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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.