The fortress of Vyšehrad makes for a perfect afternoon escape away from the human congestion of the city centre: its cemetery shelters the remains of Bohemia’s artistic elite; the ramparts afford superb views over the river; and below the fortress, there are several interesting examples of Czech Cubist architecture.
Vyšehrad was founded sometime in the 10th century, undoubtedly later than Prague Castle had been founded, and for centuries it also remained in a position subordinate to Prague Castle. This is true perhaps except for the years 1061-1092 when Vyšehrad was the residence of Vratislav II, originally a prince, later the first Czech king, who had the castle reconstructed and made of stone and who set up a church chapel there. Its importance then declined. Later on, Charles IV had Vyšehrad reconstructed and changed into the stone fort in connection with the newly built fortification of the whole of Prague. However, just as in other places in Bohemia, the castle’s life was negatively influenced by the Hussite period when it was sieged, plundered and partly demolished. In the year 1650, new brick Baroque ramparts were built once again in connection with the fortifying of the whole of Prague according to the plans of Italian architects. The castle served as a fort once again until the year 1911, when the fort was abolished. It was annexed to Prague as District VI in the year 1883. Vyšehrad is a notable place, if only for its reputation of being the oldest residence of Czech princes, of Libuše and the first members of Přemysl’s dynasty and for the reason that the eminent personalities of the nation are buried there.
Over 600 important figures from Czech history are buried in the Vyšehrad Cemetery and the Slavín tomb.
The Casemates dating from 1742 are narrow, brick-lined, 2m-high underground passageways, which lead to a huge 330m2 space that used to serve as an assembly point for soldiers.
Getting around Vyšehrad
Vyšehrad is easily and quickly reachable from the city centre by Metro line C to station Vyšehrad. From there, it is about a 10-minute walk to Vyšehrad main gate.