze statue of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, as well as the significant historical palaces such as the Archbishop Palace, Salm Palace and Sternberg Palace.


First Courtyard

From the Hradcany Square you can easily enter the First Courtyard of Prague Castle. In the foreground of the court d’honneur, there is a grill with the entrance gate decorated with sculptures of Fighting Giants and vases from the workshop of František Ignác Platzer. The gate is  guarded by two castle guards. The back-ground of the court is formed by the tract in which the Matthias Gate is situated. It is considered to be the first example of the Baroque secular architectural style in the Czech Republic.

Second Courtyard

After passing through the Matthias Gate, you enter the Second Courtyard which originated in the second half of the 16th century after the filling-in of two inner Castle ditches. It was closed on the western side by the western tract during the time of Maria Theresa. Running from the southern tract we find the Chapel of the Holy Rood with its semicircular sacristy. The northern side of the courtyard is formed by the tract containing two significant historical halls – the Spanish Hall and Rudolph’s Gallery. The ground-floor interiors of this tract have been converted into the Prague Castle Picture Gallery. After passing through the passage-way of the northern tract you might reach the Powder Bridge. The center of the second courtyard is adorned with the Baroque Kohl’s fountain which was carved by the stonemason Francesco de Torre. The present appearance of the eastern tract dates back to the reign of Maria Theresa – however the core of this tract is formed by the Romanesque fortification wall. Nowadays, it houses the offices of the president of the Czech republic.


Third Courtyard

If you pass through the passage-way of the eastern tract, you might continue to the Third Courtyard which is dominated by the most significant sacred monument in the Czech Republic, St Vitus Cathedral. In the neighbourhood of St Vitus Cathedral, we find the Old Provost’s House. Concealed in its masony there are still reminders of the Romanesque Bishop’s Palace. The present appearance of the Baroque building dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. You can find a tourist information centre situated just opposite the Provost’s House. The 16-metre high monolith which was made of a single piece of Mrákotín granite was errected here by Josip Plečnik, as a memorial to the victims of the First World War. The statue of St George is an outstanding example of Gothic metal-casting dating back to 1373. From the Third Courtyard you might also gain access to the complex of the Old Royal Palace.


St George’s Square

After passing by St Vitus Cathedral you’ll arrive in the square of St. George with the Old Royal Palace on your right hand side with St George’s Basilica and St George‘s Convent in front of you.

Street Of St George

Taking the street of St George (Jiřská) you can get to The Golden Lane, Daliborka Tower and the White Tower. The street is bordered on the right hand side by the Residence of Noblewomen and the Lobkowicz Palace. Before leaving the Prague Castle through its eastern gate, you should not miss out the only reminder of the Romanesque fortification system – the Black Tower.


Our hostel is only 5 minutes walk from the Prague Castle and its courtyards and squares, book from wide selection of our rooms and apartments!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Royal Summer Palace – Belveder

The Royal Summer Palace might sometimes be referred to as Queen Anne’s Summer Palace. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture found North of the Alps. It was built here by order of the Emperor, Ferdinand I. whose intention it was to devote it to his wife as a gift of love. Unfortunately, Queen Ann died before the completion of the palace. The construction works were started on the eastern edge of the Royal Garden in 1538 by the architect and stonemason Paolo della Stella. After his death, the construction of the upper floor was continued by the architect Bonifaz Wohlmut during the years 1556-1564.



The palace is surrounded by an arcaded gallery with rich ornamental and figural relief decoration. It was concieved as an intimate social area with a ballroom on its upper floor. Apart from its architectural and sculptural decoration, it is especially remarkable for its unique Renaissance roof which is in the form of an inverted ship’s hull covered with copper plating. The Royal Summer Palace and enhanced gardens were intended to serve as venues for the entertainment of the court, as well as a pleasurable visit. The Italian source of inspiration is illustrated by the way in which the adjoining part of the garden are laid out as a giardinetto with a regular composition of flower beds.

History Of The Royal Summer Palace

The palace was severely damaged during the Thirty Years War especiallyso during the wars during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa. During the years 1779-1838 it served as an artillery laboratory which had detrimental effect on the structure of the building. Between 1841 and 1855 the interior of the palace was modified by Pietro Nobile and Bernard Grueber. In the course of the 20th century, the Royal Summer Palace was further reconstructed several times and modified for exhibition purposes.


Singing Fountain

The bronze Singing Fountain was founded based on a model by Francesco Terzio and by the court founder, bell-founder and gunsmith Tomas Jaros of Brno in the years 1564-1568. It was named the Singing Fountain because of the sound made by drops of water falling on the bell-metal of the bowls. Legend has it that whoever stands by the Singing Fountain and hears wedding bells will be married within a year.


If you want to sleep near by the Royal Summer Palace, book from wide selection of our rooms and apartments!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Deer Moat

The Deer Moat or Jelenni prikop used to form part of the Prague Castle northern fortification system. It served as a natural wall affording protection against any attacks from the North. However, the invention of artillery fire reduced the need of this strategic advantage. It was the main reason for Vladislav II Jagiello ordering the building of strong fortifications on the southern slope of the moat with powerful artillery posts. The moat was created by the Brusnice stream which was drained into underground pipes in 1899. Archaeologists found out in the 19th century that traces of a prehistoric settlement had been concealed inside the moat.

History Of The Deer Moat

When the Royal garden was founded, the Deer Moat was divided into two parts by the Powder bridge or Prasny most, a wooden two-storey structure on five stone pillers. It comnected the royal chambers inside the Castle with the newly established Renaissace garden. During the reign of Maria Theresa, the bridge was replaced with a heaped embankment, strengthened with the planting of trees. During the reign of Rudolf II the moat was fenced and used for hunting deer. This is how the Deer Moat acquired its name. Unfortunately, all the animals were killed by French soldiers during the Prague occupation in 1743. The Deer Moat was also used as a rubbish dump. During the reign of Joseph II it even contained  items from the renowned Rudolf’s collections that were not sold at auction. 100 years ago even bears could have been seen in Deer Moat.

Deer Moat Today

These days you can visit both upper and lower parts of the Deer Moat. Meadows with a network of paths and benches can be found in the upper part. Its lower part has retained its historic character. The Deer Moat is open to the public during the summer season.


Deer Moat Is just 5 minutes walk from our hostel, stay with us!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0


The famous round defence tower called Daliborka terminates the northern fortification zone built in the late 15th century by King Vladislav II Jagiello. This tower was built in 1496 by the famous royal architect Benedikt Reid, and used to be higher than it is today. In 1781 it was severely damaged by a great fire and during the course of the following reconstruction, which was started in 1790, the tower was lowered. Its present appearance dates back to 1965. The Daliborka tower is 20.7 meters high.


The tower was named after its its first prisoner Dalibor of Kozojedy who was imprisoned here as a penalty for offering protection to the rebelling serfs on the neighbouring estate. As you can see the turret also served as a prison. The top of the tower was used for prisoners who were found guilty of minor crimes. This space was divided by wooden walls and, surprisingly, it was heated. The prisoners condemned for more serious crimes used to be imprisoned in the basement. Daliborka tower was used as a prison until the great fire in 1781.


Dalibor Of Kozojedy

Its most famous prisoner was undoubtedly the previously mentioned Dalibor of Kozojedy. In 1496 a great uprising broke out in Litoměřice. The liege people captured a fortress which belonged to their lord, Adam Ploskovsky from Drahonice, and under threat of death forced him to give them their freedom. After this uprising the poor people joined Dalibor of Kozojedy who had protected them. Unfortunately, Dalibor’s kindness was good for the people but not for him. The justice found him guilty of breaking the law, imprisoned him, and later sentenced him to death. The sentence was carried out in front of the Daliborka Tower.


According to the legend, Dalibor learnt to play the violin whilst awaiting death in the dark, inhospitable prison dungeon. The people of Prague, hearing his beautiful music, felt sympathy for him, and as they came to listen to him play, took pity on him, and gave him food and drink. Some legends say that he was so popular that the authorities were afraid of announcing the date of his execution. Either way, one day the violin fell silent. You may have heard of the famous Czech composer, Bedřich Smetana, who was inspired by this story and used it as the theme of one of his most outstanding operas.


Another Meaning Of The Violin

For those who do not believe in legends, there is a “logical”, but rather dark explanation of the reasons, why Dalibor was associated with playing the violin. In the Middle Ages, the word violin also had another meaning – it was an implement of torture. It was called violin because of its shape with holes for the head and arms. Once the ‚procedure‘ started, “music” was produced by the prisoners. Nevertheless, it was hardly harmonious, and certainly miles away from the gentle, soft tomes of a real violin.


Daliborka Tower is just 5 minutes from our hostel, book one of our lovely apartments!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Golden Lane

Would you like to see a street where the houses look more like they were designed for dwarves? Would you like to know what the smallest street in Prague looks like? Then you shouldn’t miss the Golden Lane, or Zlata Ulicka, in the Prague Castle complex.


Small Houses And Their Inhabitants

The Golden Lane is also sometimes referred to as the Goldsmith Lane – after the craftsmen who used to live here. The lane is lined with a row of tiny houses which were built into the arches of the Castle fortification wall between the White Tower and the Daliborka tower. Originally, it was built-up on both sides with the resultant width between the two rows of houses of just one metre. The dwellings were built in accordance with a decree issued by the Emperor Rudolph II in 1597 which stated that the arches in the fortification wall be allotted to the 24 Castle gunners who guarded the dates and the prisons. However, as there were 24 gunners and a distinct lack of space they had to build very small houses for themselves and their families, using was stone, mud, and wood. The emperor also prohibited the building of windows facing the Deer Moat, or the selling or renting of the properties houses to anybody else. In later years, the lane became the refuge of the poor who were unable to gain membership in any of the guilds. The inhabitants of the Golden Lane were mainly gold-beaters, tailors, tapsters and chefs. In accordance with an order issued by one of the Abbesses of the St. George Convent, a part of the lane had to be abolished because the smell, smoke, as well as noise from the tavern disturbing the nearby nunnery.


Famous Inhabitants

The Golden Lane accommodated both rich and poor people alike; artists, clerks, footmen, etc. One of the most famous inhabitants of this street was the writer Franz Kafka who used to work in house no. 22. The Prague prophetess, Madame de Thebes, who was killed by the Gestapo during World War 2, because she predicted the end of the Nazism lived here as well. The house bearing number 12 was used as a significant gathering place of some of our most important writers and poets – such as Jaroslav Seifert, František Halas.


Rudolphian Alchemists

A romantic legend linking the name of the lane with Rudolphian alchemists originated in the 19th century. In fact, alchemists never actualy lived in Golden Lane. But according to the legend they not only tried to make the wisemen boulder or the elixir of youth, but to transform metals into gold.


Mysterious Story

Even though these stories are not based on fact, there is a true story dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. One of the local houses was inhabited by an old man, doctor of philosophy named Uhle, who spent all of his time and money on old books about magic. He conducted secret experiments in his laboratory inside the house. In 1831 people in the Golden Lane heard an enormous explosion from inside his house. When fire fighters entered the house and distinguished fire, they found Uhle dead with a yellow stone in his hand. Subsequent examination revealed the stone to be gold. How this gold had got into the house has never been successfully explained. Maybe he really made his, and many other alchymists’, longtime dream come true!


Golden Lane is only 5 minutes from our hostel, stay with us!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Ceremonial Hall

Jewish Ceremonial Hall of the Burial Society which is the famous mortuary for the Old Jewish Cemetery stands in the Josefov, the Jewish district of Prague. The complex was built in the neighbourhood of the Klausen Synagogue between 1911 and 1912 by architect František Gerstel. It was concieved as a small romantic Romanesque chateau. Today the building houses one of the Prague Jewish Museum exhibitions. This Ceremonial Hall represents one of only a few original buildings from Prague’s old Jewish district. This hall was built in pseudo-Romanesque style and was used for various religious services and ceremonies, as well as a mortuary. On the ground-floor as well as on the upper floors of the Hall there is the permanent exhibition devoted to Jewish Customs and Traditions.


Ceremonial Hall Today

Nowadays this hall houses an exhibition of medicine, death and burial. The great rabbi and philosopher Judah Loew helped to establish the society and it once counted many leading lights of the community among its members. The displays include a few of the oldest tombstones from the famous Old Jewish Cemetery, china and silver used at social banquets, objects used during the ritual cleansing and dressing of the dead as well as series of eighteenth-century paintings depicting plenty of functions of the society.


Ceremonial Hall is near by our hostel, book from wide selection of our rooms!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0


In 1483 king Vladislav II Jagiello moved from the Old Town Royal Court to the safety of Prague Castle. At that time he initiated an extensive reconstruction of Prague Castle including building of a new fortification system.



The beginning of this construction activity was associated with the name of the royal architect Benedict Ried. The rampart on the northern side of the castle was strengthened with a wall from the castle side which included three bastions, or turrets, which are known as Daliborka, White Tower and Powder Tower. The Mihulka tower is 44metres high. The tower was strategically very important later especially after 1522 when the tower gained a new floor. The four-storey turret had several ‘loop-holes’ from which was possible to fire different calibre cannons. The basement featured five ‘loop-holes’ for firing hand guns. It was founded in the late fifteenth century as an artillery bastion. After the fire of 1541, it served as the dwelling and workshop of the gunsmith, the founder and the bell-founder Tomáš Jaroš of Brno.

History Of Mihulka

During the reign of the emperor Rudolph II the tower was used as a laboratory for his alchemists who tried their best to covert lead into gold. One of those famous alchemists was Edward Kelley. During the Thirty Years War, gunpowder was stored in it. Due to the carelessness of the Swedish garrison an explosion in 1649 seriously damaged the tower. Gunpowder was stored in the tower until 1754, after which the tower served as the dwelling of the sacristans of St Vitus Cathedral. At the end of the 1970’s the tower was completely reconstructed. Since 1982 it has been opened to public and used for exhibitions.


Mihulka is only 10 minutes walk from our hostel, stay with us!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Royal Garden

Prague Castle is surrounded by 7 gardens. Undoubtedly, the most famous is the Royal Garden. It was founded in 1534 at the order of Emperor Ferdinand I on the site of the former vineyards lying to the North of the Stag Moat. It used to be a place for the king and his family to relax and play. Apart from decorative shrubs, the garden was planted with exotic species of trees such as lemon and fig. During the Renaissance period, several Renaissance structures were erected in the garden. You should not miss the Royal Summer Residence, the Royal Ball Game Hall or the extraordinary Renaissance and Baroque sculptures and fountains. The Renaissance era brought a new life-style and new ways of spending time. The rulers and the aristocrats wanted to enjoy their free time in a pleasant environment, so the gardens were very carefully arranged. It had to be symmetrical and decorated with numerous fountains or waterworks.


Royal Summer Residence

The leading architect of the gardens was Giovanni Spatia, from Italy. The most famous building in the Garden is the Royal Summer Residence which was built between 1538 – 1563 as a romantic gift from Emperor Ferdinand I to his wife – Queen Anna Jagiello. The construction was started by the architect Paolo della Stella and after his death, continued by Bonifac Wohlmut. It represents an exceptional work because of the progressive attitude of both architects. Neither of them followed the rules of Renaissance architecture and, in a way, they anticipated future development of this artistic style. Apart from the architectural and the sculptural decoration the building is remarkable especially for its unique Renaissance roof. In front of the building you might find the Singing Fountain dating back to 1564.


Exotic Plants

It was popular to grow exotic plants in those times. This lifestyle was brought to Prague by Emperor Ferdinand I. He enjoyed exotic plants, so it was possible to find Mediterranean plants such as orange trees, lemon trees and fig trees planted in the garden. As early as 1554, the Royal Garden in Prague was the first place in the whole of Europe to grow tulips, before becoming more popular in the Netherlands. Tulips originally came from Turkey and were much admired, and so later they spread from Prague to the rest of Europe.

Lion Courtyard

The Royal garden was famous not only for plants but also for the Lion Courtyard. It is considered to be the first private zoological garden in Bohemia. Lions were kept at Prague Castle as heraldic animals by the time of Charles IV, and perhaps even earlier. The houses around the Courtyard were built by Ulrico Aostalli in 1583. Today you can find a restaurant here offering a special view of the St Vitus Cathedral.

Royal Ball Game Hall

The Royal Ball Game Hall was built by Bonifac Wohlmut between 1567 and 1569. The Emperor’s courtiers used it for sporting activities with various competitions and games being organised here.

Emperor Rudolph II

The Royal garden was built by Ferdinand I and particularly by his son and vice-regent Ferdinand of Tyrol, and then his successors – Maxmilian II and Rudolph II. A follower of Maxmilian Emperor Rudolph II founded a pheasantry in the Royal Garden in 1604. He also used the Royal Summer Residence as an astronomical observatory. Two of the Emperor‘s famous astronomers, Tycho de Brahe and Johannes Kepler, worked here.

Thirty Years’ War

The Royal Garden was seriously damaged during the Thirty Years´ War. It had to be reconstructed in the second half of 17th century by Leopold I. in the Baroque style. The Baroque garden was originated by the Zinner family, the court gardeners – great proponents of Baroque art.

Fountains And Statues

There is a beautiful Baroque Hercules fountain dating back to 1670 which represents the work of the sculptor Jan Jiří Bendl. The statue Night by M. B. Braun is a reminder of the Baroque modifications of the garden. There was also a new glasshouse built by K. I. Dienzenhofer.

Last Three Centuries Of The Royal Garden

In the 19th century the garden was gradually converted into an English park which, however, fell into a state of disuse by the late 19th century. During the 20th century, further modifications were not carried out until shortly before the Second World War when the architect Pavel Janák reconstructed the small Renaissance garden in front of the Summer Palace. The Royal Garden had been closed for the public for centuries. However it has been recently renovated at great expense – and made accessible to the public. Nowadays, it is only closed during the winter season.


If you want to sleep few minutes from the Royal Garden, book one of our cosy private double rooms!

April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Old Royal Palace

The Old Royal Palace in the third courtyard served as the seat of Bohemian princes and kings until the 16th century. Up to the time of the Josephian reforms, the central offices of Bohemia were concentrated here. In the 18th and the 19th centuries it was used only occasionally for coronation ceremonial events and assemblies. From 1924 it was subjected to systematic research and reconstruction by the architect Karel Fiala as a building of historical significance. In the 1960s the interiors of the Romanesque and Gothic palace were made accessible to visitors. The New Royal Palace represents the complex of buildings surrounding the first and the second courtyards. The Matthias Gate dating back to 1614 was incorporated into one of those tracts in the course of the Theresian reconstruction during the second half of the 18th century. Through the northern gate of the Second Courtyard, on your left, you can get to the Powder Bridge or Prasny most, and the Royal Garden. You will also find the entrance to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery with its great collection of the artworks collected since the reign of Rudolf II, as well as to  the Imperial Stables.


Prague Castle

Prague Castle was founded in the 9th century by the first historically documented Premyslid – prince Borivoj. Since then it has been changed significantly by a succession of famous rulers – Sobeslav I, Charles IV, Wenceslas IV and Vladislav Jagiello. The intensive building activity in the Romanesque period was associated with the time of the reign of Prince Sobeslav I.


History Of The Old Royal Palace

The Romanesque palace was constructed in the first half of the 12th century. It has been largely preserved in the basement of the present palace. Vladislav Jagello decided to rebuild this complex and invited the architect Benedikt Ried to build the Vladislav Hall in the largest secular premises in the Middle Ages, as well as the new fortification system on the southern side of the Stag Moat. The Habsburgs dynasty did not use the palace except for special occasions such as coronations, assemblies, and for government offices and depositories. During World War 2 the priceless Coronation Jewels of Bohemian kings were deposited in the Old Royal Palace to be protected against air-raids. Today the Old Royal Palace forms an inseparable part of the Prague Castle’s tours.


Vladislav Hall

The Vladislav Hall represented the largest secular hall in Central Europe in the Middle Ages. It was built in the late-Gothic style at the turn of the 15th century and during the 16th century. It is 62 metres long, 16 metres wide and 13 metres high. Coronation banquets, sessions of the Diet of the Estates and even tournaments of knights took place in the Vladislav Hall. During the reign of Rudolph II, the hall was used for social events and markets at which luxurious goods and artistic articles were sold. Knights on horseback were allowed to enter the hall using the Rider’s Staircase. In the 20th century the hall was used for the elections of the presidents of Czechoslovakia, and nowadays it is used for special national or political events.

Ludwig Wing

The most beautiful view of Prague is offered by the observation terrace situated on the southern side of the Vladislav Hall where we find the entrance to the Ludwig Wing.  The Ludwig Wing was built in the transient Gothico-Renaissance style by the architect Benedict Ried in the years 1502-1509. This wing originally was used for residential purposes, but after the fire which occurred here in 1541, offices were set up in it. The interiors on the level of the Vladislav Hall were occupied by the Czech Chancellery, the supreme administrative office of the lands of the Czech crown. It was here where the Thirty Years´ War actually started.


Prague Defenestration

Ludwig Wing was also the place of the second Prague defenestration in 1618. During the defenestration two Catholic Governors and their secretary were thrown out of the eastern window of the Ludwig Wing. They surprisingly survived only thanks to a dung heap, although some Catholics thought that it had to be the angel’s intervention. This event signalled the beginning of the revolt of the Estates and the Thirty Years’ War.


Old Diet

From the Vladislav Hall you could enter the Old Diet where the state assemblies took place. The throne was the seat of the ruler, with the archbishop sat on his right, and behind him the benches of the prelates. The supreme provincial clerks and judges sat along the walls and benches for noblemen and kinghts were siturated at the front. The Royal towns‘ representatives could only stand by the window.


Theresian Wing

The Theresian Wing was built as a walled tract between the Ludwig Wing and the Institute of Gentlewoman. It served as housing the office registers and was also used for residential purposes. Nowadays it is used as an exhibition hall for creative art.


All Saints’ Church

All Saints’ Church, consecrated to All Saints, was built by well known Petr Parléř in the 1370s and commissioned by Jan Očko of Vlašim. After the great fire in 1541 only some peripheral walls remained. It was renovated in the Renaissance style after 1580 and connected with the Vladislav Hall. The church is only open to the public during religious services or concerts. The interior of the chapel can be viewed from the gallery accessible from the Vladislav Hall.

Old Royal Palace is only 10 minutes from our hostel, book  from wide selection of our rooms and apartments!


April 5, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

St George’s Basilica

St. George‘s Basilica and convent form the eastern side of St George’s Square. The church was founded by Prince Vratislav and is the second oldest church in the Prague Castle complex.



In 973 the first convent in Bohemia was founded for Benedictine nuns. Let’s have a look at the long and turbulent history of this beautiful monument. Prince Vratislav of the Přemyslid dynasty founded the Second Church in Prague Castle consecrated to St. George. The church has preserved almost entirely its original Romanesque appearance. Except the Gothic chapel of St. Ludmila and the Baroque chapel of St. John of Nepomuk. After the fire of 1142, at the time of the Abbess Berta, the church was reconstructed in the Romanesque style. After the mid-14th century the church and the convent were rebuilt in the high Gothic style by the architect Petr Parléř. The church facade acquired its distinct red colour during the course of the Baroque modifications between 1671 and 1691. The Baroque Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk was built-on to the southern wall of the basilica between 1718 and 1722 by architect František Maxmilián Kaňka.


History Of The St George Basilica

Members of royalty have been buried in the church. Their tombs were discovered during the archeological excavations in the area in front of the main altar. The convent underwent its last extensive reconstruction in the years 1657-1680. During the reign of Joseph II it was abolished and used as an artillery barracks and as a penitentiary for priests. Between 1962 and 1972 the convent, which stands on the steep northern slope of the Hradčany headland, was secured against landslides and converted into exhibition rooms for the collections of the 19th century Bohemian art of the National Gallery. If you happen to stay nearby for a few days, don’t miss one of the concerts held in the basilica. Its huge and rather empty interior guarantees excellent acoustics, the perfect venue for classical music concerts.


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