Vyšehrad—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.
Your 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.
In 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.