This medieval complex of buildings atop Vysehrad Hill, just south of Mala Strana (Old Town), has played an important part in Prague’s history, having served at various points as a royal residence, religious center, and military fortress. It’s one of the most significant of the Czech Republic’s National Cultural Monuments, and it offers excellent views across the city.
The site dates back to the 10th century—that’s when a church and fortified trading post were built; by 1085, the first king of Bohemia had also built a castle here. Although only fragments of the castle remain, including the underground casemates and the twin spires of the castle’s church, the monument underwent a major neo-Gothic facelift in 1895, giving it an impressive, lofty interior. Some of Prague’s most prominent citizens are buried in the ornate neighboring cemetery, including composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonín Dvorák, the patriotic author and poet Jan Neruda, and Art Nouveau maestro Alphonse Mucha.
Some Prague sightseeing tours, especially those focused on off-the-beaten path sites, include a visit to Vysehrad, which is sometimes referred to as the city’s “other” castle. For a more in-depth explanation of the complex’s history, take a private tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Vysehrad National Cultural Monument is a must-visit for history lovers.
- Surrounded by peaceful gardens, a Romanesque rotunda, riverside walks, and open-air cafés, Vysehrad is a great place to escape the crowds.
- There’s no entrance fee, but you do need to pay to see exhibitions.
How to Get There
The Vysehrad metro station and Albertov tram stations are both a 15-minute walk away. From Vyton tram station it’s a 10-minute walk.
When to Get There
The site is open to the public every day of the week, from morning through early evening. Winter opening hours are slightly shorter. Prague is pleasant year round, but winter does bring heavy snow and frost.
Legends of Vysehrad
Vysehrad is a subject of local folklore. Legend has it that Libuse, the founder of Prague, stated her prophecy about the future glory of the city from her seat in Vysehrad. The site also appears in the traditional Bohemian tale, The Maiden’s War, about an uprising of women against men. The leader of the band of women attacks the men at Vysehrad; alas, she—and all the women—are defeated.