Vyšehrad ('upper castle') is a historical fort built probably in the 10th century on a hill over the Vltava River. Situated within the castle is the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, as well as the Vyšehrad Cemetery, containing the remains of many famous people from Czech history. It also contains Prague's oldest surviving building, the Rotunda of St Martin from the 11th century.

Local legend holds that Vyšehrad was the location of the first settlement which later became Prague, though thus far this claim remains unsubstantiated.

When the PÅ™emyslid dynasty settled on the current site of Prague Castle, the two castles maintained opposing spheres of influence for approximately two centuries. Like this the second seat of the Czech sovereigns was established on a steep rock directly above the right bank of the Vltava river, in the 10th century. The zenith of Vyšehrad was during the second half of the 11th century, when Vratislav transferred his seat from Prague Castle, and the original fort was remodelled as a complex comprising a sovereign's palatial residence, church and seat of the chapter. The period of growth ended around 1140 when Prince SobÄ›slav moved his seat back to Prague Castle.

When Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV began to build the Prague Castle in its current dimensions in the early 14th century, the deteriorating castle Vyšehrad was abandoned as a royal home. Later the whole complex was renewed by Charles IV and new fortifications, with two gates and a royal palace were built, while the palace of Saints Peter and Paul awaited repair. At the beginning of the Hussite Wars, Vyšehrad was conquered and ransacked by the Hussites in 1420 and then again in 1448 by the troops of King George of PodÄ›brady. The castle was then abandoned and became ruined. It underwent a renovation in the 17th century, when the Habsburg Monarchy took over the Czech lands after the Thirty Years' War and remodelled it in 1654 as a Baroque fortress, turning it into a training centre for the Austrian Army, and later incorporated into the Baroque era city walls around Prague.

The present form of Vyšehrad as a fortified residence, with powerful brick ramparts, bastions and the Tábor and Leopold gates, is a result of Baroque remodelling. The Cihelná brána (Brick gate) is an Empire-style structure, dating from 1841. The main part of the Špička Gate, parts of the Romanesque bridge, and the ruined Gothic lookout tower known as Libušina lázeň (Libuše's Bath) are the only fragments that have been preserved from the Middle Ages. The Romanesque rotunda of St. Martin dates from the second half of the 11th century. The 11th century of Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which dominates Vyšehrad, was remodelled in the second half of the 14th century and again in 1885 and 1887 in the Neo-gothic style. Vyšehrad and the area around it became part of the capital city in 1883. The area is one of the cadastral districts of the city.

By the twenty-first century, Vyšehrad has become a public park that is a popular site for recreation and celebrations. For example, it is a popular place for Czechs to celebrate New Year's Eve.

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Founded: 10th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Czech Republic

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User Reviews

Calvin Zito (19 months ago)
This was a castle recommended by locals because it isn't the one that gets tons of tourists. While it was late December when I visited, there weren't hordes of people and that was nice. Lots of great views of the Prague from here and some of the history I read of the castle was interesting.
Dusko Stankovic (19 months ago)
Amazing place!!! You should definitely visit it, especially during the summer time when the weather is good and it is not that much cloudy so that you can enjoy the great view over the city. If you are visiting the city of Prague even for only one day, visit this place and you will have great memories!
Vlad Schnakovszki (20 months ago)
Brilliant park in Prague. I strongly recommend you find the Na Hradbách pub, get a beer and a portion of pickled cheese and go outside to enjoy the sun and the views. Thank you Honest Guide for recommending it, it's amazing.
Nicholaos Bilalis (21 months ago)
This is an excellent place to visit, when in Prague. It's less known than other attractions, like the Prague castle, therefore less crowded. It's a fortified castle, with an excellent view of the city, and the area inside it is essentially a big park. We visited in December, but in spring time this should be a must. There is also a museum, a basilica and a very stunning (and famous as it turns out) cemetary.
Tony Elkin (2 years ago)
Excellent place for walking or jogging, or sitting and talking. The old fortified walls have paved paths atop them. Views of Prague from here are unique, across the river you get a sense of perspective.... cafes and restaurants on site and toilets...., or take your own food with you, no problem. Easy walk from red line metro..
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