THE PRAGUE CASTLE

The rocky promontory, which rises above the Vltava, was the natural strategic place suitable for settlement since the prehistoric times and archaeological finds proved the Neolithic settlements. The history of the Prague Castle is linked with the first proven Prince of the Czech dynasty Přemyslovci, Prince Bořivoj. He was baptised in the Great Moravia, which was the first state of the western Slavic, who had the centre of today’s Moravia, it was extending its power into the emerging Bohemia ruled by dynasty Přemyslovci. Bořivoj and his wife, Ludmila, established a Romanesque church devoted to the Virgin Mary in the place of today’s second courtyard, between the years 870-890. It is said that Bořivoj´s son, Spytihněv I., probably launched the construction of the fort. The castle used the natural conditions and from the side of today’s Hradčanské square, it was separated by a trench that was 30 meters deep. Later, the Church of St. George was built in the fort. Prince Václav had a Romanesque Rotunda of St. Vitus built into the castle, after he gained the remains of the saint. Both the secular and the religious buildings were built and the castle grounds slowly expanded.
The Prague Castle obtained its medieval appearance, during the reign of one of the most powerful rulers of Europe - of Přemysl Otakar II. During the reign of the Luxembourg dynasty, the castle had undergone the Gothic reconstructions. The Hussite period brought the decline and the destruction of the castle grounds. Vladislav Jagellon managed to renew the Prague Castle at the end of the 15th century and he established the late Gothic masterpiece that is today's Old Royal Palace.
In 1526, Hapsburgs gained the Czech throne. The castle reached its peak during the reign of Rudolf II., who promoted Prague to the capital city of the Empire. After the battle of Bila hora and during the Thirty Years' War the Prague Castle stagnated a decayed. The western part of the castle was renovated during the reign of Mary Teresa, between the years 1755-1775. The architect, Nicolo Pacassiho, designed the New Royal Palace, which united the heterogeneous look of the buildings in the Baroque-Classical and Viennese style of architecture. The last modifications of the Castle were made after 1914 by the architect, Josef Plečnik. The area of Prague Castle is literally an architectural and cultural treasury.

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