Which is the largest castle in the world? The one in Prague of course! You can wander around its courtyards, palaces, museums and garden all day long and whilst doing so, admire the overwhelming beauty of a place which has been the seat of Czech kings, emperors and presidents for a thousand years. The whole castle grounds are dominated by the monumental St. Vitus Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Discover the secret of this symbol of the Czech Republic and a place which makes Prague one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The city square in the centre of Prague is a traditional venue for celebrations, demonstrations, and public gatherings. It was witness to many historic moments. It is also the second-largest square in the entire Czech Republic, and is a gathering place for Prague residents. When you say, "Let's meet at the horse," everyone knows that the meetup place is the equestrian statue of the patron saint of the Czech lands: the statue of St Wenceslas, which reigns over the entire square.
Prague’s oldest bridge was built to replace the Judith Bridge that had been badly damaged by floods in 1342. The Stone, or Prague, Bridge, called Charles Bridge since 1870, was begun in 1357 by Charles IV and was completed in 1402. The bridge is built of sandstone blocks, flanked at each end by fortified towers (Lesser Town Bridge Towers, Old Town Bridge Tower). From 1683 to 1928, 30 statues of saints were carved to decorate the bridge, the most famous of which is the statue of St John of Nepomuk.
The biggest, most important, most beautiful. The Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle is a place of so many superlatives. Above all, it’s the spiritual symbol of the Czech nation and the resting place of Czech history’s greatest rulers. Come and learn the story of this fascinating architectural masterpiece which is among the most important cathedrals in Europe.
Once you are standing in the heart of the cathedral you will feel a real rush of history. Massive pillars support magnificent vaulting, and everything is illuminated by the sun’s rays glinting through the beautifully decorated stained glass windows. The most important part of the cathedral is the exquisite St. Wenceslas Chapel, where the priceless Bohemian coronation jewels are stored behind seven locks. In the cathedral you will also find the tombs of saints, kings, princes and archbishops, the most important of which are the resting places of St. John of Nepomuk and King Charles IV. You can conclude your visit to the cathedral with an ascent of the top of the south tower, where you will be rewarded with an amazing panorama of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
A fascinating mechanical performance which in the Middle Ages was considered one of the wonders of the world. The Prague Astronomical Clock, which for 600 years has been one of the greatest treasures of the city, still amazes people with its procession of Apostles, moving statues and visualization of time like no other instrument in the world.
Where does the true heart of Prague beat? On the Old Town Square of course! It is precisely here that winding lanes of the Old Town run, in order to spill out onto the most beautiful square in Prague. The elegant tower of the Town Hall with the world famous astronomical clock, the proud silhouette of the fairytale Týn Cathedral, the monumental Church of St. Nicholas and countless multicoloured houses of many styles lend this place a unique atmosphere, which will captivate all those who decide to take a look at its charm.
Over the thousand years of its existence, the Old Town Square has been a silent witness to important events in Czech history. History left its mark here in the form of important demonstrations, executions but also weddings, tournaments and political meetings.
Prague’s Jewish Quarter (“Židovské město” in Czech) is one of the most impressive places in the capital of the Czech Republic. Josefov, as the quarter is officially named, is at the same time beautiful and wrathful, due to its complicated history. It used to be the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe, and its Old Jewish Cemetery is the most remarkable of its kind on the continent.
Many cities used to have – or still have – the so called “Jewish quarters”, where the Jewish minority lived. Apart from Prague, we can for example name Jerusalem, Seville, or New York. Those quarters were quite often in the form of ghettos. The Jewish quarter of Prague, since 1992 listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is definitely one of the most significant ones and if you are visiting Prague, you should definitely see it. Not only as a reminder of a tragic part of the world’s history, but also for its undeniable beauty and charm.
This terraced Baroque garden in the Italian style is situated on Petřín hill. Although just a few steps away from Lesser Town Square and Charles Bridge, finding it requires a great deal of attention. Passers-by tend to miss the garden’s entrance, however, if you make the Vrtba Garden your destination and pay attention to the signposts, you will find it. A bit of looking around is certainly worth it . This Baroque beauty is cut off from the hustle and bustle of the nearby tourist destinations by high walls and buildings. Thanks to them you will feel as if you were in a different, grand, ornate and perfect world.
Overlooking the glorious city of Prague is the equally beautiful Petřín Hill, one of the former vineyards of King Charles IV. This is the place to go and relax under a blooming cherry tree during a clear spring day or smell the fragrant beauties in the lovely rose garden on a lazy summer night, and it is also the perfect place to capture the wonder of Prague via your camera. It is a steep walk up Petřín, so if you wish, you can take the cool funicular up to the summer restaurant or all the way to the top of the hill. Petřín Hill also features a miniature Eiffel Tower (built for the for the 1891 Prague Exposition), Petřín Lookout Tower, one of the best observation points in Prague, a mirror maze for children and adults alike, mysterious walking paths that lead to secret gardens, fountains, a traditional Ukrainian wooden church, and even a small waterfall by the adjoining Kinsky garden. A perfect place for a day of relaxing or even a picnic, Petřín Hill is busiest on May 1st, when lovers go and kiss under cherry trees to seal their romance forever.
Just past the gate, we find ourselves next to a set of buildings that make up the Gothic Augustinian Monastery and the Church of St. Jiljí and the Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen. The monastery was founded in 1367 and greatly contributed to the development of education and arts in southern Bohemia.
The tour begins with a giant kaleidoscope. Thanks to the rear projection and countless mirrors, the 70-meter-high imaginary sphere brings a unique spectacle. You will look into the lives of craftsmen, potters, armourers and the legendary rat. You will see the medieval prison with your own eyes, you will peek under the executioner's arm and you will envy the White Lady that she can disappear from these horrible places at any time.
On the contrary, the exposition full of well-being is the part dedicated to the founders of the castle and many other important monuments of Charles IV, who is cheered up by a traditionally dressed clown. Everything is watched indulgently by four of Charles's wives, including Elizabeth of Pomerania, who is said to have been able to break iron with her bare hands. You will discover the secrets of the alchemical court in the part where Rudolf II. oversees astronomer Tycho de Brahe, Yehuda Lowe works on a giant Golem and the legendary Sirael seduces poor men with a look. Then a newer time awaits you. Maria Theresa, Napoleon or Francis Joseph I will appear in front of you. In the final hall, you will meet Masaryk, Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and Mother Tereza.
Karlštejn Castle was founded in 1348 by the Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor as his private residence and a place of safekeeping royal treasures, especially his collections of holy relics and the Imperial Crown Jewels. In 1355 Charles IV stayed here for the first time, overseeing the construction and decoration work, especially in chapels. The construction was completed in 1365 when the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower was consecrated.
Over the centuries the castle has always been in hands of the king or a state institution, never in private hands. Nowadays it is owned by the state.
Very impressive is the preserved original stair-arrangement of individual castle buildings. The lower section with a small courtyard by the Well Tower and the Burgrave´s House continue through the majestic five-storey Imperial Palace and the Marian Tower. At the highest point, the construction of the castle culminates in a monumental, 60-meter-high Great Tower and its massive fortifications.
A unique original 14th-century wall decoration, a set of 129 paintings created by Master Theodoric in the Chapel of the Holy Cross (the largest in the world), the largest portrait gallery of kings of Bohemia in the Czech Republic, a replica of the royal Crown of Bohemia, a unique castle well. The castle is also famous as a set to a comedy play Night at Karlštejn Castle by Czech poet Jaroslav Vrchlický.
The Museum of Nativity Scenes is located on Karlštejn Square. On the ground floor of the building, you can see a quality collection of Czech historical nativity scenes carved from wood, complemented by nativity scenes from period rare materials such as wax, sugar or bread. The attraction for children is several mechanical nativity scenes, which run on their own.
Directly under the roof, the most spectacular building is hidden in the audience - the Karlštejn Royal Nativity Scene. It is the largest puppet nativity scene in the Czech Republic, covering 80 m 2. The several-meter scenery of Karlštejn Castle is equipped with 46 puppets carved from wood and dressed in period suits. Santa Claus brings gifts from the 10 most important Czech monarchs, led by Charles IV, who brings him gifts from Karlštejn Castle.
In the lowest part of the house, there are two floors of Baroque cellars, where a permanent exhibition on the history of viticulture in Karlštejn and the Sklep exhibition hall are installed. The mysterious figure of the White Lady attracts children's attention in the cellars, to whom a somewhat morbid story from the history of Karlštejn Castle relates.
The collection of over 10,000 exhibits (currently the most comprehensive exhibition of clocks in our country) presents clocks from all over the world. The European "watchmaker" powers, which include England, France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria-Hungary, are the most represented. We will also find clocks from China, Japan and America in the sample.
You can see clocks and timing machines of all types and sizes, from pocket or wrist chronometers, through alarm clocks, table and wall clocks to so-called floor clocks and tower machines. You will see the works of important watchmakers and inventors as well as nameless watchmakers. You will get to know simple all-wood mechanisms, but also carillons, various so-called automatic machines and the most precise machines, which we call regulators. You will enjoy painted clocks from a country cottage, decorated from a burgher's household or from aristocratic residences. We will also show you a well-equipped ancient watchmaking workshop with various period machine tools, measuring instruments and work aids that used to be necessary in the production of any type of clock or watch.
What golfer could resist playing a renowned 27-hole golf course with the romantic backdrop of the majestic Karlštejn Castle? A rolling landscape with forests and limestone rocks is the ideal setting for a leisurely game of golf. The Karlštejn Golf Resort is also within easy reach of the capital city of Prague. Test for yourself the accuracy of the course architects’ motto: “An easy bogey but a difficult birdie.” The prestige of the course is underscored by the fact that it was a venue for the European PGA Tour in 1997. Perhaps you won’t break the record of Patrik Sjöland, who finished in just 61 strokes, but you’ll certainly never forget the golf course and scenery here.
Baroque complex Svatá Hora (Holy Hill), the prominent Marian pilgrimage site of Czech Lands with central Basilica of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, is also an outstanding cultural, architectonic and historic monument of the country.
The Cathedral of St Barbara, a jewel of the Late Gothic period and one of the four cathedral-type buildings in Bohemia, was incribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St John the Baptist and the historical centre of Kutná Hora.
Dačický House, located on a sloping square in sight of the Stone Fountain, is a unique exhibit in itself. At its core is a pre-Hussite house, which was generously reconstructed after 1500 for the Utraquist bishop Filip de Villanuova, and was the birthplace of the chronicler Mikuláš Dačický of Heslov in the mid-16th century.
This historical building is, as its name suggests, associated with Josef Kajetán Tyl, an important figure of Czech theatre and the National Revival movement. J. K. Tyl, a native of Kutná Hora, was the first person to publicly formulate the idea to build an independent theatre in Kutná Hora for the then Tyl Amateur Theatre Company, which was based in Kutná Hora and of which Tyl was himself a member.
The oldest spa in Czechia and one of the oldest spas in Europe is located in the valley between the Central Bohemian Mountains and the ridges of the Krušné Mountains. Come visit the “little Paris of Bohemia” with attractively built spa buildings, parks, gardens, fountains, a long pedestrian zone and a Baroque Marian column.
The Baroque Duchcov Chateau is situated in North Bohemia near the spa town of Teplice. It was here where world renowned lover Giacomo Casanova worked as a librarian, wrote his memoirs and later died in 1798.
Pilsner Urquell Brewery, the birthplace of world renowned lager Pilsner Urquell, is the biggest brewery in the Czech Republic. Beer has been brewed in Pilsen nearly since its foundation. Pilsner Urquell Brewery itself was established and built by the combined power of citizens owning the brewing rights in 1842. At the former Burrghers´ Brewery in Pilsen the first batch of bottom fermented lager, which became subsequently famous around the world under the name Pilsner Urquell, was brewed.
The structure that really dominates Pilsen is the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew. Its building started together with foundation of the city and it was completed at the beginning of the 16th century. The cathedral is a national monument as well as housing the argillite statue on the main altar - the famous Pilsen Madonna.
Pilsen's main square of the Republic is dominated by the beautiful Gothic cathedral of St. Bartholomew with the highest church tower in the Czech Republic. You will find many beautiful historic houses, lots of cafes and restaurants. During the year there are dozens of cultural events, festivals and festivals.
Near the Hrádek village, the Hrádek u Nechanic Castle was built between 1839 and 1857 on so-called Lubenský hill. It was built as a prestige summer residence of the county family of Harrach by František Arnošt, the count of Harrach, an important representative of the Jilemnice family line.
In 1895 the Board of Trustees of the Industrial Museum of North Bohemia chose the project of the Viennese architect Friedrich Ohmann for the construction of a new building. The construction took place between 1897-1898 and it was carried out by the Liberec company of Gustav and Ferdinand Miksch based on the realisation plans drawn up by the Berlin studio Griesbach & Dinklage.
The Botanical Gardens in Liberec comprise 9 pavilions that offer carnivorous plants, orchids, camellias, ferns, Australian flora, cacti growing upside down, a pavilion with aquariums and vivariums, and many other rare plants.
The gothic brick building of the Church of the Holy Spirit ranks among the major historic sights of the town. It was established by Queen Eliška Rejčka in 1307. In 1424, Jan Žižka of Trocnov, major military leader of the Hussite movement, was temporarily buried here.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene is located in the very heart of the Karlovy Vary spa area, in the close proximity of the Hot Spring. The church bears the hallmarks of the High Baroque architecture and it is one of the most important Baroque monuments not only in Karlovy Vary, but in the entire Czech Republic.
The Elizabeth Spa, also known as the Spa V can be found in the Smetana Park. Establishment of this important spa house dates back to the year 1906. Its name came from the name of the Empress Elizabeth (Sissi), the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
Castle was built in the first half of the 14th century. In the 1570s Zacharias of Hradec carried out a major reconstruction and ordered two enclosures for deer nearby. From 17th century to beginning of the 20th century it was used as a hunting castle.
In the Middle Ages, knightly games and tournaments took place in the Stallhof (Stall Courtyard), which is part of the big Royal Palace complex. Today, the court between the Johanneum and the "Langer Gang" (Long Arcade) is used for cultural events. The Procession of Princes is located on the outside of the Stallhof, on Schlossplatz Square.
Dresden’s Royal Palace was once the hub of power for the Saxon princes and kings. First mentioned in the 14th century as a castle complex, the four-wing palace structure was developed in the 15th century. After it was destroyed by fire in 1701, the palace was reconstructed under Augustus the Strong. After air attacks during the last few months of the Second World War, the palace – with its approximately 500 halls and rooms – once again burned down to its foundations. Most of the valuable interior furnishings were lost.
In 1985, reconstruction began on the palace to create a museum complex for the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections). The first museum to move into the Royal Palace was the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs); it has been displaying its treasures there since April 2004. The New Green Vault was opened in September 2004. Since September 2006, the Historic Green Vault can once again be admired in its original rooms. Today, the exterior of the Royal Palace is decorated in Neorenaissance style, while the large courtyard of the palace displays Renaissance-style sgraffito paintings. The Hausmann Tower overlooks the whole ensemble, offering a wonderful view of the Old Town.
Starting in 2010, after five years of construction, the English Stairway in the Dresden Royal Palace is once again accessible. The Baroque stairway was reconstructed at a cost of four million euros, following its original historic pattern. In the future, it will serve as the main entrance for the museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen. The Türckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber) was also opened in March 2010, containing countless small treasures that were not open to the public for more than seventy years. The renovation of the Palace is completed since 2013.
Dresden’s Semper Opera House is the most famous opera house in Germany; it houses the Saxon State Orchestra, one of the world’s oldest and best-known orchestras. Built by Gottfried Semper between 1838 and 1841, the Semper Opera House was closed in August 1944 and was destroyed six months later by the Allied air attacks.
Exiting Břežanova Street, we find ourselves on the western side of Masarykovo Square, just across from the castle gate with the Rožmberk coat-of arms. The rectangular shape of this small square comes from its former function as a marketplace, and the burgher houses were gradually built around it. The square is lined on each side with thirteen burgher houses built on extended Gothic sites with typical Renaissance and Baroque gables.
On the right hand are two buildings (no. 106 and 107) that belong to the Zlatá Hvězda Hotel. They are connected with three illusive neo-Baroque gables which give the impression of three adjacent buildings instead of two. House no. 107 has a renovated original arcade and decorated semicircular and cross vaults.
The oldest written reference of the brewery dates back to 1379, which makes it one of the oldest breweries in the world, and it still brews beer today. The beer is brewed in the original traditional method, and natural materials are used for its production.