|Free time in Prague
A castle was built on this site in the 9th century, and a Romanesque palace was erected there in the 12th century. In the 14th century, during the rule of Charles IV, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style. The Royal palace was re-built to the current shape under the Jagellos at the end of the 15th century, and at that time, the builder Benedikt Rejt added the now-famous Vladislav Hall, also in the Gothic style. The castle was enlarged in the 16th century, especially after a big fire in 1541. The Spanish Hall, in a new part of the castle, was added during the reign of Rudolf II, and it took its final form during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa, under the direction of the architect M. Pacassi. After World War I, the interior and gardens of the castle were renovated by architect J. Plecnik. Today, the Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic, and it serves as the historical and political centre of both the city and state.
St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral
The Gothic St. Vitus cathedral is the spiritual symbol of the Czech state. It was founded in the late 9th century by John of Luxembourg and his sons Charles and John Henry. It took nearly six centuries to build. The current cathedral is situated on the site of a 10th-century rotunda. Designed by architects Mathias Arras and Petr Parler, its construction started in 1344. The final stage of construction was completed only in the period between 1873 and 1929. There are underground tombs in the cathedral of Czech kings. Parler also built the St. Wenceslas Chapel which is decorated with frescoes and semi-precious stones. The Czech crown jewels are deposited there, too.
Started in 1357 by Master Otto and completed by Petr Parler, this is the oldest bridge in Prague. Its statues and sculptural groups date mostly from the 18th century. The most well-known are the works of Matthias Braun and Ferdinand Maxmilian Brokoff. The bridge is 515 metres long and 10 metres wide.
The Old Town Hall with the Astronomical Clock (horologe)
The Town Hall was founded in 1338. In 1364, the tower was joined to a chapel and in 1470, the Town Hall was rebuilt in the Gothic style. The clock dates from the beginning of the 15th century; on the hour, a procession of the Twelve Apostles appears the window in the upper part. In the lower part, there are 12 medallions with the signs of the zodiac, created by Josef Manes (1865). The eastern wing of the Town Hall was destroyed on May 8, 1945, and has not been rebuilt yet.
April-October: Mo 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Tue-Su 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
November-March: Mo 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Tue-Su 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Theatre of the Estates
The Theatre of the Estates (Stavovské divadlo) is one of the most beautiful historic theatres in Europe. The building was initiated by the enlightened aristocrat František Antonín, Count Nostic Rieneck, who was led by the desire to enhance the city of his birth and improve the souls of his neighbours. The building took less than two years and the theatre was opened in 1783 with the first performance of Gotfried Ephraim Lessing's civic tragedy "Emilia Galotti". Its original name was Hraběcí Nosticovo divadlo - Count Nostic's Theatre. This project - one of extraordinary importance for the Prague of its day - was in accord with the spirit of the end of the 18th century, when national theatres were being built at the European courts, in capital cities and cultural centres in the spirit of the enlightened idea that a theatre open to the general public was a moral institution demonstrating the nation´s cultural level.