Last year, some five million people visited Prague Castle - a place that is not just the seat of the head of state but which also houses the Czech crown jewels, the St Vitus' treasury, and the remains of many Bohemian rulers and saints. However, until now, a mere visit to the complex has never been enough to learn about the lives of the people connected with its five-thousand-year history - the aristocrats, artists, alchemists, architects, scholars, tradesmen and servants. For two-and-a-half years, experts on the castle's history have worked on an exhibition that would do just that, and last week the Prague Castle Administration proudly presented its new project - the "Story of Prague Castle" a permanent exhibition in the Gothic part of the Old Royal Palace.
Sylvie Blaskovanova is chief curator:
"There are some 530 exhibits on an area of 830 m2 and ninety-percent of them are originals. You can surely imagine how big the exhibition is and how much care it requires. Every piece on show, as well as each exhibition space, underwent extensive conservation work, so that they can withstand the extremely demanding climatic conditions. However, this is not where it ends. We will have to continue caring for the exhibits, which means that at least a third of them will undergo further conservation work for some six months or so. So, if visitors return in six-month cycles, they will constantly be introduced to new parts of the exhibition that have been hidden from them because that's what how the rhythm of permanent exhibitions goes."
Because of their delicate and valuable nature, most exhibits are in glass cases. Besides numerous publications, visitors also get to see videos, models, and documentary films. They will also have access to places that have only served for technical purposes until now. These include spaces such as the Tower of Wenceslas IV or the Charles IV Arcade. The exhibition tells the story of Prague Castle from prehistoric times up to date in both Czech and English.
Since many schools take their students to Prague Castle to learn about the history of the Czech lands, the exhibition offers an interactive teaching programme for children. They can become historical figures and walk through Prague Castle while carrying out exciting tasks and missions.
The exhibition will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Visitors are advised to wear a sweater or coat, as the average temperature is around eight degrees Celsius.
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