With a rich history spanning more than 1,000 years, Prague Castle, located in the heart of Prague, is the largest ancient castle in the world and an integral part of the city’s cultural landscape. Once the seat of Bohemian kings, the Prague Castle complex—which includes St. Vitus Cathedral and the Basilica of St. George—has had various styles added to it throughout the centuries.
Prince Borivoj, the first Christian prince of Bohemia, established the castle around the year 880. The castle’s strategic location allowed the first Bohemian rulers to safeguard their kingdom. During the ninth century, the grounds underwent a significant transformation with the addition of the Church of the Virgin Mary, which would later be rebuilt after a fire in the 11th century. An earlier rotunda named after St. Vitus was built in 925.
During the 14th century, Emperor Charles IV of the Holy Roman Empire transformed the castle into a splendid Gothic residence, adding St. Vitus Cathedral and rebuilding the Old Royal Palace. Under the Habsburg dynasty, the castle became a center of political power and underwent extensive renovations and additions in the Renaissance style best exemplified by Queen Anna’s Summer Palace.
After a major fire in 1534, Prague Castle was reconstructed, with the addition of the Schwarzenberg Palace, built between 1545 and 1567, and the Royal Garden, which was established in 1534. It showcased the grandeur and opulence of the Renaissance style, with sculpture and other features of the Baroque era. The castle’s addition of St. George Basilica in the styles of Romanesque and Gothic give it a unique character and made it a testament to the passage of time.
In 1918, Prague Castle became the seat of the president of the Czech Republic and a symbol of the country’s independence. Since then, the castle has undergone several restorations to preserve its historical significance.
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