Vy?ehrad from the northwest
|Architectural style(s)||Romanesque, Gothics, Neo-Gothic, Baroque|
Vy?ehrad (Czech for "upper castle") is a historic fort in Prague, Czech Republic, just over 3 km southeast of Prague Castle, on the east bank of the Vltava River. It was probably built in the 10th century. Inside the fort are the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Vy?ehrad Cemetery, containing the remains of many famous Czechs, such as Antonín Dvo?ák, Bed?ich Smetana, Karel ?apek, and Alphonse Mucha. It also contains Prague's oldest Rotunda of St. Martin, from the 11th century.
Local legend holds that Vy?ehrad was the location of the first settlement which later became Prague, though thus far this claim remains unsubstantiated.
Legend has it that Duke Krok founded Vy?ehrad while looking for a safer seat than in Bude?. On a steep rock above the Vltava river, he ordered a forest to be cut down and a castle built there. Also according to legend, Prince K?esomysl imprisoned the knight Horymír at Vy?ehrad because he damaged silver mines, and Horymír jumped with his horse ?emík over the walls and from Libu?e's bath into the river.
When the P?emyslid dynasty settled on the current site of Prague Castle, the two castles maintained opposing spheres of influence for approximately two centuries. The zenith of Vy?ehrad was during the second half of the 11th century, when Vratislav II transferred his seat from Prague Castle to Vy?ehrad, and the original fort was remodeled as a complex comprising the sovereign's palatial residence, a church, and the seat of the chapter. The period of growth ended around 1140 when Prince Sob?slav moved his seat back to Prague Castle.
When Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV began to build the Prague Castle in its current dimensions in the early 14th century, the deteriorating Vy?ehrad was abandoned as a royal seat. Later the whole complex was renewed by Charles IV and new fortifications, with two gates and a royal palace were built, while the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul awaited repair. At the beginning of the Hussite Wars, the Hussites conquered and ransacked Vy?ehrad in 1420. The troops of King George of Pod?brady did the same in 1448. The castle was then abandoned and became ruined. It underwent a renovation in the 17th century, when the Habsburg Monarchy took over the Czech lands after the Thirty Years' War and remodeled it in 1654 as a Baroque fortress, turning it into a training center for the Austrian Army, and later incorporating it into the Baroque city walls.
The present form of Vy?ehrad as a fortified residence, with powerful brick ramparts, bastions, and the Tábor and Leopold gates, is a result of Baroque remodeling. The Cihelná brána (Brick gate) is an Empire-style structure, dating from 1841. The main part of the ?pi?ka Gate, parts of the Romanesque bridge, and the ruined Gothic lookout tower known as Libu?ina láze? (Libu?e's Bath) are the only fragments that have been preserved from the Middle Ages. The Romanesque rotunda of St. Martin dates from the second half of the 11th century. The 11th century Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, which dominates Vy?ehrad, was remodeled in the second half of the 14th century and again in 1885 and 1887 in neo-Gothic style. Vy?ehrad and the area around it became part of the capital city in 1883. The area is one of the cadastral districts of the city.