Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Day in Hradčany

Hradčany is the Castle District in Prague and, of course, centers around Prague Castle. It's gorgeous and old and there are a million tourists to elbow your way through if you want to see any of it.

I decided to take a solo day a few weeks ago and went to the Castle by myself to take pictures and have a look around. It was some of the first sun we had seen in awhile and I was determined to spend the time outside whether anyone else was coming with me or not.

For some reason I decided to start at the bottom of the hill.

It is actually possible to take a tram up to the top and work your way down. In fact, my favorite monk beer is passed the castle at the top of the hill. But, alas, I wanted to take a picture of a monument by Malostranka station, so I had to walk up. This meant walking against the steady flow of tourists coming down from the castle.

But I managed to get up all of those steps and through all of those people relatively unscathed.
Honestly, it's not that bad. It was even a little pleasant being out in the sun and getting a bit of a work out. A workout that would help me earn the delicious beer and goulash I would eat later.

I love this are of town because of the
architecture of even the simplest of buildings.
The whole day was just one big picture fest. I just took pictures left and right. I had just been to  Petřín a few weeks before and so I was super excited to realize that it's actually possible to walk from Petřín, to Strahov, to Hradčany (or the other way around, whichever you prefer). This is something I guarantee I'll have my sister doing in the summer.

Petřín lookout tower from Prague Castle.
At this back entrance I was also lucky enough to happen upon the Changing of the Guard. Now I realized I've seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace so this is definitely small change in comparison, but it's nice to see things like that.

Funny thing about castles, they're really just complexes.
 Every time I go to a castle I get a little confused. Disney has created this idea of what a castle is like in my head and I always expect some fortress with a moat and draw bridge and towers. And while there are towers, they're really just part of the cathedral which sits in the middle of a bunch of other relatively lame buildings. 

A really bad ass cathedral though.

And of course it wouldn't be complete without
some big phallus penetrating the sky.
Luckily, I did a little research before I went up to the castle and I found out that St. Vitus Cathedral is one of the few places in the complex that has free entry. Which is awesome, cause it's gorgeous, and air-conditioned. While it was particularly hot that day (and it was like 6 degrees inside) it's nice to know that when it's blazing in the summer, I can always go to the cathedral. 

And since it's air-conditioned my pictures will look great!
 I actually spent a lot of time inside the cathedral looking around and taking pictures. It's amazing how old and new the building is. It took hundreds of years to complete and stood there for awhile with nothing going on.

This reminds me of Michelangelo's La Pietà for some reason.
 But after I got done staring at the stained glass and trying to see the altar, I decided to keep trekking up from the castle. This is the first time I've ever seen the castle gates and it honestly hadn't occurred to me before this point that I had always approached Prague Castle from the back before.

Every country I've lived in has had a
Red, White and Blue flag. 

From the castle gates you really can understand what I mean by the fact that a castle is really just a building complex with a cathedral in the middle. Observe:

And it actually looks oddly similar to Buckingham Palace from this side.
Since I started at the bottom of the hill and my goal was amazing monk beer and goulash, I still had a ways to go once I finally got through the Castle complex to the other side.  

Started below the castle, now I'm above the castle.
Honestly, nothing in this town is far so it's not like it was difficult except for the fact that it was all uphill. And really, it's not like it was steep. 

Ah, Strahov.
 As many times as I had been to the brewery next door, I had never actually looked around and the Strahov Monastery, so I decided to walk around for a bit. This is when I realized you could walk to Petřín from here. It's just right there!

The view from Strahov.
 I have to say I'm quite pleased with walking from Malostranska up to Strahov. I would definitely recommend this trek to anyone visiting Prague. It's a great way to see several of the big sites in one day.

Yay, that sun's going down!
 Finally, it was beer o'clock. I was also super hungry after all my walking and shutter-bugging. It was time for the Strahov Brewery.

Mmmm, Shrovetide beer.
 Beer plus goulash makes for the best ending to a walk around the city ever. 

Petřín Tower from Strahov at night.


  1. You look really pretty in that one picture! I really like the length of your hair now!

  2. Thanks! I actually have cut it since then, but I just got layers put in and my bangs fixed. It's kind of in an awkward phase right now but I'm trying to grow it out.



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