Old Royal Palace

This area was reputedly the first ducal court, most probably built of wood as early as at the end of the 9th century. Gradually, the stone palace was constructed, with significant Romanesque-style reconstruction works carried out during the reign of Dukes Soběslav I and Vladislav II in the 12th century. The former initiated the new castle fortification, starting with the reconstruction of the Royal Palace, and founded the All Saints Chapel within the castle premises. Vladislav II, his successor, pursued this direction further; he founded Strahov Monastery and ordered for the construction of the most ancient Bohemian stone bridge, called “Judith Bridge”. Later, this bridge was replaced by the famous Charles Bridge.

Further reconstruction works were carried out under the reign of Charles IV in the 14th century. Charles’ architect, Peter Parler, also reconstructed the All Saints Chapel. Later on, as a consequence of the 15th century Hussite Wars, the palace was abandoned, and the first king to have moved back there was Vladislav II of Hungary at the turn of the 15th century. In fact, it was he and Master Benedikt Ried who engaged further palace reconstruction. In 1502 Vladislav Hall was built, famous for its magnificent rib-vaulting. Moreover, Master Benedikt Ried also created the adjacent Riders‘ Staircase and the Louis Wing, the latter under the reign of Louis II of Hungary.

In 1526, when Louis II of Hungary died, the House of Habsburg succeeded to the Czech throne, and the Palace became a venue for coronations, assemblies and important meetings. Due to severe fire damage in 1541, the Assembly Hall and All Saints Chapel had to be reconstructed. The former was a venue for Provincial Diet and Provincial Court assemblies, as well as a place where the Bohemian source of law called Zemské desky was stored. After the 1550s, construction of a new assembly hall was initiated, headed by Bonifác Wolmut.

Moreover, the Old Royal Palace witnessed the Second Prague Defenestration; in 1618, provincial Governors Vilém Slavata and Bořita from Martinice, along with their scribe Fabricius, were thrown out of a window situated in Louis Wing. This significant historical event marked the beginning of the Thirty Years War.

Last but not least, 18th century reconstruction included the creation of the Theresian Wing, used today for exhibition purposes.

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