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CASTLE STAIRS

Hradcany - Prague 1

GPS: 50°5'21.12"N, 14°24'0"E

   They are the following part of Thunovská Street and they lead into the front zone of Prague Castle. Castle Stairs were built as early as in 1278, soon after when Ottokar II of Bohemia had had the castle fortification re-modified. They were extended in 1670. Since 14th century title of Steps had been used, later on it was name of Castle Stairs. In 1829 naming New Castle Stairs was introduced, however name of Castle Stairs returned in 1870.
   There have always been busy and active traffic on these stairs. After they had been extended, also horses were ridden there. Mostly young aristocrats were riding like that. The older criticised on their doing. At the lower entrance to the stairs a gate was erected in 1600, it might have been done to increase Castle security. However, it was soon found as purposeless and thus it was destroyed in 1613. When a high wall was installed along the stairs towards Paradise Garden, in 1722 Czech Chamber was negotiating with sculptor Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokof, and wanted him to make plastically represented Calvary into its alcoves. However, the plan has not been realized. As the stairs were very busy, they were occupied with beggars in the past. It is said that there were tens of them. They had their own organization and strictly paid attention that no foreign transient paupers begged on the stairs.
   Indisputably a medieval development existed at the stairs. It was destroyed in Hussite wars, especially from 28th May to 14th June 1420, when the Prague Castle was besieged by united Hussite armies. Nowadays, we may admire group of mainly baroque houses in the northern side. Among them there is house U Bílého dropa no. 188, where painter Jan Zrzavý was living and where he had his atelier. This fact is referred by bust of the Master and dedication tablet. In the southern side your attention will be attracted by for example previous Theatine cloister, later Redemptorist college no. 192, or Palace of Lords of Hradec no. 193. Furthermore, there is an early baroque entrance into connecting passage leading to Thunovsky Palace.