Prague, May 19 (CTK) – Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech heads of state, will temporarily lift security checks for all visitors entering its area as of Monday when the Castle reopens following its closure during the pandemic, said Vratislav Mynář, a spokesperson for the president’s office in a press release Tuesday.
Moreover, all castle premises where visitors had to pay entrance fees will be open free of charge between May 29 and June 1, he added.
Prague Castle, which was closed in mid-March over the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent declaration of the state of emergency in the Czech Republic, will reopen to the public on May 25.
Under incumbent President Miloš Zeman, access to the Prague Castle has been complicated for both Praguers and tourists due to security measures. Personal checks of all visitors to the castle grounds were implemented at all entries in the summer of 2016, provoking public outcry.
The castle was closed gradually in connection with the coronavirus crisis with tours of its interiors closing first, followed by other premises and galleries situated at the Castle. The daily changing of the guards at the first courtyard was also suspended. The entire Prague Castle complex closed on March 12.
Mynář said the decision to life security checks at the entrances to the Prague Castle is connected with the checks at the borders. Many risks are related to the situation abroad and terrorist attacks, he added.
He also said that he considered the protection of cultural heritage and the visitors to the castle a priority.
Mynář told CTK last week that the Prague Castle Administration had suffered a financial loss of some 115 million crowns due to the closure, while the Presidential Office would know the exact sum after the summer season only.
Prague Castle is one of the most popular heritage sights in the country, annually visited by two million people, both Czechs, and foreign tourists. It houses the president’s office.