Today’s tour will include visits to the Palace of the Czech kings. You will visit not only places where lived some of the most significant giants of our country, but you will have a chance to visit places where the coronation ceremonies and important negotiations took place.
A few words of introduction
The beginning of the existence of the old royal palace is dated to the end of the ninth century. It should be noted that since that time the building had undergone several renovations, which put there the building we know today. Let’s look back to the ninth century, when it was a wooden building with a stone foundation wall. The original wooden building was converted into a stone Romanesque palace by Prince Sobeslav in the early 12th century. Its remains have been preserved to the present. The palace was adjoined on its eastern side by All Saints‘ Chapel, which was consecrated in 1185.
Changes, caused by a change of rulers
In the first half of the fourteenth century, the Romanesque palace, in the hands of the king and emperor Charles IV. became a Gothic palace. The dominant of the palace is a vaulted representational area and also a band of arcades should be mentioned, located on the north side of the building.
Fifteenth century did not bring anything good to the royal palace, because it was abandoned for entire eighty years. Finally, in 1483, life returned to the royal chambers. It happened when the king Vladislav Jagiello (czech: Vladislav Jagellonský) came into power and he commenced the last large-scale reconstruction of the palace. Thanks to that historical giant and thanks to the architect Benedict Ried, the magnificent solemn Vladislav Hall (czech: Vladislavský sál) came into existence. Ried combined the art of the late Gothic style with elements of the newly arriving Renaissance style.
The Habsburgs had come to the Czech throne and halls of the Old Royal Palace become the scene of the coronation festivities and diets. Furthermore, these spaces were also used as conference rooms, offices or depositories. Later on, new dwelling quarters were built to the west of the palace, in the southern part of the Castle complex. Maybe you remember from the previous re
ports that Prague Castle was engulfed by a huge fire in 1451 after that the House of the parliament (the Diet) and the All Saints’ Church were rebuilt.
During the castle rebuilding in the eighteenth century The Theresian Wing came into existence and later it was reconstructed several times, and in 1993 it was adapted for fine art exhibitions.
What actually was the Vladislav Hall used for?
From the sixteenth century the Vladislav Hall was used mainly for the royal entertainment. It was the scene of coronation festivities and banquets, knights‘ tournaments and markets with artistic and luxurious goods. The Vladislav Hall has preserved its representational function till today. There were held several presidential elections and ceremonial gatherings connected with important days of the Czech Republic. From the south-western part of the Vladislav Hall leads a portal to the Ludwig wing with the offices of the Czech Chancellery. It should be mention here that in 1618 its second room witnessed the beginning of the Czech Estates uprising when two governors and a scribe were thrown into the castle ditch from its window. The uprising of the Czech Estates was the first conflict of the Thirty Years‘ War. The observation gallery on the southern wall of the Vladislav Hall affords a beautiful view not only of the Garden on the Ramparts but also of the whole city.
Nowadays the exit from the Vladislav Hall is formed by the Riders‘ Staircase, built originally to enable knights to enter the hall on horseback. The staircase is vaulted with a complicated Late Gothic rib vault.
From the hall you can also have a look at the All Saints’ Church, which is accessible to the public only during divine services or concerts that are held here. We hope that this tour of the old royal chambers impressed you, because the Royal Palace is one of the most important parts of the sightseeing tour of Prague Castle.
GPS: 50 ° 5′29 .04 „N 14 ° 24′1 .08″ E