The Old Royal Palce or Praský hrad Prague Castle (Praský hrad) is said to be the largest emplacement of castles in one area in the entire world. Its three courtyards and magnificent buildings cover over 7 hectares (18 acres), so be prepared to do a lot of walking and photo taking! Originally founded in the late 800's by prince Boøivoj of the Premyslid dynasty, the first building in the castle area was the Church of the Virgin Mary which lies in ruins today. In the 10th century, St. George's Basilica was founded. St. George's Convent, which now houses a gallery followed, and St. Vitus Rotunda, also from the 10th century, was replaced by St. Vitus Basilica in the 11th century and is located where the St. Vitus Cathedral stands today. The Prague Castle area served as the seat of Czech princes and later kings, and the seat of the Prague bishop. It experienced one of its greatest periods during the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378) when it became the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Royal Palace was rebuilt, the fortifications were strengthened, and the construction of St. Vitus Cathedral was initiated, following the style of Gothic French cathedrals of the time.
The expansion continued during the reign of Charles' son, Wenceslas the 4th but the Hussite wars in the mid 1400's and the subsequent decades during which the Castle was abandoned lead to its deterioration. After 1989, many areas of the Castle were made accessible to the public for the first time in history, including the Royal Garden, Ballgame Hall, the south gardens, or the Imperial Stables. Today, the Prague Castle is the seat of the Czech president and the most important National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic. A number of priceless art relics, historical documents, as well as the Czech Crown Jewels are stored there. The castle area is closed on December 24 (Christmas Eve) The following monuments are wheelchair accessible: St. Vitus Cathedral Old Royal Palace - Wladislaw Hall entrance St. George's Basilica Ballgame Hall Imperial Stables Rudolf's Gallery and Spanish Hall Prague Castle Picture Gallery Prague Castle Gardens St. Vitus Cathedral restroom
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