Prague Castle

It really doesn't look much like a castle. Looks more like an elegant apartment complex with a big church in the middle. The distinguishing features are that it is built on top of a big hill (see picture from the bridge) and you can see it from all over the town. I guess that's important if you're a king and building a castle. Also helps if you have God on your side, so you build a big church inside your castle. The castle site was one of the earliest places of settlement in Prague.

Anyway, we had to climb the hill to get to the castle, so we'll start there.

Mother and daughter trudge up the hill to the castle.

Some people get carried up the hill.

Some people look down at the ornate manhole covers while trudging.

We all walk up narrow stairs untill....

we reach the top, where we find...

the palace band practicing. One has lost his hat.

We paid our admission and walked into a small chapel. This is sort of what the ceiling looks like (perspective is a bit skewed).

This is the west door of St. Vitus' Cathedral. The first church building on this site was build in the 10th century by St. Wenceslaus, the Czech's patron saint. More about him in a bit.

A friendly gargoyle

Inside it's majestic, but not exceptional, as cathedrals go.

Really nice stained glass windows---mostly 20th century.

Tomb of St. Wenceslaus. Legend has it that he was murdered by his brother, Boleslav, as he was entering the church.

Monument to the priest who was thrown off the Charles Bridge for not divulging the Queen's confession to the King. Made of silver----lots of it.

Detail from the monument---perhaps on of this guards that was elsewhere when the priest went over the edge.

We climbed the tower of the cathedral, but couldn't see much because it was hazy. Good view of a resident chicken, though.

"The Golden Portal" - south entrance, featuring a14th century moasic of the Last Judgement.

Another view of the golden portal.

In the courtyard, opposite the golden portal, was this car. I never figured out why it was there, but definitely was interesting.

50's futeristic, I guess.

In another part of the castle, we found this heater. Of ceramic construction and burning charcoal, it gave off lots of heat, making this room the warmest in the otherwise cold castle.

This is where the Czech kings were crowned in the good old days.

Found this fellow hiding in a hole, looking a bit under the weather.

And another royal chicken.

This earnest young man seemed to be doing a good job of guarding the castle.

So now it's on to Old Town Square