It’s the most significant monument of the Czech Republic and one of the country’s most important cultural institutions.
And, most importantly, me and my band of merry media — journalists, bloggers, social media experts and photographers invited along by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample its premium-escorted Bohemian Rhapsody journey — are about to storm it.
Storm what? Another brewery?
No. Pražský Hrad, or Prague Castle.
Sans armor, clubs, longbows, broad swords and boulder-laden catapults, we’re taking on this massive fortress the only way we know how: with our cameras.
Lens caps off?
Leading our platoon of watermark-savvy shooters is Jaroslav, Insight’s Prague-based, art-historian guide, while Neira, Insight’s Bohemian Rhapsody tour director-slash-storyteller, brings up the rear to ensure none of us lags behind (read, gets lost).
For added insurance, we’re all given a small radio receiver and an ear bud — standard issue on all Insight journeys — so that we can listen to our guide’s running commentary and know immediately when we’ve drifted too far from the pack. Like now, the audio just dropped off. YIKES! I’d better get moving.
Perched atop a hill in the Hradčany district, with picture-postcard perfect panoramic views, the Prague Castle dates all the way back to the ninth century when absolute power was the norm and thrones were kept warm by the kings of Bohemia and the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. More recent, leaders of old Czechoslovakia ruled from this spot, and, today, the president of the Czech Republic both resides and governs an electorate of 10.5M from inside the palace-like Prague Castle.
While the lion’s share of the castle is closed to the public, including a hidden room where the country’s crown jewels are tucked away under lock and key, the real star of the castle grounds is the iconic Katedrála svatého Víta, or St. Vitus Cathedral.
Construction of the first of many buildings that form the cathedral was commissioned by Wenceslaus I, the Duke of Bohemia, in 930. An inspiring example of Gothic architecture — with its signature flying buttresses and touches of Romanesque, Rennaissance and Baroque thrown in for good measure over the ensuing 1,000 years — the cathedral contains numerous tombs where many of the aforementioned kings and emperors are buried.
It’s tall spires, practically scraping the sky, are never far from view down there, among the masses.
This amazing architectural masterpiece is, without a doubt, a must-see landmark when drawing up your own battle plan to storm Prague Castle.
For complete information on Insight Vacations’ premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Bohemian Rhapsody and 100 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
A quick break to regroup and take in some of those picture-postcard perfect panoramas of Prague, our band of merry media will be moving out shortly down the hill, past the oldest vineyard in the city, and make its way to the very spot where Mr. Phelps took the plunge into the Vltava River during the filming of Mission Impossible.
This blog post will self destruct in ten seconds.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images