Discover the Historical Fortress of Vyšehrad in Prague
Vyšehrad is a historical fortress in Prague that resides atop a hill. It is located on the right side of the river Vltava, just outside of Prague. It has deep historical and cultural ties to many parts of Prague's rich history. The legend goes that the Vyšehrad castle was the first seat of Czech dukes.
Vyšehrad: An Overview
What is Vyšehrad Castle?
Vyšehrad in Czech means “upper castle”. The Vyšehrad Castle, formerly a royal palace, was destroyed and abandoned during the Hussite Wars towards the end of the Middle Ages. Vyšehrad later served as a powerful Baroque fortress. The fortress plays a meaningful role in Czech folklore's oldest legends.
The Vyšehrad fortress is home to numerous historical and architectural marvels and hidden gems like the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Vyšehrad cemetery where many notable Czechs are laid to rest, and the Vyšehrad Casemates.Plan Your Visit
Who Built the Vyšehrad Castle?
In the late 10th century CE, the then ruler of Bohemia, Vratislaus II, was responsible for building the Vyšehrad Castle. He began building the castle on the hilltop as the enormous rock towering over the Vltava River was a favorable place for settlements.
Vyšehrad Castle fell into disrepair at the end of the 12th century CE when Vladislaus II became Duke of Bohemia and moved the royal residence back to Prague Castle. The erstwhile later served as a fortress and was used to protect Prague during times of war.
A Brief History of Vyšehrad Castle
The first historically reliable mention of this remarkable hill fort at Vyšehrad dates back to the middle of the 10th century. It was then the location where the minting of denarii (coins) of Boleslaus II took place.
For a short period, this site was the seat of a monarch and served as a royal castle. Soon afterward, it grew into a city, and sometime later, it was a Baroque fortress, as it so appears even today. It was around the end of the 1800s that Vyšehrad became recognized as a national symbol, and was converted into a cemetery for some of the most famous personalities in Czech history.Read More
Legends Surrounding Vyšehrad Castle
- The first settlement was located here at Vyšehrad and later became Prague. No evidence supporting this claim has been found. According to local legend, Duke Krok established Vysehrad while looking for a safer seat than Budeč.
- Another legend states that the princess and prophetess Libuše laid down the prophecy about Prague's future glory.
- An old legend about the Přemyslids dynasty states that the legendary Princess Libuše ruled from Vyšehrad castle together with her husband Premysl and their union led to the Přemyslids dynasty. There is also a story about a treasure hidden somewhere in a cave by the Přemyslids rulers.
- Another famous legend originates from the Devil’s Column which can still be seen in Vyšehrad park. The story goes that a devil, enraged due to a bet that he lost with a priest, threw three rocks in Vyšehrad that came to form the Devil’s Column.
What is Vyšehrad Famous for?
Vyšehrad is a historical fortress located in Prague. Vyšehrad has had a vibrant history - it has served as a royal castle, a place of military importance, and now, it enjoys the status of being a national symbol.
Admiring the Art Nouveau decor of the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, taking a walk through the renowned Vyšehrad Cemetery, marveling at the scenic vista of Prague from the Baroque fortifications of Vyšehrad are just a few things you can appreciate at Vysehrad. There are also exhibitions and events that take place in Vyšehrad that highlight its historical significance and some that celebrate local art and artists. Vyšehrad is a treat for history enthusiasts, culture-vultures, and nature lovers alike.
What is Inside Vyšehrad?
Located adjacent to the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, Vysehrad cemetery is one of Prague’s most significant sites, with over 600 famous people buried here – from writers, doctors, and scientists, to poets, artists, actors, composers, and politicians. Among the many imminent personalities buried here, some famed names are the poet Jan Neruda, composer Antonin Dvorak, and the writer Božena Němcová.Read More
Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul
Founded in 1070–1080 by the Czech King Vratislav II, the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul is a neo-gothic church in Vyšehrad. This Romanesque Basilica was rebuilt in Gothic and then in neo-gothic architectural styles after it suffered a fire in 1249. The basilica boasts of an impressive stone mosaic above its entry and its majestic twin towers can be spotted atop the hill where Vyšehrad is located.Read More
Vyšehrad Casemates (Gorlice Hall)
The Vyšehrad Casemates came to exist in the 17th or 18th century during the construction of bastion fortification. The casemates are a complex underground system meant for rapid troop movement. The largest casemate space in Vyšehrad is the Gorlice Hall. This massive hall would serve as an assembly area for the troops and as a warehouse for armament and food in case of an imminent attack. The hall has also served as a bomb shelter. Now, this impressive hall is used as a gallery as some of the Baroque statues from Charles Bridge are now stored here.
Rotunda of St. Martin
The Rotunda of St. Martin is the only Romanesque building in Vyšehrad which has been completely preserved. As the oldest structure of Prague, there is a vast history around it. Built in 1100, it was initially surrounded by a cemetery till the year 1300. The building survived the devastating Hussite Wars and was thereafter used as a prison for the Town of the Vyšehrad Hill. It was a gunpowder storage unit during the Thirty Years’ War, from 1700 to 1750.
Where is Vyšehrad Located?
Vyšehrad is a historical fortification in Prague, located on the east bank of the Vltava River. Vyšehrad castle is situated on a hill with an altitude of about 400 meters.
Address: V Pevnosti 159/5b, 128 00 Praha 2-Vyšehrad, Czechia
The closest metro station is Vyšehrad, on Metro line C, a 9-minute walk to Vysehrad.
Tram No.s 7, 14, 18, 24, 93, 95 take you to Albertov tram stop, a 6-minute walk to Vysehrad. Tram No.s 2, 3, 7, 17, 21, 92 take you to the Výtoň tram stop, a 13-minute walk to Vysehrad.Getting There
What is the Best Time to Visit Vyšehrad?
As Vyšehrad is famous for guided walking tours, having pleasant weather on your side as you take a stroll while exploring the historical monuments at Vyšehrad is key. For ideal weather, consider visiting Vyšehrad in the period of May to September. July is generally the warmest month.
If you wish to explore the historical fortress of Vyšehrad in quiet solitude and peace, the best time to visit Vyšehrad would be during the morning hours when it is less crowded.Opening Hours
How to Visit Vyšehrad?
Vyšehrad is a historical fortress in Prague with many historical attractions residing amidst the vast fort complex. This famous historical castle in Prague sees tourists turning up from all over the world and it is also quite popular amongst the locals. Pre-booking your Vyšehrad tickets is the best way to ensure that you get a hassle-free entry even when there are heavy crowds at the attraction. Not only do you get to skip the hassle of standing in long queues, but online tickets are also safe and they encourage contactless transactions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vyšehrad Castle
A. Vyšehrad in Czech means “upper castle”. The Vyšehrad Castle, formerly a royal palace, was destroyed and abandoned during the Hussite Wars towards the end of the Middle Ages. Vysehrad later served as a powerful Baroque fortress.
A. Vyšehrad is a historical fortress located in Prague. Vyšehrad has had a vibrant history - it has served as a royal castle, a place of military importance, and now, it enjoys the status of being a national symbol.
A. Avoid crowds by visiting Vysehrad during morning hours. For ideal weather, consider visiting Vysehrad from May to September. July is generally the warmest month.
A. There are many safety protocols in place to ensure maximum safety while you visit Vysehrad.
A. Vysehrad is a historical fortress in Prague. During its zenith, it served as the royal castle of the Bohemian duke but when the new duke shifted his royal residence back to Prague Castle, Vysehrad gradually faded from the limelight. It then served as a Baroque fortress and is now a patriotic symbol of the nation.
A. The first settlement, according to local legends, was located here at Vyšehrad and later became Prague, however, no evidence supporting this claim has been found.