Czech Republic

Vysehrad: My Secret Castle in Prague

Allison Body is a student at Rockhurst University and an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures blogger corresponding with a 3rd grade class in Texas. Allison is currently studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic on an ISA Fall 1 program.

Me at the top of the cliff overlooking Prague and the Vlatva River

Read any guidebook about Prague and it will tell you all about the Prague Castle.  The Prague Castle is in every major picture of Prague on every postcard.  What no guidebook or postcard will tell you is that Prague has another castle: Vysehrad (pronounced Vish-rad)—my favorite place in Prague.

I heard about Vysehrad from one of my professors.  He showed us a picture of it and told us it was an old Slavic castle with statues of the gods that ancient Czechoslovak people worshiped.  All I noticed in the picture were the beautiful trees with yellow leaves, and since I was feeling homesick for parks (there isn’t a ton of green space in Prague itself), I decided I had to go there.

View of the rooftops from Vysehrad

I have been to Vysehrad four times now and I’ve discovered a beautiful old church, the graveyard where one of my favorite Czech artists (Alfons Mucha) is buried , and of course colorful trees and lots of open space.  All of that would be reason enough to keep going back, but on a recent trip there to throw around a Frisbee, we made another discovery: the Vysehrad ruins.

Castle ruins

I loved the shadow of the tree on the river

My friend Andy found them on the edge of a little cliff that we had not explored yet, and a few of us spent almost an hour there just sitting and admiring the view of the city and the Vltava River that flows through the city.  I could have stayed there all day imagining what the ruins had looked like when they were part of an actual castle, what that room had been used for, and who else had sat there admiring the river.  Maybe an ancient Czech princess?  I like to think so.

There is so much that I love about Prague, but I think if anyone traveling ever asks me what to see in Prague, my answer will be Vysehrad.  Just go sit above the ruins in Vysehrad and let your imagination wander.

Sitting and staring at the ruins for as long as my friends would let me.

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