A King, a Saint and a Castle

We headed off to the Prague Castle today mainly because it’s billed as the largest castle in Europe. Prague is the capitol of the Czech Republic and the castle, sitting on a hill overlooking the city, houses the office of the President of the Republic.

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The first structure on the site was a rotunda built by Wenceslas in the 9th century. Yep…the Wenceslas in the Christmas carol. In the 14th century. Charles IV began construction on what is now the St. Vitus Cathedral. To visit the cathedral requires that you climb, of course, a stairway to heaven.

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Having been the fortunate visitor at a number of cathedrals in France and Italy, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by St. Vitus. I was. It is a spectacular Gothic masterpiece!
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Wenceslas rests here, canonized and declared king long after he was murdered by his younger brother. The walls of the St. Wenceslas Chapel are lined with semi-precious stones set in gilded plaster.

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I also discovered St. John of Nepomuk, who was ordered to be tortured then drowned in the Vltava River by King Wenceslas IV. His crime? John thought the king should follow church law in appointing an archbishop and the king thought otherwise. Two tons of silver were required to build St. John’s tomb
and I can’t help but wonder how they keep it polished? Penance would be cleaning this baby!
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The castle is definitely vast and John and I toured only a small part of it, including Vladislav Hall, built in the 15th century and where the results of Presidential elections have been announced since 1935. We also took a peek at the Diet Hall. Think throne room.
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I came to the Castle Prague with no expectations and left wonderfully surprised by its cathedral and history.

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