World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Prague Castle

Prague Castle
Entrance to the area of Prague Castle
General information
Architectural style Baroque and mannerism
Location 119 08 Prague 1,
Czech Republic
Current tenants Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic and First Lady
Construction started 1880 (1880)
Completed 1929 (1929)
Design and construction
Architect Matthias of Arras and Peter Parler
Website
www.hrad.cz

Prague Castle (Czech: Pražský hrad) is a castle complex in Prague, Czech Republic, dating from the 9th century and 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.

It is among the largest castles in the world occupying an area of almost 70,000 m2, at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide. Although the Guinness Book of Records listed Prague Castle as the largest ancient castle in the world up to July 2006, Malbork Castle occupies more than twice the area at 143,591 m2. [1][2]

Contents

  • History 1
    • Post-World War II 1.1
    • Post-Communism and Slovakian independence 1.2
  • Architectural styles of Prague Castle 2
    • Churches 2.1
    • Palaces 2.2
    • Halls 2.3
    • Other buildings 2.4
    • Gardens 2.5
  • In popular culture 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6

History

Prague Castle in 1607
Prague Castle in 1870
Vladislav Hall
Changing of the Guards

The history of the castle stretches back to the year 870 with the construction of its first walled building, the Basilica of St. Vitus were founded under the reign of Vratislav and his son St. Wenceslas in the first half of the 10th century.

The first convent in 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 have been 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 defence 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, in 1929). Renovations continued in 1936 under Plečnik's successor Pavel Janák.

On March 15, 1939, shortly after the Nazi regime strong-armed former 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."[3] 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.[4] Less than a year after assuming power, on May 27, 1942, Heydrich was attacked 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.[5]

Post-World War II

After the liberation of Czechoslovakia, the Castle housed the offices of the communist Czechoslovak government. During the Velvet Revolution, Alexander Dubček, the leader of Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring, appeared on a balcony overlooking Wenceslas Square to hear throngs of protesters below shouting "Dubček to the Castle!" As they pushed for him to take his seat as president of the country at Prague Castle, he embraced the crowd as a symbol of democratic freedom.

Post-Communism and Slovakian independence

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.

Architectural styles of Prague Castle

Conclusion of the cathedral (1344-1349)

The castle buildings represent virtually every architectural style of the last millennium. Prague Castle includes 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.

Churches

Basilica of St George
The Czech Crown Jewels are the fourth oldest in Europe

Palaces

Halls

Other buildings

  • Daliborka (Dalibor Tower)
  • Prašná věž or Mihulka (Powder Tower or Mihulka)
  • Zlatá ulička (Golden Lane)
  • Purkrabství (Supreme Burgrave's House)
  • Míčovna (Ball Game Hall)
  • Jízdárna Pražského hradu (Riding School)
  • Staré proboštství (Old Provost Residence)
  • Mockerovy domy (New Provost Residence)

Gardens

Svatováclavská vinice (St. Wenceslas' Vineyard) on east
  • Královská zahrada (Royal Garden)
  • Zahrada Na terase Jízdárny (Riding School Terrace Garden)
  • Zahrada Na Baště (The Garden on the Bastion)
  • Jižní zahrady (South Gardens)
    • Rajská zahrada (Paradise Garden)
    • Zahrada Na Valech (Garden on the Ramparts)
    • Hartigovská zahrada (The Hartig Garden)
  • Jelení příkop (Deer Moat)

In popular culture

Prague Castle is the location in the second level of Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb video game.

It is also mentioned in the video game Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag as a hidden file found in a hacked computer at Abstergo Entertainment.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Guinness Book of Records entry on Pražský hrad
  2. ^ Malbork Castle (with an area of 143,591 square meters), the largest castle in the world by KML Area Calculator. Touropia, the Travel List Website: "10 Largest Castles in the World." Accessed 6 April 2011.
  3. ^ Klaus Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History (New York: Continuum, 1995), p. 433.
  4. ^ Mirna Solic, The gate open to the Bohemian crown jewels at Radio Prague.
  5. ^ Gerald Reitlinger, The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922-1945 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1989), p. 215.

References

  • Fischer, Klaus. Nazi Germany: A New History. New York: Continuum, 1995.
  • Reitlinger, Gerald. The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922-1945. New York: Da Capo Press, 1989.
  • Virtual visit with map and written commentary (in czech)
  • Tourist information - Official tourist website
  • Prague Castle - Official website
  • History of Prague Castle

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.