We spent A LOT OF MINUTES standing in front of the ticket machine but eventually figured out how to buy tram tickets to ride up to the castle complex.
St. Vitus cathedral has ruined us for all other cathedrals. Those Catholics really know how to put on a show.
A smaller church in this spot was founded by King Wenceslas who needed a place to house the arm of St. Vitus, which he had acquired from somebody else (a normal thing to do at the time). Construction on St. Vitus as it stands today started in 1344 and took 600 years to complete, what with all the wars and whatnot (or maybe they needed a better project manager). This is why part of the church is Gothic and part of it is Neo-Gothic, as if I could tell the difference. 🙂
One of the stained glass windows in St. Vitus was done by Mucha himself. I will talk more about this in a separate Mucha post but you can admire it starting now!
Also in the complex is the Royal Palace, the Basilica of St. George, and Golden Lane (plus other stuff but Rick Steves said to skip it). The Royal Palace is pretty meh and Brendan got in trouble for taking a picture without a PHOTO LICENSE #eurorules. But the one neat thing is the hall was so large they sometimes had jousting inside. Also, we got to see the famous window of defenestration where some nobles threw some other nobles out the window (which was apparently legally allowed at the time) and the ones that were thrown out fell into a giant pile of horse manure and lived. And then started the 30-Years War (that’s how it went down, this isn’t simplified at all).
Golden Lane features cute little houses, including #22, where Kafka lived, and another house where a psychic who predicted the defeat of the Nazis lived (which of course she was arrested for).
The castle complex honestly was not very fun because EVERY HIGH SCHOOL FIELD TRIP WAS THERE. If you go, definitely go very early or late. I resented having to fight my way through groups of kids who could not care less about being there. >:( This is why we have so few pictures –
it was hard to see anything, much less get to it. Harrumph. I still sort of think maybe we toured the place “incorrectly” somehow because the rest of it seemed so meh. BUT, to be fair, we started with St. Vitus – you can’t follow an act like that.