The one sight we thought we would miss, due to a too short stay in Prague was the Prague Castle. But we were up early on a perfect Monday the 5th and took a nice walk across one of the bridges and up the hill. We thought that yesterday’s crowds may have just been a week-end thing, but there were as many people out and about on a Monday morning.
Prague Castle is not a castle in the traditional sense, but a massive complex on top of a hill overlooking the old city. The complex included a village area, Parliament, the resident’s residence and was anchored by a massive Cathedral.
St. Vitus Cathedral was largely built between the 1300’s and the 1500’s and has the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. An earlier church on the site was constructed by Good King Wenceslas, and there are relics of now St. Wenceslas in a special chapel dedicated to him.
We toured the old Royal Palace, which limits visitors mainly to a large reception hall and a smaller but more grandiose hall used by the Diet, the royalty and other nobles who were in command of government affairs.
We walked the inside of the old fortress walls, where they exhibit
torture apparatus, weapons, knives, guns, and lots of knight’s armor. There is also an old village there, containing some new, but small, shops as well as living and working areas furnished as it would have been in the 1500’s. There is even an old and very small movie theater, with reels of film and a projector from the early 20th century.
Don’t miss the dungeon, to provide a little clearer glimpse into 16th century prison life, where the really bad guys were dropped in a hole and the noble crooks were given more comfortable accommodations.
Again, this is a complex. It’s where the Czech President lives (and apparently drinks) and the government operates. There are numerous guard stations, that get lots of tourist attention, but the guards are not as fancy as those in London or Copenhagen.
Hitler reportedly slept there, and the place was used in one of the Indiana Jones movies as well as Mission Impossible, Bourne Identity and numerous other films.
The complex includes manicured gardens, parks and even the St. Wenceslas winery, with a hillside of pinot noir and riesling grapes. It’s an easy hike up winding streets or meandering stairs from the Old Town.