Hrad - The Prague Castle
Initially a small plot of land running from Castle Square - which was at first occupied by a market - and a few modest houses scattered between Loretanska Street to the south, and Karovnicka Street to the north, the burg of Hradschin was only transformed after the fire of 1541 that saw the aristocracy and clergy gather here to be near to the Castle to build palaces and churches. Although the monumental group of buildings forming the Castle and its gardens are the major attraction to the east of the area, Loretta Square to the west is another centre of interest with its sanctuary. Opposite is the imposing Cernin Palace (1669-1679) that its owner wanted to surpass the Castle itself. Developing a long facade with a high ground floor of bosses crowned by around 30 column shafts, the Palace was transformed into a hospital, then barracks, before housing the Foreign Affairs Ministry since 1919. Between Loretta and the Cernin Palace, the small and ancient Capuchins Convent finds refuge at the point where the tortuous New World Passage plunges northwards. At the other end, you will find Strahov Abbey, and Pohorelec Square - named after the fires of 1420, 1541 and 1742 that marked its history - which opens to the east towards Loretanska Street where the magnificent street lamps form a guard of honour towards the Castle that can be reached by the stairs of the City Hall.