On the hill above Malá Strana a huge complex called Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is located. The history of the castle dates back to the high antiquity. From a strategic point of view the site for building a castle was very convenient to control the whole valley. A predecessor of the Basilica of St. Vitus was founded there in 1060 and the first stone palace was built in 1135.
For many centuries the castle was the seat of Czech kings and some of the Holy Roman Emperors. Nowadays it serves as the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic.
Prague Castle is the biggest president’s residence in the world and the biggest castle in the world. A Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every hour at the front gates.
When visiting the Prague Castle complex you can take a free walk around the courtyards for, but to enter any of the palaces and museums you need to purchase a ticket.
Frankly speaking, in the Prague Castle complex we just hit the high spots. Maybe it was our mistake and we had to plunge into the atmosphere of the place more.
The Basilica of St. Vitus is the dominant of the Prague Castle complex. Construction of the present day building started in 1344, continued for six centuries and was completed only in 1929.
The cathedral is considered to be one of the symbols of European Gothic architecture. It’s the place where saints and kings of Bohemia are buried. The entry to the back part of the courtyard is free of charge but to enter the front of the cathedral you need to purchase a ticket.
As for me I was very impressed by the stained-glass windows and one of the gates decorated with signs of the zodiac.
While walking around Prague Castle we wanted to visit the Golden Lane. But it turned out that we had to purchase a combined ticket to all the museums of the complex.
Instead of it we visited a very interesting place, the Toy Museum. It bears no relation to Prague Castle except for its location.
The museum is located in a small courtyard in the far corner of the Prague Castle complex. The courtyard is noted for a sculpture of Manneken Pis. Three floors of the museum contain the whole history of toys from ancient Greece to the present. A special focus is on a large exposition of Barbie starting from its creation and ending with most modern exemplars. I highly recommend visiting the museum.
The Toy Museum was the last destination of our walk that day. In the evening a Krizik Singing Fountain performance was waiting for us.