In the 10th century, 70 years after the establishment of Prague Castle
, a church and fortified trading post were built on a cliff top overlooking the Vltava River
, on the heights of Vysehrad.
In 1085, Vratislav II, a prince of Bohemia's founding Premyslid dynasty, built a castle here and Vysehrad, or the "Castle on the Heights", became the stronghold of Prague. This lasted 40 years, before his successors returned to Prague Castle, and the city developed around that area instead.
Although not much remains of the castle today, Vysehrad Park none-the-less makes a pleasant excursion out of the hustle and bustle of Prague's city centre.
Few areas of Prague are as quiet and peaceful as Vysehrad. Visitors can enjoy pleasant walks through the landscaped gardens, and admire fine views over the Vltava River from the remains of the castle walls. The gardens at Vysehrad also make a good place for a picnic.
The Vysehrad complex covers a large area, with several interesting parts to explore. The two dominant spires seen from all around belong to the St. Peter & Paul Church. The impressive interior of the church has been restored and is open to visitors.
Many of Prague's great artists, scribes, musicians and politicians lie buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church. Most notable are the graves of Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and Alfons Mucha.
Other attractions include huge statues depicting figures of Czech Mythology, some pleasant cafés and the Rotunda of St. Martin. The rotunda dates from the 11th century and is one of the original rotundas of the city.
You need a few hours to explore Vysehrad. There are a few cafés on site, serving snacks, and hot and cold drinks. It makes for a nice visit at any time of the day. The views at sunset can be impressive too.