Prague Castle is an extensive complex of churches and palaces and is the largest medieval castle in the world. It is indeed massive and would take days to explore. We were there for an afternoon and evening saw just a fraction of it.
The towers above belong to St. Vitus Cathedral, begun in 1344, in the French Gothic style as the master builder was a Frenchman.
It remains the largest and most prominent church in the Czech Republic and is the resting place of many Bohemian Kings and Holy Roman Emperors, including Saint Wenceslas, also known as "Good King Wenceslas" in the Christmas song.
Construction of the church was characterized by many stoppages throughout the centuries as money ran out, wars occurred, and priorities changed. In the 1920s Alfons Mucha, a painter in of the Art Nouveau movement, completed several windows in the church. The church was finally completed in 1929, 600 years after its start.
Our tour guide took us to this room in the castle where the Second Defenestration of Prague took place. Defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window as a means to execution. In 1618 the Czechs, mostly Protestants, got fed up with the Habsburg representatives from Vienna who were trying to force the population to become Catholic, and tossed two of them out of the window. The men were saved by the pile of straw and manure below the window and escaped with minor injuries.
However, the whole affair blew up and was a major factor in the start of the Thirty Years' War that devastated Central Europe, killing between 5 to 11 million people.
The view from the Castle is impressive. There are long flights of steps to walk up to the Castle (we took a bus, but walked down). The tall modern looking structure in the distance is the Zizkov Tower, built between 1985 and 1992. Its purpose was to block television transmissions from the West during the Soviet era, however, it wasn't completed until after the fall of Communism. It's now used for communications and tourism, and was once voted the ugliest building in the world.
There are so many beautiful buildings in Prague. This one, with its buttery yellow paint and ornate decoration, caught my eye while our guide was talking. Did you notice that only part of the building is painted yellow? Behind the tree, the walls look dingy and not so well-cared for. I wonder why?