Prague Castle

Stunning yet welcoming, Prague Castle is more than a millennium in age, a survivor of many wars, fires, and invasions; built around 870 A.D. under Prince Borivoj of the Royal Dynasty of Premyslids, the original timber-and-soil version of Prague Castle has been reconstructed a number of times, the most recent being 1920, in styles ranging from Romanesque to Renaissance. Today’s castle is Baroque in design, thanks to Empress Maria Theresa of the 18th century.

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Step into the courtyards of Prague Castle to see the statues of fighting giants atop the gates, Kohl’s fountain, and a single-stone monument to Czechoslovak independence and the victims of WWI. St. Vitus Cathedral is as important as it is holy, being the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, and the burial place of saints and royals; on this Gothic structure, kings were crowned and artists were inspired. Within is the beautifully-decorated St. Wenceslas Chapel, dedicated to the patron saint of Bohemia.

Take a trip through Golden Lane and you might find a hobbit. Done in 16th century Mannerism style, the street served as housing for the marksmen under Rudolf II; too many to fit into the area, the result was smaller houses. The name came from the alchemists who lived here, trying to turn metal into gold.

Terraced gardens decorate the southern part of Prague Castle, including the Royal Garden, which is arguably the loveliest, with its singing fountain, tulips, and cedar trees. A national symbol, Prague Castle is now the official residence of the president; it's a must-visit on your Prague holidays, too.

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