Prague Castle complex is a castle complex in Prague, Czech Republic, built in the 9th century. It is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Guinness Book of World Records considers it the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet), at about 570 metres (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 metres (430 feet) wide.
On the basis of archaeological research and the oldest written sources, it is thought that Prague Castle was founded around the year 880 by Prince Bo?ivoj of the house of Premyslides. The early medieval castle site was fortified with a moat and a rampart of clay and stones. The first walled building was the Church of Virgin Mary. Other churches, dedicated to St. George and St. Vitus, were founded in the first half of the 10th century. Since then, the complex has been expanded and renovated in various periods of time. Construction work was ongoing all the way until 1929 with the completion of the St. Vitus Cathedral under Slovenian architect Jože Ple?nik. He was also responsible for the modernization of many of the palace’s structures. Today, the castle complex is comprised of four palaces, four churches, five halls, four towers, and 11 gardens. It has expansive courtyards, fascinating museums, beautiful fountains, and massive statues.
Due to the fact that constant renovations and additions were made to the complex over the course of almost a millennia, architectural elements and techniques are visible from all eras and styles spanning centuries. For example, the Old Royal Palace was originally built in the 12th century, but was rebuilt several times throughout the years. The resulting structure today is a fascinating mix of architectural styles such as Gothic and Renaissance. The palace is also home to the spectacular Vladislav Hall, built in late Gothic style. Whereas Lobkowicz Palace is a fantastic site with Baroque features. Built in 1550, the palace was renovated under the supervision of Václav Eusebius by the late 1600s in Italianate Style. This influence can be seen in the building’s trompe l’oeil statues of emperors, geometric designs, and other decorative motifs. The oldest church structure, St. George’s Basilica, was built in 920 in Romanesque style. The All Saints’ Church, built some 300 years later by Peter Parler, is an example of Gothic Revival architecture.
Overall, Prague Castle offers visitors and users the chance to experience the height of European architectural excellence in styles ranging from the Gothic to the Neo Classical and Art Nouveau, resulting in a fascinating trip down the history of the region and its people.