Vysehrad Monument Casemates Gallery and Church
Vysehrad Monument includes the Gallery, the casemates, the Baroque fortification, the entrance gates and the Gothic cellar. They are all open to the public. Vysehrad is a cultural monument. Its old and historical buildings within the complex have been preserved in their original form. The centerpiece is the Church of St Paul and St Peter and next to it Vysehrad cemetery containing the remains of many famous people from Czech history. The gardens surrounding the church are peaceful and are home to some enormous statues depicting figures from Czech mythology
One of the Vysehrad Monument is the Gallery where rotating exhibitions of contemporary fine art are held. The focus is on young artists and in particular on paintings and modern media. The building looks non-descript and it is not sure what it used to be. It could be the remnant of a guard tower and part of the ramparts dating from the fourteenth century. Another theory is that the building is a part of a larger palace. It is located on top of Vysehrad rock which rises above a guard tower known as Libuse’s Bath. Libuse is the legendary ancestor of the Premyslid dynasty and of the Czech people. She predicted that Prague would become a powerful city.
Open daily from 9.30-17.00
Vysehrad Monument Casemates and Gorlice
Casemates are the vaults and corridors under a military fort which are used for defense, as a prison and for the storage of military equipment. The casemates of Vysehrad are a maze of corridors but only one stretch just one kilometer long and very narrow only 1.5 m wide and 2 m high is open to the public. At the end of the corridor is Gorlice, an underground vault of 300 square metres and 13 m high. This is where soldiers gathered. Today it contains some of the original statues from Charles Bridge in Prague. The ones on the bridge are all replicas because the sandstone of the originals weather badly.
In the early twentieth century, Czech inventor and electrical engineer Frantisek Krizik installed electric light in the casemates, quite a novelty! He was also the inventor of the first electric tram that ran 10 km per hour and covered the short stretch in five minutes. People came into droves for this short ride.
Open daily from 09.30-17.00
Vysehrad Monument Gothic Cellar
Another Vysehrad monument is the Gothic cellar once part of the fourteenth-century Royal Palace of Charles IV. Hussite troops destroyed and pillaged the palace in 1420. The Gothic cellar was reconstructed to house a permanent exhibition about the history and development of Vysehrad fortress and shows archaeological finds and religious relics. Valuable artefacts include a small cross from the eleventh century found at the cemetery and a medallion also found in the grounds. On display are articles documenting the settlement of Vysehrad articles related to activities of Vysehrad canonry from the 11th to the 20th centuries.
St Peter and Paul Church
Vysehrad’s centerpiece is the church with two twin towers of which the spires are hollow. The design is inspired by the candle-like flowers of the chestnut trees in the cemetery next to the church. The front features three vestibules. Above the main entrance is a tympanum depicting Jesus among his disciples. Every inch of the interior is covered with gold decorations and floral trimmings. The stained glass windows depict biblical scenes. The gilded frescoes in art nouveau style show women with delicate features and flowing hair. The painters Frantisek Urban and his wife, Marie Urbanova were clearly inspired by the paintings of Alfons Mucha. The Treasure Room displays precious ecclesiastical Czech objects, illustrated manuscripts, golden chalices and gem-covered books.
Open Monday to Saturday 10.00-17.00 Sunday 11.30-17.00
Vysehrad monument includes the cemetery whose centerpiece is the Slavin Tomb engraved with the names of famous Czech people. It was designed by Antonin Wiehl, who is buried in the cemetery. The sculpturer is Josef Mauder. The two statues of women atop the tomb allegorize Mourning and Victory. Six hundred famous people are buried in the cemetery. Among them are the composers Antonin Dvorak and Bedrich Smetana, the poet Karel Hynek Macha, the writers Jan Neruda and Karel Capek. Many of the monuments, tombstones and statues in the cemetery were made by famous contemporary artists. The monument in commemorations to Antonin Dvorak was made by Ladislav Saloun who is also the artist who made the Jan Hus Memorial in Old Town Square.
Rotunda of St Martin
The rotunda is the only Vysehrad monument that retained its original appearance although it has been restored several times. It was built in the eleventh century and served as a gunpowder storage. A cannonball in the façade next to the window reminds of the Prussian attack in 1757
Guided tours by appointment
The brick gate, Cihelná brána in Czech, is part of the defensive wall of Vysehrad and was built in the nineteenth century. The gate consists of three passageways, one for vehicles, two for pedestrians. Vysehrad Monument information centre houses here and it is also the main entrance to the casemates. A 3D model of present-day Prague shows how Vysehrad developed. The exhibition consists of two audiovisual presentations. The first projects the development of Prague on a map of the contemporary city. The second is projected on the wall and provides details of certain places and buildings through historical reconstructions, images and photographs.
Metro line C Vysehrad station. Walk past the Prague Congress Centre to na Bucance street until you get to the Tabor Gate the entrance to the Vysehrad complex.
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