The area of Hradčany is rich in elaborate historical buildings, gardens and romantic little streets that will delight, enchant and promise of an unforgettable cultural experience.
Hradčany was founded by the Highest Burgrave Hynek Berka from Dube around 1320 as an independent town. In 1420, during the time of the Hussite wars, Hradčany was destroyed by fire. The area was renovated in the 1440s. At that time the built-up area comprised mainly of aristocratic houses and canon houses. In 1598 Hradčany became a royal town and in 1784 it merged with Prague. Nowadays Hradčany includes many precious historical and cultural landmarks and is home to Prague Castle, said to be the largest ancient castle in the world and, since 1918, the residence of the President.
There are so many things to see in this splendid part of the city. To mention but a few, there is of course the impressive Prague Castle itself and the grounds that surround it with its spectacular views over the red roofs of the city. Pop over to St. Vitus cathedral for its beautiful interior and take a peep at the lavishly decorated side chapel, Parler's Chapel, which houses the Crown Jewels.
For art lovers a visit to the Picture gallery of Prague Castle is highly recommended. Created in 1965 the gallery houses paintings from the 16th – 18th centuries. The highlights include Titian's The Toilet of a Young Lady and Rubens' The Assembly of the Olympic Gods. Wander over to Černín palace, where, in 1948 the foreign minister, democrat and anti-communist, Jan Masaryk fell to his death from one of the bathroom windows (about 3 min walk from the Hradčany Square). It is still unclear whether it was a suicide or a murder planned by the communist secret service.
Not being able to see the real crown jewels, would a replica suffice? Then go to Lobkowicz Palace. Built in the 1570s, it is a branch of the National Museum and it holds a collection on Czech history until 1848 including replicas of the Czech crown jewels. For a but of peace and quiet the Royal Garden (Královská zahrada) is perfect for a stroll. There is the bronze Singing Fountain and the azalea and tulip garden where tulips were first acclimatized to Europe before being taken to Holland!