The castle has always been the seat of Czech monarchs as well as the official residence of the head of state. Looming above the Vltava's left bank, its serried ranks of spires, towers, and palaces dominate the city center like a fairy-tale fortress. Its history begins in the 9th century when Prince Bořivoj founded a fortified settlement here. It grew haphazardly as rulers made their own additions. Download the Prague Castle Travel Guide and Offline Map and make your way there now.
1. The Crown Jewels
Stowed away in a chamber of St. Vitus Cathedral, the Bohemian Crown Jewels include the St. Wenceslas crown, royal scepter, and coronation cloak. And the Republic isn't taking any chances with their safekeeping. Both the chamber door and iron safe inside have seven locks, the keys to which are held by seven people, including the President, Prime Minister, and Prague Archbishop. The President typically puts them on display every five years. When he does, all seven key holders must head over to the Castle for the unlocking process.
2. Its History
A crucial Holocaust organizer, Reinhard Heydrich held court at Prague Castle starting in 1941. Terrified Czechs nicknamed him The Butcher of Prague. But a group of exiled Czech government officials decided to take action. Two Czech soldiers parachuted back into the country and headed for Prague, where they hopped on bicycles and rode toward the Castle. When they spotted The Butcher in his Mercedez convertible, they made their move, shooting and tossing grenades his way.
3. The Largest Castle in the World
The Prague Castle complex is enormous, with an area totaling of 753,474 square feet. That makes it the largest ancient castle in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The complex extends down to the Lesser Quarter or Mala Strana, where several chateaux and palaces are found. Wallenstein Palace, for one, is home to the Czech Senate and includes 26 houses and six gardens.
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