Monday, May 18, 2015

Visiting Prague [Part 3/5]: Prague Castle and Gardens

Our exploration of Prague continues in this third part, where we move up hill towards the Prague Castle. The history of the city begins with the Castle which was founded in the 9th Century. The buildings enclosed by the Castle walls include a palace, three churches and a monastery. Then in 1320 a town called Hradcany was founded in the a part of the Castle's outer perimeter. Since 1918 it has been the seat of the president of the Republic.

This is a multi-part travel series. Other parts include:
Part One: Old Town Square
Part Two: Jewish Quarter and the river Vltava
Part Three: Prague Castle and Gardens
Part Four: Charles Bridge and Little Quarter
Part Five: A Night in Prague

click on the images for a bigger view

Getting There

In order to reach the castle you will have to prepare yourselves for a bit of a hike up hill. Of course you can take a cab and be dropped off at the Castle, but then you will lose a lot of the charm that the various streets have to offer, through which you go in order to arrive here. Just follow the signs that begin from the west end of the Charles Bridge, and in about 10 minutes you will arrive at the outer walls of the Castle.

Roaming the Prague Castle

Much of the sights are free to visit, you can freely roam the grounds and explore the many knocks and crannies of the palace. Entrance fees exist for entering some of the churches and for a side street that has some really old houses. The views of Prague from up here are simply stunning. I have so many areal photos that it was hard for me not to include all of them in this post. On top of the hill, you can find a Starbucks that is located inside one of the old structures, and that has a great terrace from which you can also overlook the city.


South Gardens of the Prague Castle

Our journey through Prague Castle started with the South Gardens. It's a collection of various gardens that are linked together. The oldest of them is the Paradise Garden laid out in 1562. They are very well kept and worth the visit alone. Along side them you can also get stunning views of Prague.





Our guide book kept us on track the whole time. There is so much to discover in this part of the city that it really did prove very useful to us.



The weather we had on this day was great. It was a bit warm, but we didn't mind. The sky was pierced with clouds, but you could still see the blue of the sky. Hiding in some shadowy parts of the Gardens gave us some opportunity to catch a breath and take some photos.



Sights and Attractions at the Prague Castle

The Prague Castle is a big complex, and as I said before, come prepared with a map or guide, otherwise you could miss out on some of the sights. Some of the top attractions from here includes the St. Vitus Cathedral (which I will talk about later), Golden Lane that housed the Castle's guards and gunners (here you will have to pay entrance), the already seen South Gardens, but also the Royal Gardens that are located on the north side of the Castle, St. George's Basilica, which is a vaulted chapel decorated with 16th century paintings, and the Sternberg Palace for art lovers, since it houses a huge collection of artwork and paintings.


Inner Courtyard

The inner part of the Castle walls is just as impressive as the beautiful exterior. Inside you will find many picturesque houses and buildings, even though the St. Vitus Cathedral with its high towers (picture below) will greet you first. In the image above you can see a duck swimming in a fountain. Jasmina caught the sight and made the photo. After that a crowd of tourists came to take some photos as well. I don't know why, but it caught our attention. 



Roaming the streets here gives you so many photo opportunities, as well chances to simply stop and take in the beauty. Don't rush yourself here (we did a bit, since lunch time was around the corner). 

The next image shows the Presidential building, housed in the Old Royal Palace. 



St. Vitus Cathedral

Work began on the city's most distinctive landmark in 1344 on the orders of John of Luxembourg. You can enter the Cathedral for an entrance fee, but the outside is just as impressive. The so called Golden Portal is a mosaic of The Last Judgement that is directly located above the entrance gate. I recommend you enlarge the image above to get a better view of the intricacy of the design.


A walk around the St. Vitus Cathedral takes you back through a thousand years of history. Go in through the west portal to see some of the best elements of the modern, Neo-Gothic style and continue past a succession if side chapels to catch glimpses of religious artifacts and works of art from Renaissance paintings to modern statuary. Make also sure to visit the richly decorated, jewel-encrusted St. Wenceslas Chapel before you leave.



On the Way Out

After we finished roaming the inner parts of the Castle we continued out through the east gate. On our way out I snapped the next following images. It was afternoon, and the crowds of other tourists were manageable. 




Eventually we exited the Castle perimeter and got another view of Prague and the Manes Bridge we had crossed in part two. It was time to get lunch and return to our apartment. In the fourth part we will visit one of the most iconic sights from Prague: the Charles Bridge and then move on to the Little Quarter district.





End of Part Three
To be continued...

38 comments:

  1. Great scenic photographs and I love the winsome feel in the picture of the girl looking over the wall.

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    1. Thanks Valerie. Great you enjoyed these. There was actually a LOT of images cut out of this part, since it would have been too much (over 20 images I believe)

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  2. Fascinating and wonderful info.. I had no idea (and my roots lie there).
    Great post, beautiful images!

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    1. Well I'm glad you got a way to explore it through these images then.

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  3. I like the way the copper domes and steeples stand out against the red tile roofs. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  4. Gorgeous series of images, Mersad! I love the cathedral and the views looking over the city. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

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  5. Nice light and beautifull landscapes!

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  6. Wunderschöne Bilder und die Stadt reizt mich sehr zu einem Besuch.
    Liebe Grüße

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    1. Das must Du definitiv machen. Prag ist es wert.

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  7. I usually have a favorite, today I can't pick just one or two.. these are amazing. I love all the photos that look down on roof and that you are above the green dome. the roof tops shots are wonderful...

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    1. I love those views as well. In person they are just stunning, but I hope to have translated some of it to the images.

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  8. Fascinating! I've been looking at travel itineraries!

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  9. So much incredible beauty and history!! St. Vitus is awesome! Like the others, I'm in awe of the view and I can only imagine what they would be to see in person, but your captures are the next best thing to being there!! Thanks, as always, Mersad, for sharing!!! Have a great new week!!

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  10. It is all so beautiful! That cathedral is just gorgeous.

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  11. I echo Laura's comments, Mersad. I especially like the shot of the spires of St. Vitus. I think you are at your best with these.

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    1. Thanks Bill, so glad you like them. I think that the last two parts will be even better, especially the finale.

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  12. Extraordinary tour!!
    Now, I must go catch up on everything beginning with part I

    [I would love to go through the cathedral]

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  13. Thoroughly enjoyed the scenes you captured of your tour. Beautiful architecture.

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  14. the cathedral is impressive. my favorite shot was the sweeping tree branch and the hedgerows overlooking the view.

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  15. Wow, just wow! What an interesting place. I wish the USA had buildings that old. As always, your photos and narration are amazing. What lens did you use for these photos?

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    1. I used the Canon 50mm 1.8. Thanks for your visit.

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  16. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, dear Mersad! Prague is such a fascinating and beautiful place! I am really enjoying this tour!

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  17. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, dear Mersad! Prague is such a fascinating and beautiful place! I am really enjoying this tour!

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  18. Such beauty! I am looking forward to seeing more!

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  19. love the photos! think this place isnow on my bucket list :-)

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    1. It really should be, such a wonderful city, and so many things to discover in the near vicinity.

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  20. You seem to have captured the essence of the places you visited on this trip. These images are really stunning. I was especially struck by the intricate beauty of St. Vitus Cathedral.

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  22. Super photo and description of a visit to Prague. It really beautiful city.

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    1. Thank you. I saw your images from the Czech Republic and loved them!

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  23. Such wonderful photography. Prague looks like a photographer's dream spot!
    Please come link up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/05/textures.html

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  24. Oh la! What an amazing destination Mersad.. just went back to see part one and two, fabulous! You really do visit the most wonderful places. The cathedral in these shots is magnificent with its paintings on the outside walls, merci beaucoup for sharing.

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  25. Oh la! What an amazing destination Mersad.. just went back to see part one and two, fabulous! You really do visit the most wonderful places. The cathedral in these shots is magnificent with its paintings on the outside walls, merci beaucoup for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much for catching up. So glad you enjoyed the parts so far. Part four will be up tomorrow.

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  26. I am so envious as Prague is one of my ever dream places, together with Macchu Pichu, Egypt, Scotland. I visualized that i was there with you on your walks, also taking pictures, unfortunately i didn't have a shot of myself! Thanks for the chronicles, i will be going back for the older chapters.

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  27. I'm thoroughly enjoying this series on Prague, Mersad. Such wonderful (and sometimes tragic) history, beautiful architecture and those lovely blue skies over all. Love the view of the rooftops, all at different angles, like a puzzle.

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  28. It looks like the Castle complex alone would be worth the trip to Prague. That Golden Portal is incredibly beautiful. The gardens and Cathedrals and all the wonderful buildings would warrant a long absorbing visit!

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  29. still love those red roofs' and the cathedral is amazing too.

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