The castle is the other way! Of course, this sightseer is aiming in just the right direction to see the Dancing House upriver.
While Prague Castle’s position on a hilltop is apparent from the south side, the opposite side of the fortress is equally isolated from its surroundings by a steep and wooded hillside.
I’ve long looked to capture gradients from nature to civilization in my images, but I think this one captures a gradient, instead, through time. The foreground, among the Royal Gardens of Prague Castle, seems so ancient in contrast with Old Town in the middle-distance and the twentieth-century additions to the city on the horizon.
The compactness of European cities, particularly ones like Prague that are situated in valleys, leads to these kinds of spectacularly vertical spaces. Each street seems to be stacked nearly on top of the next.
On the hilltops above those city streets, inside Prague Castle, the space continues to be used efficiently.
Above the castle structures, the spires of St. Vitus Cathedral continue the verticality.
So many of our days in Prague were gray and overcast; the rooftops were the main source of color.
On the second-to-last day of our week, however, blue skies and sunshine finally revealed a city of far more vibrant hues.
St. Vitus Cathedral is at the heart of Prague Castle and just as grand as words like “cathedral” and “castle” imply.
Inside was thoroughly saturated with visitors.
By comparison, much of the rest of the castle seemed empty. Given that this was the winter “refresh and repair” season, we weren’t surprised.
The hilltop above Prague, now the site of Prague Castle, has been continuously inhabited since prehistoric times. Events of enormous historic importance (like the Defenestrations of Prague) happened via windows looking out on a very similar view.
This is the picture of Prague from every postcard and stamp, and it just happened to be across the street from our hotel: the Charles Bridge over the Vltava River, with Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral rising above. The dramatic clouds made an effective backdrop for the horde of gulls winging above it all.