If not its most famous landmark, Prague Castle is certainly the Czech capital’s most eye-catching. Set on a commanding hilltop overlooking the Vltava River, it dominates the city skyline. The castle’s1100 year history is closely linked to the long and fascinating story of the evolution of the Czech Republic. It is also a monument to a thousand years of magnificent European architecture.
The original castle complex was commissioned by the Premyslid King Borivoj. Constructed entirely from timber and fortified with earthen ramparts, it included a palace, three churches and monastery. Its area, according to archeologists, was equal to today’s castle complex.
As it passed down through the centuries and through successive dynasties, Prague Castle was reconstructed, re-modelled or renovated in the style of the time and with stamp of the current ruler. In the 13th century King Wenceslas rebuilt it in the Romanesque style. Charles IV, of the Luxembourg Dynasty, transformed it into a Gothic castle in the 14th century. Under King Vladislav Jagiellon, in the 15th century it was Neo Gothic. In 1541 it was almost razed by fire. The Hapsburgh Emperor Rudolph II, brought it to life again as a Renaissance castle, a centre of Science and scholarship and a showcase for the arts. In the late 18th century, under the Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa, it was re-born as the present Baroque castle.
Since 1918, Prague Castle has been the official residence of the Presidents of the Czech Republic, none of whom have been moved, at least not thus far, to take it through another iteration or to mark it with their stamp.