Exploring Snowy Vyšehrad in Prague, Czech Republic

in Pinmapple3 months ago (edited)

Prague boasts dozens of marvelous routes more than suitable for a Wednesday Walk. Exploring Vyšehrad is the top choice, especially when it's covered in a snow blanket. Formerly a castle steeped in old Bohemian myths and legends, and later a fortress that never served its intended purpose of defending Prague, Vyšehrad is now one of the best places in Prague to hang around or meditate. Perched on a rock above the Vltava, it used to mark the southern edge of Prague for centuries, now defining the boundary of the historical city center. Join me as I take you around and share bits of the local myths. Let's start our journey by entering through the Tábor Gate in the southern part of the Baroque wall. You can easily reach it by metro; get off at the Vyšehrad station and follow the signs.

I appreciate the distinction between the inner and outer portals' appearances. A rear view of the gate we've just passed offers another perspective.

A quick side note – darkness sets in around 4 pm during this time of the year, so despite wrapping up my workday early, all the pictures are night shots. Darkness combined with snow enhances the atmosphere and suits Vyšehrad exceptionally well.

Following the trail, we come across a touristy bar before encountering an unexpected institution in such a fancy site—the Jedlička Institute. It was established in 1913 as the oldest facility dedicated to caring for disabled children and adults in 1913. This building serves as a school and kindergarten for kids with physical disabilities and combined physical and mental challenges.

We've wandered between the fortress and the outer fortification wall so far. This is the fortress wall and the Leopold Gate, named in honor of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.

And now, we step into places with thousands of years of history. Just outside the gate, the Rotunda of St. Martin from the late eleventh century lures everybody's attention. Embedded in its wall is a cannonball—a remnant from when Vyšehrad faced shelling by the Prussian army in 1757. Can you spot it in my photos? By the way, the rotunda remains a place of worship to this day.

I mentioned that Vyšehrad is a place to relax. No true Czech could unwind without downing a pint or two—call it beer yoga if you like. Anyway, welcome to Na Hradbách (literally On the Rampart) just next to the rotunda, a fantastic cultural venue, bar, and café, quite possibly the only bar in Vyšehrad where the locals actually go. In its vast garden, you can catch regular concerts, literary events, and alternative theatre performances. It might look a bit blunt without the usual crowd, but let's, at the very least, enjoy the view of Prague.

Unfortunately, I was a bit behind schedule. I didn't want to march somewhere when the temperature dropped far below zero. So instead of some beer sampling, let's cross over to the other side of Leopold's Gate and walk along the ramparts, but on the ones that lead towards the river.

This is usually one of the top lawns in Prague, smooth as a cashmere carpet. It’s still somewhere underneath all the snow :)

The ramparts.

The Vltava.

The seemingly lifeless sticks are vines that belong to the Vyšehrad Chapter, established in 1070 when the royal seat shifted from Prague Castle to Vyšehrad Castle.

Ah, yes, I encountered an angel, a devil, and that's St. Nicolas in the middle. We have this tradition where, on the 5th of December, one day before the saint's day in the Catholic calendar, these three figures roam the streets, rewarding well-behaved children and admonishing the spoiled ones. However, in the Vyšehrad Chapter, they adhere to the 6th, so the gang appeared there today instead.

In the mid-19th century, the Czechs realized their lack of national identity. People had abandoned Czech as their language and got disconnected from their traditions and history. This void spurred the emergence of the National Rebirth movement. Unfortunately, while aiming to resurrect the national spirit and revive history, we inadvertently created some chapters, filling in blind spots. These statues from 1898-1897 demonstrate that, depicting old-bohemian myths as real events.

The Maidens' War story is explained in this older post of mine, where I visited a brewery which names its batches after its characters.

These two figures are Libuše and Přemysl, the legendary 8th-century founders of the Přemyslid dynasty. According to the myth, Libuše resided in Vyšehrad and could foretell the future. She is said to have prophesied about Prague: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." However, historical evidence contradicts this, indicating that Prague and Prague Castle are older than Vyšehrad.

The Basilica of St. Peter and Paul is the most significant church in Vyšehrad, and not only thanks to all the spotlights. It was founded as a chapter church in 1070 when the royal court moved there. However, it was a small church that grew to its present size only after Baroque reconstructions at the beginning of the 18th century. The current appearance is the result of a late 19th-century neo-Gothic rebuilding, so the basilica suffered a similar fate to the Powder Tower, which I covered in last week's entry.

Adjacent to the basilica lies a VIP cemetery, and I'm not joking—its name, Slavín, shares the same root as the Czech word for fame, "Sláva." Almost every OG of the National Rebirth movement rests there, probably disapproving of me writing this post in a foreign language. Among the world-know notable figures, you'll find composers Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Jaroslav Heyrovský, and the most prolific goal scorer in the history of football, Josef Bican.

Saint Ludmila, the mother of the patron saint of the Czech country, Saint Wenceslas.

This is a lesser-known side road from Vyšehrad down to the Vltava River. In the background, you can see the glowing Prague Castle.

St. Wenceslas cannot be missing in such a place :)

The Vyšehrad summer amphitheater was established on the ramparts in the 1990s and is performed from May to September when the weather is favorable.

As there was no show today, I could at least enjoy an exhibition of animal snowmen.


New Provost Residence

According to legend, a priest from Vyšehrad made a pact with the devil named Zardan, gambling for the life of a woman possessed by the devil. He pledged his soul to the devil if he could bring a stone pillar from St. Peter's in Rome before the priest finished Mass. The devil found this proposition too tempting to resist and accepted the bet. Failing to win, he angrily slammed the column to the ground, causing it to shatter into three pieces.

It's worth noting that the stone has no origin in or around Prague, and on particularly hot summer days, it emits a scent of sulfur. Could the legend be true?

According to classical archaeology, it is a pre-Christian monolith utilized for astronomical purposes, dating back to sometime between the 5th and 10th centuries AD. But that's too boring, isn't it?

St. Adalbert of Prague

The New Dean Residence

Here, I returned to the rotunda, ready to walk down a somewhat slippery slope towards the northern gate, Cihelná brána. Finished in 1842, it also acts as an entrance to the Casemate. These underground passages extend for several kilometers throughout all the walls and are accessible during the tourist season.

"Cihelná brána" translates to Brick Gate. To the best of my knowledge, it stands as the sole feature of Vyšehrad in the Empire style.

And that could be it. But it's not, because I'll take you to the river under Vyšehrad rock. And on that occasion, I have a unique world experience for you. This triplex was built in 1912-13 in the cubist style. Yes, it really is cubism, and Prague is perhaps the only city that can boast several realizations. Here, in a somewhat secluded spot between the river and the rock, architecture lovers from all over the world stop by.

My path leads to the rock, though. A few weeks ago, I shared the legend of Horymír (well, yes, it was a beer-related post. How did you know?), who, riding his faithful horse Šemík, jumped off the Vyšehrad rock to escape from his execution. Allegedly, he jumped from where the ruins of the watchtower now stand. The tunnel dates back to 1905.

It is high time to bid farewell to Vyšehrad with its massive walls, hop on the tram, pass through the tunnel, and head somewhere warm. See you next Wednesday!




This post is for #wednesdaywalk by @tattoodjay :)

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a walk in history loved your post and walk starting with that first shot of the gate and the sheen on the paved road through the gate

Thanks for joining the Wednesday Walk

have a great day

Thanks for coming up with and promoting the idea ;)

Beautiful pictures in the dark, which are contributed by the reflection of the snow. the part of the city you visited, above the center of Prague, left a strong impression on me. I visited it during the day, and I had no idea that it had such a beautiful atmosphere at night.

Wow, I am glad to hear this post affected you so much :))

I've been to Prague twice as a tourist, I was amazed... To me, the Czechia is somehow fairy-tale like. I just published a post yesterday when I visited Karlovy Vary. A beautiful city...

You saw Mikulás in this lovely walk. 😍

Well, an angel and the devil too hahaha, and also a few snowmen snowanimals 😁

I had the same issue naming those snow creatures correctly. They obviously cannot be snowmen ;) But snowanimals sounds weird :)

Although it sounds weird, snowanimals is the right word!

...Or maybe snowcreatures sounds better, I don't know. Anyway, a few years ago, when we were at the right time in the right place and had the opportunity to play with snow, we made some creatures. My son made "something" that nobody could recognize. He said they were snow fleas hahah. Don't ask why fleas, hahaha, it was his idea 😂

Snow fleas are a brilliant idea :) Snow flakes fly, don't they?

Those are creatures for sure. And I think someone did a boob job on the one that looks like a cat, since kids would hardly do that themselves :)

Yeah, wanted to point out that detail on the snowcat, but then I thought I better skip mentioning it 😂

It was just adjusted a bit to become a true creature :)) These things happen when people mess with plastic surgery :)

During this season, when it snows like this, it's fun to walk around the city, everything looks white.

Until the snow melts to a gray mush :)

After visiting Poland and Krakow for the first time, and seeing these photos from Prague, I think that the next visit has to be Czech Republic! So much history behind those stonewalls, and night photos look great combined with snow and lights!!
And those views of the town and river! 😍

Thanks for sharing!!!


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Do come! And feel free to be inspired by some of my pinned Prague posts. Many of them are artisan microbreweries that brew some of the finest batches around ;)

Ah, it feels so nice to find a familiar post since I visited Prague recently, ha! Unfortunately, we didn't have winter during our visit in September but plenty of hot temperatures. It was nice exploring it though and reviving the memories now through your post :)

Yes, this September was actually hot and sunny, way more than an average September in the past decades :)

On the other hand, late summer and early autumn are the best to explore my hometown. I hope you enjoyed the stay and tasted burčák, the semi-fermented grape juice that would have become wine if we hadn't drunk it prematurely :))

I didn't :( only some Becherovka which gave me some dizzy memories hahaha!

Haha :) I remember taking Becherovka to Spain and sharing with my friends there. They have it all blurred :))

Anyways, next time in the Czech Republic, go for burčák, if it is the season! It's available only for like two months, Semtember to October.

Will keep in mind! Thank you for the tips and tricks ❤️ And yep, I can relate! It has been quite a blurry night for me too, haha. But was definitely worth it!

The buildings are very beautiful and smells of history everywhere. everywhere is white

Yes, especially the Devil's Column smells of history sulphur :))

Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments with us. If you like history, take a look at the page. have a nice day

Awe I’ve seen many times Prague in pictures, but this is the first time that I see the city with snow. It looks so so pretty! Even more beautiful than the “normal” urban landscape it offers. Thanks a lot for sharing such a beautiful pictures!

Prague with snow cover is not quite common nowadays. Snow falls every year, but usually melts in a few days, or rather turns into an ugly brownish mush since the roads and sidewalks are treated with salts that dissolve snow and ice.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Wow, you sure had a nice time, the pictures are evidence of that. I wish I really see these sights with the snow and all, but I live in part the world where it doesn't snow, but I still hope to see it soon. Thanks for sharing these with us 🤗

Wait for your Hive rewards to pay you a trip someplace snowy :)

This isn't a bad idea at all, I'll wait and work towards it. Thank you for the tip.

Buen día,bastante creativo era la persona que inventó la leyenda del cura y el diablo, jaja ja tengo curiosidad!! Comprendo que muchos de esos lugares son públicos,pero también veo casas; esas casas son propiedad privada? Osea la gente cuenta con documentos que los acreditan como propietarios? La duda me nace es por los siglos de contrucción que tiene la ciudad

Las casas son principalmente del capítulo Vyšehrad, aunque algunas fueron vendidas o alquiladas a empresas privadas.

Ok muchas gracias. Duda aclarada.

What beautiful photos, I love that the snow is on everything that can be witnessed in each photo, as an ornament of part of the sky.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos with us, cheers! 🥰❤

Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by :)

You're welcome! 😊🤗

Post manually reviewed. 😊

Thanks :)

Really?
I can imagine how crazy it is when everywhere gets dark by 4:00 pm
Thanks for the lecture and the pictures are beautiful

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