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Prague Castle, one of Prague's most famous landmarks, has been through as many as four major reconstructions. Reputed to be one of the biggest castles in the world, the original ancient castle was built in the 9th century and new buildings were added over the years, giving it a varied architectural style.
Prague Castle has always been the official seat and residence of Prague's rulers and is currently held by the Czech president. It has three courtyards and numerous gardens that are open to the public. Of the many buildings in the complex, St Vitus' Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace are not to be missed.
Apart from its prominence as the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, St Vitus' Cathedral is also the final resting place of numerous Bohemian kings. The gothic architecture is one of the many styles apparent in Prague Castle. Adding a Romanesque style is the Basilica of St George, which is the oldest church building in the complex.
Several museums can be found in Prague Castle including the National Gallery, which hosts a collection of Bohemian baroque and mannerism art; a Czech history exhibition; the Toy Museum; and a Prague Castle picture gallery in the New Royal Palace. Mythological frescoes that date back to the 17th century adorn the Lobkowicz Palace.
The Old Royal Palace was once the seat of Bohemian princes. The Czech Crown Jewels were hidden here during World War II to protect them from the air raids. Vladislav Hall, which is now the venue for presidential elections and state events, was once the largest secular hall in medieval Prague, where coronations, tournaments, and balls were held.
The Supreme Burgrave's House, which holds the Toy Museum in the northern wing, was historically the home of the highest official to the king—a post held only by the most prominent among the nobility. It was built with gothic architecture in the 13th century and was restored on several occasions, each time giving it a unique character. The Summer Shakespeare Festival takes place in the house's open court.
Golden Lane is a place steeped in history and legend. Famous inhabitants of the tiny houses include writer Franz Kafka and Prague prophetess Madame de Thebes—one of Nazism's victims for prophesying the end of the Nazi era.
Apart from the buildings and areas mentioned above, visitors will find a rustic charm and architectural appeal in most all the palaces and towers on the Castle grounds. The riding school and Imperial Stables are also interesting venues to visit. To round off the trip, one might find items of interest in the local gift shop to serve as a memento of their visit.