As the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution approaches, we take you to places that are closely associated with the events that led to the collapse of the communist regime in 1989. In the fifth and last episode of our mini-series, we’ll take you to Prague Castle where Czechoslovakia’s first post-communist president, Václav Havel, was sworn in, starting a new era in the country’s history.
Prague Castle has opened the otherwise inaccessible Deer Moat to the public
in connection with the celebrations of Czechoslovak Independence Day on
October 28th. The Deer Moat is open to the public from 10am until 3pm at
It will be made accessible to visitors one more time this year on November 16 -17, on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
The Deer Moat has been completely closed to visitors this year, as have the Castle’s Southern Gardens due to reconstruction work.
This Friday marks the 600 year anniversary since the death of King Wenceslas IV., who was simultaneously the king of Bohemia and of the Romans. His rule was marked by political miscalculation and excessive drinking. However, he was also an important patron of the arts. On the occasion of the anniversary, Prague Castle has opened an exhibition depicting some of the most accomplished gothic craftsmanship produced during his era.
Prague Castle remains to be the most popular tourist destination in the
Czech Republic, according to figures put together by Czech Tourism agency.
Last year, it attracted over 2.4 million tourists, a nearly three-percent
The Petřín funicular with over two million visitors placed second, while Prague Zoo was the third most visited site with over 1.4 million visitors.
Among the other top 10 most visited landmarks are Prague's Old Jewish quarter and the Petřín tower, as well as the former industrial complex of Dolní Vítkovice in the North Moravian city of Ostrava.
President Miloš Zeman’s office has launched an Instagram account for
Prague Castle, the seat of the head of state. The creation of a profile on
the popular social networking platform comes on the 100th anniversary of
the establishment of the Office of President and is intended to connect
with the younger generation and show the institution behind the scenes,
The account @hradofficial could inspire young people to visit Prague Castle or take an interest in its history, said Mr. Zeman’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář. Prague Castle already had YouTube, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Prague Castle held an open day on Saturday allowing the public to see parts
of the complex that are normally inaccessible. The free of charge event was
held to mark to start of the summer season at one of the country’s most
As well as getting to view the rooms where the president appoints governments and welcomes foreign dignitaries, visitors could peruse presents given to the head of state by visitors and a mock-up of a state dinner table.
The Office of the President is this year celebrating its centenary. Marking that anniversary, interwar presidential seals, copies of the Order of the White Lion (the highest state honour) and period documents were put on display on Saturday.
Some two dozen people gathered outside Prague Castle on Sunday to protest
against the security checks at the gates to the Prague Castle compound,
which were introduced in 2016 and have remained in place since.
The security checks, which every tourist or local must undergo if they wish to enter the compound, have brought protests from travel agencies and members of the public who were used to visiting the seat of the head of state freely.
The president’s spokesman has repeatedly defended the security checks saying they were made following recommendations to the Office of the President by security experts.
A number of renovation projects are planned for Prague Castle, one of the
city’s most visited landmarks, the Prague Castle Administration spokesman
told the Czech News Agency on Saturday.
The administration is set to renovate the façade and roof of the left wing of the New Royal Palace and the residence in the Royal Garden. Works will also continue on the Renaissance building of the Supreme Burgrave’s House.
The overall cost of the repairs at Prague castle next year is expected to exceed 300 million crowns. Most of the expenses, around 75 million crowns, will be used to repair the interiors of the residence in the Royal Garden, where the presidents of Czechoslovakia once lived.
Thousands of people demonstrated in central Prague on Friday evening,
calling for the resignation of Andrej Babiš’s ANO-led government. The
crowd gathered at Prague Castle and marched to Old Town Square, which was
almost full, repeating the scene at a similar demonstration on November 17.
The event was organised by Milion chvilek, a group that has held a number
of protests against Mr. Babiš’s this year.
The gathering took place shortly after the ANO government survived, as anticipated, a no-confidence vote. It was tabled by the opposition over a scandal surround Mr. Babiš’s son, who says he was taken to Crimea against his will so as not to be available to answer questions in an investigation involving the PM and alleged corruption.