Vyšehrad – Cradle of Bohemian Legends

Vyšehrad – Cradle of Bohemian Legends

image002Vyšehrad—the castle on the rock, is literally the stuff that Czech legends are made of. According to the ancient tales, Vyšehrad was the royal seat of Queen Libuše of Bohemia, the fabled mythic matriarch who founded the pre-Christian dynasty of Bohemian Kings and served as her people’s prophetess and tribal judge. It was from the rocky cliff of Vyšehrad—high above the Vltava river—that Queen Libuše had her vision of “a great city whose glory will touch the stars” and ordered the Czech tribes to build a castle and to begin settling the town that would become the dazzling capital, Prague.

Vysehrad1Your 2 hour guided walk of the Vyšehrad hill and the fortress that it dominates today allows you to take in grand panoramas of Prague fabled cityscape to the north and picturesque bends of the Vltava river to the south. In the company of a historian you discover the wealth of fascinating sites which remain at today’s Vyšehrad complex, including Prague’s oldest Romanesque Rotunda, the hoary St. Martin’s, dating from the 11th century; the National Cemetery, full of ornate art nouveau gravestones preserving the memories of Prague’s greatest artists and musicians, Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and Alfons Mucha among them; the monumental spires of the neo-gothic Church of Peter & Paul with wall-to-wall art nouveau mosaics adorning its interior; and the Casemates, passages within fortress ramparts, opening onto a monumental underground hall showcasing the original Baroque statues removed from the Charles Bridge.

Vysehrad2In addition, larger than life sculptural ensembles of legendary characters help you envision the myths of Prague’s origins related by your guide, including the tale of the Queen Libuše’s marriage to a common ploughman and the story of the maiden army which went to war against the tyranny of men after her death. At the same time, you will discover that the national significance of the Vyšehrad complex extends beyond the sum of its legends. A fortified settlement appeared here sometime during the 10th century and it was here that the Přemyslid denarii (the first coins of the Bohemians) were minted at the end of the 10th century. In the 11th century, King Vratislav I actually transferred the royal seat from Prague Castle to Vyšehrad so that it has served as the home of Bohemian sovereignty on two illustrious occasions in Prague’s history.

Vyšehrad rewards visitors who explore it with a profound experience of Czech history, panoramic vistas and fascinating sites that take us from the earliest Bohemian legends of the Prague’s origins to the gravesites of the greatest of Czech artists from the 19th- and 20th-centuries.

Vadim ErentVadim Erent Born in St. Petersburg, Vadim immigrated to the USA at 13. He did graduate work in Slavic Studies at the University of Chicago, then spent a decade travelling through the United States as an interpreter for the US State Department. He has lived in Prague since 2003. An art critic and literary historian, he contributes articles to Literaria Pragensia Books, the affiliated press of the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University. Vadim’s photography has been featured in Vlak Magazine, Grasp Magazine, The Humanities Review and Streetnotes. He is editing a book of essays on Serbian filmmaker Dusan Makavejev, to be published by Literaria Pragensia Books in Fall 2015. After years of giving tours of Prague to friends and family, he founded Insight Cities to offer in-depth experiences to a wider group of visitors. Vadim is married to Insight Cities co-founder Bonita Rhoads. They are the parents of a little Pražačka, Lucy, born in Prague in 2008.
Alex WentAlex Went Alex Went attended Cambridge University, where he took his MA in English Literature. Since first visiting Prague in 1991, he has developed a close association with the city, and has adapted a number of Czech works in translation for the stage, including Bohumil Hrabal's Too Loud a Solitude and The Diary of Petr Ginz, a moving account of the life of a Jewish boy in 1940s Prague. As well as being an accomplished writer and poet, Alex is the curator of The Prague Vitruvius, an online guide to the history of the city's architecture.
GeorgeGeorge Thompson A citizen of the United States, George has lived in cities around the world. He has degrees in physics, the Japanese language and in architecture. George has a passion for uncovering the details in all that surrounds him which has led him to discover hidden and overlooked sites in the Golden City. His tours are bent toward exploring the beauty of the buildings and gardens of Prague that express the ideas and culture throughout the city’s long history. He loves photography and will point out photographic shots along the way. George's work experience in small-town preservation and the urban fabric of community development lend insight into Prague's history.

 

Insight Cities arranges this tour only for private groups with advance notice, at present. Thanks for emailing us at [email protected].

Private Walk (1-6 People) $225
Private Walk (7-10 People) $270

 

Groups of over 10 should contact us at [email protected] in order to get a special rate for their party.

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