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Prague - The Bohemian Capital

Updated: May 28, 2023

Learn about Prague, Capital City of the Czech Republic, and my most favourite place to visit (at least so far!).


Prague History and the Castle District (Hradčany)


Prague is found in what was once known as Czechosolvakia, the a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.


Old Town Square with horse drawn carriage
Old Town Square

Prague, or Praha to the locals, is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 13th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated on the Vltava (vul-tav-ah) river, Prague is home to about 1.3 million people. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, with relatively warm summers and chilly winters. Prague is approximately at the same latitude as Frankfurt, Germany, Paris, France, and Vancouver, Canada.


What's in a Name? Prague is Known by Many Names


Prague is known as ‘The magic city’, ‘the city with 100 bell towers’, ‘the golden city’, and 'the city of a hundred spires'. Prague is all of those and more!


Prague is home to a number of well-known cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The city has more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas and other historical exhibits. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city.


Prague is ranked in the top 10 of many lists of best destinations.


Old Town Buildings
Old Town Buildings

Prague is divided into 5 Historical Quarters, which were once 5 separate towns, each with their own town squares, defensive walls and distinctive qualities.


Castle (Hradčany), Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana), Old Town (Stare Mesto), New Town (Nove Mesto) and Jewish Quarter (Josefov).


This blog post will focus on the Castle District. Future posts will cover the other districts of Prague. Links to the other posts are at the end of this post!


Prague Castle - Hradčany


View of Prague Castle (Hradčany) from the Charles Bridge (Daytime View)
View of Prague Castle (Hradčany) from the Charles Bridge (Daytime View)

Prague Castle is one of the biggest in the world. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a composition of historic palaces and church buildings and extensive gardens that take visitors on an architectural journey from its Romanesque-style original construction.


View of Prague Castle (Hradčany) from the Charles Bridge (Nighttime View)
View of Prague Castle (Hradčany) from the Charles Bridge (Nighttime View)

The construction of what came to be known as Prague Castle began near the end of the 9th century, expanding a fortified settlement that had existed on the site since the year 800.


287 steps lead up to the Castle…
287 steps lead up to the Castle

Prague Castle is the official office 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.


Castle entrance at Hradčany Square
Castle entrance at Hradčany Square

Changing of the Guard - Not Just in London!


The changing of the guard is at noon each day in the main courtyard. Our third visit to Prague was the first time we actually saw this event.


Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle
Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square metres, at about 570 metres in length and an average of about 130 metres wide.


Architecture and Monuments at the Prague Castle
Architecture and Monuments at the Prague Castle

The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually.


Architecture and Monuments at the Prague Castle
Architecture and Monuments at the Prague Castle

St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle


Prague Castle is dominated by the St Vitus Cathedral, the largest church in Prague. Its construction began in 1344 by Charles IV, Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor but wasn't completed until the 20th century.


View of the Front Top of St. Vitus Cathedral showing all the Architectural Gothic Design
View of the Front Top of St. Vitus Cathedral showing all the Architectural Gothic Design

This cathedral is a prominent example of Gothic architecture and is the largest and most important church in the country.


Back View of the St. Vitus Cathedral During the Christmas Market
Back View of the St. Vitus Cathedral During the Christmas Market

The Cathedral of St. Vitus had a tremendous influence on the development of Late Gothic style characteristic for Central Europe. A variety of gargoyles can be found on the exterior of the Cathedral.



Visitors can climb the Great South Tower: this 100m-tall tower offers stunning vistas of Prague, well worth the 280-odd steps.


Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral
Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral

The main doors are a popular place for wedding photos.


Main Doors of St. Vitus Cathedral is a Wonderful Backdrop for Wedding Photos
Main Doors of St. Vitus Cathedral is a Wonderful Backdrop for Wedding Photos

Prague Castle Gardens


The beautiful Renaissance garden built in 1534, showcased rare botanical flowers and exotic plants from other countries. The gardens were meant to entertain the royal family and other nobility.


Prague Castle Gardens
Prague Castle Gardens

Structures were soon added in the 1560’s, and included the Summer Palace. Today, it is a peaceful area to stroll and take in the beauty.


Summer Palace of Prague Castle
Summer Palace of Prague Castle

Prague Castle Wine Festival


In the fall, the Royal Gardens hosts the Prague Castle Wine Festival which includes food, wine and activities. It was a wonderful experience and we even got to keep our wine glass as souvenir!


These ladies greeted us when we arrived in the Gardens
These ladies greeted us when we arrived in the Gardens

There were stalls throughout the garden selling food and gifts, and lots of singing inside and out!


Prague Castle Wine Festival  - Singing
Prague Castle Wine Festival - Singing

Golden Lane at Prague Castle


Golden Lane is a picturesque street filled of small, I mean very small, colourful houses built in the 16th century mainly for the castle guards. These have now been transformed into shops.


Golden Lane at the Prague Castle
Golden Lane at the Prague Castle

View of Lesser Quarter, or Malá Strana from the Castle
View of Lesser Quarter, or Malá Strana from the Castle

Read more about Prague:




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