Hradčany

Hradčany, the Prague castle district

Hradčany, as seen from the Strahov monastery

Hradčany or the Castle District, is one of several parts of the historical centre of Prague. It is located on a hill on left (west) bank of Vltava river, above the Lesser Town and on the opposite bank than the Old Town and New Town. Hradčany are best known for the Prague Castle, which is the largest (according to the Guinness World Records) and one of the most famous castle complexes in the World, 570 metres long and in an average 130 meters wide. Its history stretches back to the 9th century. Saint Vitus Cathedral is located in the castle area.

Prague Castle includes many interesting buildings and places: Saint Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of Saint George, Old Royal Palace, Golden Lane, Dalibor Tower, Black Tower and others.

But there are also places of interest in Hradčany outside the Castle itself. Central space of the Castle district is a square called Hradčanské náměstí in front of the main gate to Prague Castle. This is the site where most official state visits arrive. To the north from the Prague Castle there is the Royal Summer Palace And Royal Gardens. Next to the gardens there is the Prague Castle Riding-hall. Interesting church buildings in the western part of Hradčany include the Strahov Monastery, Loreta and Capuchin Monastery. Most of the district today consists of noble palaces. But there are also many residential houses and other attractions for visitors, such as romantic nooks and beautiful look-outs.

History

Hračany originated at time when the Old Town and the Lesser Town already existed. In contrast to the Lesser Town, the settlement of Hradčany originally evolved without any plan. As late as in the 14th century it was granted the status of a Royal town – shortly before the New Town was founded by Charles IV on the opposite side of the river. Hradčany remained the smallest of the four boroughs and the international portfolio inc one most dependent on the Castle. Hradčany was an independent borough until 1784, when the four independent towns that had formerly constituted Prague were proclaimed a single Royal city.

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