Vyšehrad Quarter

At the rock over Vltava appeared in the half of the 10t h century, in the time of the first Czech princess, the seat, that became the symbol of the Czech statehood. Due to the legend there resided the first governors – Přemyslovci, including the legendary princess Libuše, wife of the Přemysl the ploughman. In the half of the 11 century and in the first half of the 12 century the castle was used as the main residence of the clan Přemyslovci, but still it was in the subordinate position to the Prague Castle. The legitimate part of Prague became Vyšehrad first under the governing of Charles the IV that the castle altogether with the Nové Město included in the range of fortification. The present shape got the Vyšehrad slowly from the second half of the 17 century. A lot of attention was given to Vyšehrad in the period of Romantism, mainly in the second half of the 19t h century. The Vyšehrad fortification was abolished in 1911 and since 1962 is the former Castle enlisted in the list of National cultural heritage.

Almost every Czech knows the legend about Horymir, the courageous man, who was prisoner in Vyšehrad and condemned to death. With a view to escape he asked for the last ride on his duteous horse Šemík. The castle owner ordered to close all the gates, but Horymir succeeded to escape – he spurred the horse on and to the surprise of all spectators he jumped over the fortification and leap wit the horse in the river Vltava. They swam to the other riverbank and they were rescued. Later on the brave horse died, but he Horymir was pardoned.

Vyšehrad is surrounded from all sides by the fortifications but inside in the area we can find a lot of buildings, parks, cemetery and the playground. In the area we can enter with three gates: Brick Gate, Leopold and Táborská Gates.

The Brick Gate belongs to the most valuables Empire style buildings and is situated at the frontline of the streets Vratislavova and V pevnosti. From the Brick Gate we enter the Casemates that were built during the improvement of the Vyšehrad fortification in 1742. The largest underground space of Vyšehrad, called Gorlice was built a s a part of the 33 Bastion of baroque fortification. Since the 90 of the last century the space has been opened for public and there were placed the original statues from the Charles Bridge. There take place occasional exhibitions of the fine art and also the musical and theatre exhibitions. During the third quarter of the 17″‘ century there appeared in the direction to Pankrác a new fortification with the Tábor Gate and in the other direction there is the Leopold Gate. Next to the Tábor Gate there remained the rest of the Špička – the original gothic Gate built in the period of Charles IV, on the present we can find here the Information Centre. Not far from here there is the Jedlička Home for disabled people; one of the buildings of this institute is placed at the Vyšehrad, other three buildings not far from here. Thanks to the initiative of the doctor Rudolf Jedlička served this classicist building in 1912-1913 like the school and sanatorium for the disabled children. In the Street V pevnosti is situated the St Mary Chapel in the Ramparts from half of the 14t h century. In the years 1741-1748 it was renewed in the baroque style and in 1882 rebuilt again. At the St Mary Chapel in the Ramparts there has been in 1933 built a pseudo-baroque building church Stětí sv.Jana Křtitele. The oldest preserved building at Vyšehrad is the Rotunda of St Martin supposedly built in the half of the 11th century. After this area was changed into the military fortress this building was used as the gunpowder magazine and in the 19th century as the store. The devastated rotunda bought in 1875 the Vyšehrad capitulary and rebuilt it. The last reconstruction was made in the 70 years of the last century. Not far from the Rotunda of St Martin there is an interesting baroque devotional pillar. In the northwestern part of Vyšehrad is situated the Štukový sady with the gothic monument and the bust of the prior Václav Š t u k . The equestrian statue of the St Wenceslas is a copy of the original baroque monument made by Jan Jiří Bendi in 1678. The original is placed in the stone collection of the National Museum in Výstaviště, Praha 7. Other park is the Karlách Gardens, named after its founder prior Mikuláš Karlách, which statue was dedicated and blessed in June 2003. Further we c an find here the statue of the St John of Nepomuk, pseudo-gothic well and baroque fountain that was in the past placed at various places of Prague. Attraction of the Karlách Gardens is the so called Čertův sloup – Devil’s column, strange column made of three stone shanks, which comes probably from the Romance basilica.

One of the legends about the Devil’s column tells that one priest make a bet with the devil for his soul if he says the mass before the devil brings the stone column from Roma to Vyšehrad. The Priest askedfor help the St Peter and that really helped him. The devil was defeated and broke the column. The enraged devil is sometimes to be seen walking around the column.

The dominating point of the Vyšehrad i s the Capitulary and Parish Church of the St Peter and Paul in Štuková Street which is according to the last research from years 1968-1991 dated around 1070. The church has a shape of a three-aisle basilica. During the time the building has been rebuilt, broadened and altered, the last general repair was made in the years 1988-1992, when the gothic paintings were revealed and renewed. The inside furnishings was created mostly in the secession or pseudo-gothic style. To the older work of arts belong e.g. the painting All saints in the chancel, six baroque paintings of the saints in the side chapels, the Statue of the Virgin Mary from the half of the 17th century and the canonry banks from the second half of the 17th century. Further we see there the Roman tomb, associated with the St Longinus and dated to the beginning of the 12l h century. In 2002 there took place an important finding – in one of the baroque shrines has been found the shoulder-blade of St Valentine that is known as the patron of the lovers. The effort for founding the cemetery as a memorial of our leading personalities grows stronger since the sixties of the 19t h century. Finally the Czech public agreed that the place which is mostly connected with the Czech history is Vyšehrad and that’s why it is a suitable area for the cemetery of the Czech eminent personalities. At the Vyšehrad cemetery we can admire plenty of sculptures and headstones made by the artist from the second half of the 19l h and 20″1 centuries: Josef Václav Myslbek, Stanislav Sucharda, Bohumil Kafka, Jan Štursa, František Bílek, Břetislav Benda, Karel Lidický, Václav Levý, Karel Dvořák and many others. The dominating place of the eastern side is Slavín, founded as a joint crypt for the most important Czech personalities. Its construction was made on the impulsion of the burgess Petr Fišer and the Vyšehrad dean Mikuláš Karlách in the years 1889-1890. The design was made by Antonín Wiehl and the sculptures The Genius of the Homeland, the Cheering Homeland and the MourningHomeland created in the years 1892-1893 by Josef Mauder. The epigraph at the monument says „Ač zemřeli, ještě mluví” (though died, they still speak). In 1999 there took place the inauguration of the memorial of the Czech actors without the families – “Pomník českých herců bez rodin” where were first entombed the actresses Vlasta Fabiánova (1912-1991) and Ljuba Hermanová (1913-1993). The memorial owned by the Artist association is made of 2 meters high granite column with a bronze cross and part of the curtain and theatre mask. In the graveyard there is made little round Chappel of 1880, decorated by the sculpture of St Ludmilla from the 18 century made by Michal Jan Josef Brokof. In the close neighbourhood of Slavín there is situated the New and Old Provost’s House – Nové a Staré proboštství, across from which stands the sculpture of St. Sebastian from the half of the 18 century. All over the whole Vyšehrad there are made the sightseeing tours with the resting-places from which is a beautiful view on Vltava and the town. From other interesting places at Vyšehrad it is necessary to remind the Summer Scene, The Parish clerk House in Štuková Street, Canonry House in Soběslavova Street No. 14, in its neighbourhood there were discovered the grounds of the St Lawrence basilica built in the second half of the ll, h century, the New Deanship – Nové děkanství, remains of the former armoury from 1665 that is to be find in the park wall, the Museum and grounds of the Old Royal Palace and the former bridge. At Vyšehrad there are also situated all the four statues from the sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek depicting the Lumír and a Song, Ctirad and Šárka, Záboj and Slavoj and Přemysl with the Libuše. Until 1947 were this sculptures placed at the Palacký Bridge and in 1948 were most of t h em moved to Vyšehrad, only the sculpture Přemysl and Libuše as late as in 1978. At the rocky hill, under which there was built a road tunnel, there is saved the relict of the so called Libuše Bath from the 14th and 15th centuries, originally it was the station-house above the river.

The rakish princess The strange shape of the rocky hill caused various legends about the abuses which made here the princess Libuše. It is said that she had here the bath altogether with her lovers and when she was bored of them, she dropped them in the river.

Behind the medieval building of the former burgrave office from the 14 century were saved the relics of the original gothic cellar. The remain of the watch tower from the middle Ages was restored an there is placed the Vyšehrad Gallery, where take place the fine art exhibitions, not far from here we can also see a medieval Well.

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