The Castle

The castle (hrad), with the Cathedral of St Vitus within it, dominates the skyline of Prague. It is probably the most visited part of the city. The area around the castle (named Hradčany) is easy to get to by tram (No. 22), and the walk into the castle entrance is a gentle uphill stroll. The castle itself is also the home of the government, the offices of the President are there, and the entrance to them is in this picture.

The President's Offices

The castle courtyards are really quite beautiful in themselves, and we have visited them a couple of times and found something different to enjoy each time. We haven't even paid the entrance fee yet to go inside some of the old halls - maybe next time.... We found Golden Lane on our last visit, again somewhere on the essential list to see, but try to avoid the peak tourist times! It's a nightmare of tour guides holding up umbrellas or other identifications and a cacophony of multiple languages being spoken at high volume, so the guides can describe the lane to their particular group of tourists. I took some video footage, but it was very difficult!

Golden Laneanother view of Golden Laneyet another view of Golden Lanelooking down Golden Lane

The Lane itself is made up of tiny houses built right against the castle wall (on the inside) where artisans in castle employ used to live. One of the houses has the distinction of being the residence at one time of writer Franz Kafka. The main courts of the castle area are really attractive, too as you can see here.

Castle Courtyard

Just near Golden Lane is this rather pretty church (sorry for including a church!), one of the oldest buildings in the Castle. It's called the St. George Basilica and was founded in about 920. The façade shown here is baroque, and is such a lovely colour. There are two white towers to the church, which are quite outstanding in the panorama of the castle, and the church contains the grave of St. Ludmilla! Now I bet you didn't know that!

St George Basilica - Façade

We'll assume that you made your way to the castle by tram #22, or Metro to Hradčany, and that you plan to walk down the hill to what is termed the Lesser Side of town. You could walk down to the right of the building in the above photo and end up at the castle steps - fine views over the city, and plenty of stalls on the steps trying to take your tourist dollars or whatever, There is also a little toy museum here. The steps will take you to Malostranská Metro station, and the tram stops, and also to the river.

But you might go the other way out of the castle through the Matthias Gate into Hradčany Square. Again you get glorious views over the rooftops of the Lesser Side - the photo on the previous page was taken from there - as was this photo.