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Vysehrad Castle: National Cultural Monument of Prague

Vysehrad Castle is one of the most important iconic landmarks of Prague directly connected with the history of both the city and Czech nation. In Czech, Vysehrad Castle stands for the upper castle. When you visit the Vysehrad Castle you will see that it is located over a huge rock block. Castle is also known as the Vysehrad Fortress and it is located about 3 km south of the Prague Castle, on the eastern side of the Vltava river. Vysehrad became a national symbol during the 1800s and the Vysedrad Cemetry also became the final resting place for the most famous Cezch. Vysehrad Castle is a bit far away from a couple of popular spots of Prague like Wenceslas Square, Dancing House, Old Town Square and Jewish Quarter (Josefov) but be sure that it is definitely worth to visit. Especially if you want to discover the glorious history of Prague and Cezch nation. Also, don’t forget to enjoy the stunning views of the Vysedrads.

An old image of the Vysehrad Castle
An old image of the Vysehrad Castle (Source).

Vysehrad Castle: A Royal Fortress

Based on the historical documents, history of the Vysehrad Castle dates back to the 10th century. We started to see the first information about the castle during the reign of Vratislaus II who was the first King of Bohemia in 1085. The bishop of Prague moved to the seat of the archbishop from Prague Castle to Vysehrad because of endless conflict between him and his little brother, Jaromir. During the reign of King Vraislaus II and his successors Vysehrad was a very important place for Prague. A couple of iconic buildings were constructed on the hill like The Romanesque Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and Rotunda of St. Martin. Also, a surrounding wall around the Vyshedrad Castle was built. But from 1140 after the reign of the Vladislaus II, Vysehrad started to lose its importance for the city. Because he moved back the throne to back to the Prague Castle

During the Roman Reign: Charles IV

From the beginning of the 14th century, The Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV started to build the Prague Castle. At the same, the Vysehrad Castle fully abandoned as a royal seat. But in the following years, whole Vysehrad Castle complex completely removed by the Charles IV with new gates, fortifications and royal palace constructions. During the Hussite wars, Vysehrad invaded and ransacked by Hussites in 1420 and Podebrady King George in 1448. After the war, Vysehrad Castle was abandoned and almost fully ruined, stayed in vain until the 17th century. Habsburg Monarchy took over the Czech and the Thirty Years War, they were totally renowned the Vysehrad Castle in the Baroque way on 1654.

National Symbol of Czech

As a result of changing world, the strategic importance of the Vysehrad Castle faded after the second half of the 19th century. But its meaning and importance for the Czech even became stronger and more important.  On this occasion, Václav Štulc and Mikuláš Karlac had enormous effect who were very important writers of Czech history. Because they managed to convert the Vysedrad Castle to a national symbol by stories of Queen Libuse, Czech myths, Women’s War and more. Also, the establishment of a national cemetery on the over a ruined one increase the significance of the site in 1893. Since then, most of the important Cezch figures buried there. Today, Vysehrad Castle is the place where the history, culture and myths of the Czech nation meet where is definitely worth to visit. I try to summarize as short as possible the history of Vyhedrad Castle. I know it’s quite complicated but also interesting. I’m going to give information about the places in the Vysehrad Castle must visit during your time in Prague.

Vysehrad Castle from the Vltava river
Vysehrad Castle from the Vltava river (Source).

Where is Vysehrad Castle?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post-Vysehrad Castle is located a bit south of Prague’s Old Town Center. It is just located in front of the Smíchovské nádraží train and metro station, on the eastern bank of the Vltava river. It is possible to use the Vyšehradský železniční most pedestrian bridge to pass the Vltava river to go to the Vysehrad Castle. Don’t worry it is not too far away to go for you. If you like to walk to discover the cities a great route is waiting for you. Vysehrad Castle is only 3 km away from the Charles Bridge. If you decided to walk you can follow this route. Over the route, you may also see a couple of important places like Clementinum, National Theatre, Jiráskův most, Dancing House and more. For the public transport you can find you options below;

How to Go to The Vysehrad Castle?

Well, my suggestion is to walk. For walking, you can follow the route given above. But if you are thinking to use public transport to go to the Vysehrad you are lucky! Because the castle is located between a couple of major transport line which makes it very easy to go there. Please check below to find detailed information about public transport. Because of its size, it is possible to reach to the Vysehrad from more stops given below but most of the lines follow the same routes around the castle.

  • Smíchovské nádraží metro station: Line B (Yellow, the western bank of Vltava river)
  • Vyšehrad metro station: Line C (Red, the eastern side of the castle)
  • Ostrčilovo náměstí tram station: Lines 2, 3, 6, 7, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22, 24, 92, 93, 95, 98
  • Výtoň ferry station: P5 line

Visiting Vysehrad Castle: Tours and Tickets

There are a couple of places where you can visit besides the Vysehrad Castle. You can visit Burgrave’s Residence, Vysehrad Gallery, Brick Gate, Gothic Cellar, Open-air Theatre and Casemates and Gorlice. However, Vysehrad is a huge open-air park. This is another reason to visit Vysehrad. Because you can walk through the park and enjoy nature, sun and fresh environment. I’m going to give brief information about each place you can visit at Vysehrad Castle in a minute. You can also see all places and helpful information about the Vysehrad on the interactive map below.

The Old Burgrave’s House

At the second half of the 14th century, The Old Burgrave’s House built during the right of Charles IV as a palace. The Old Burgrave’s House is the only palace survived from the Hussite pillaging over the Vysehrad Castle in 1420. The house is reconstruction during the renovation works in the 18th century in Baroque style. However, a more recent renovation hold over The Old Burgrave’s House between 2003 to 2005. As a result of this renovation, a cafe and auditorium with 90 seat capacity added to the palace. Also, there is a park for the children at the house. From time to time, different activities organized here for the kids.

Vysehrad Gallery

The gallery building is a former guard tower from the Charles IV reign. Vysehrad Gallery is located over a rock block was the part of the Libuse’s Bath. You can find permanent and temporary collections at Vysehrad Gallery focusing on both historical and futuristic features.

The Brick Gate of Vysehrad

In 1841, as a part of the construction of a new road between Tabor to Vysehrad, The Brick Gate of Vysehrad built by the Karel Chotek who was the governor of the Prague. There two pedestrian entrance and one for the vehicle at the Brick Gate of Vhsehrad. Today, the gate is using for an information centre and the main entrance to Casemates. Also, you can take a look at the multimedia projection here about the history of the Vysehrad Castle and the region itself. There is no admission fee to visit the Brick Gate of Vysehrad.

The Casemates and Gorlice

In order to move the military troops faster and efficient the complex system of classmates built under the Vysehrad Castle between the 17th and 18th centuries. In total, the length of the castmates is more than 1 km long. Also, the dimensions of the corridors are 1.5 m wide and 2 m high. The largest part of the castmates called Gorlice. Gorlice is like a simple hall but with a bigger dimension, 13 meters high and 300 square meters area. It used as a gathering hall for the soldiers and storage for the food and weapons during the military threats. However, you can see six of the original statues removed from the Charles Bridge on here. A very extensive renovation during the 1990s held on the Casemates and Gorlice to make it accessible by the public. You can find the names of the six original statues from removes from the Charles Bridge below;

  • St. Bernard with Madonna by M. V. Jackl (1709)
  • St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Torentino (J.B.Kohl, 1708)
  • St Adalbert (F.M.Brokoff, 1709)
  • St Anne (M.V. Jäckel, 1707)
  • St Ludmilla with the Young Wenceslas (M.B.Braun, 1720-24)

Gothic Cellar

The Gothic Cellar is one of the four remained building from the Charles IV reign. The cellar was used as a storage depot of the Vysehrad Castle during the 14th century. Also, historians believe that there were another floor, dining hall and a chapel on the Gothic Cellar. They believe these part of the Gothic Cellar demolished during the Hussite invasion. The ruins of the Gothic Cellar was found during the construction of Baroque Castle. You can visit the permanent and temporary exhibition at the Gothic Cellar.

Open-Air Theatre

As a reaction to the suppressed uprising in Prague on the year of 1848, the open-air theatre was built on the north-western part of the Vysehrad Castle. Cultural activities hold on at the Open-Air theatre of the Vysehrad Castle generally between May to September. Open-air Theatre is also accessible with wheelchairs.

Pantheon located at the Vysehrad Cemetery
Pantheon located at the Vysehrad Cemetery (Source).

Opening and Closing Hours of Vysehrad Castle

Vysehrad Castle and the other buildings are open during the year. You can find the opening and closing hours valid for Vysehrad Castle, Old Burgave’s House, Vysehrad Gallery, The Old Brick Gate of Vysehrad, Casemates and Garlic, Gothic Cellar and Open-air Theatre below. The only exception is the Children’s Playground opening and closing hours. Children’s Playground is open between 08.00 to 20.00 between May to September and 08.00 to 19.00 between October to April. The Old Czech Legends Playground is located in the small garden on the mound opposite the Rotunda of St. Martin.

Opening Hours Closing Hours
January-March 09.30 17.00
April-October 09.30 18.00

Vysehrad Castle Tours and Tickets

If you want to visit Vysehrad Castle you can do it by yourself. You need to pay the admission fee for the only the couple of the building inside the Vysehrad. You can buy your tickets directly from the kiosk inside the Vysehrad. It is also possible to join a tour to enjoy the full experience of discovering the Vysehrad. For example if you join the Prague: 2.5-Hour Vyšehrad Castle with Gorlice  Tour, you will have enough live guide tour during the whole visit. Tour tickets also include the metro ticket, St. Peter’s and Paul’s Basilica entrance ticket and Vyšehrad Casemates (Gorlice) entrance ticket. If you are looking more tour to visit the Vysehrad Castle and Prague please check the widgets below.

 

Please share your thought and suggestions on the comment section to help the people who are planning to visit the Vysehrad Castle. Also, feel free to ask your questions. Don’t forget to add the Vysehrad Castle and the other iconic landmarks of Vysehrad to your places to see in Prague list.

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