Oldest Castle in Prague

Castle wall overlooking Vltava River
Prague has two castles - one on either side of the Vltava River. The larger of the two has been swamped with tourist since we arrived, so we haven't been there yet. The smaller one Vysehrad is a quiet historic fort which we visited a while ago.

Vysehrad, the older of the two, was originally built in the 10th Century. It was surrounded by a wall on a steep cliff to protect the Czech sovereign. Many years later the government of the country and city of Prague moved across the river to the newer castle.

One of the towers in Vysehrad is the oldest rotunda in Prague. Built in the 11th century, the Rotunda of St. Martin was once used as a gun powder storage area. Today it is used for religious purposes by the Vysehrad ecclesiastical chapter.

Within the walls of the castle is the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. This beautiful church was started in the 11th century, but had additions and was remodelled in the 14th and 19th centuries. The expansive building dominates the Vysehrad fort today. The cemetery that was discussed in last week's post is located adjacent to the basilica.

The artwork of this magnificent structure is stunning. The mosaic above the church door welcomes visitors into the expansive interior remodelled into the Neo-gothic style.

Today Vysehrad castle welcomes visitors into the park-like open spaces where city celebrations are often held throughout the year. The day we were there, pavilions were being assembled in the open spaces for a weekend event.

If you don't like dealing with crowds when you come to Prague, Vysehrad is the better castle to explore while you're here. Enjoy!


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