American television station CNN has compiled a list of the World’s Most Beautiful Castles that encompasses a variety of destinations from French Chambord to Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace and Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. Prague Castle also made the list of 21 historical fortifications deemed among the world’s most fascinating.
According to CNN, Prague’s “imposing citadel is also one of the few castles anywhere in the world that still boasts real political power — the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic.”
Among the other associated landmarks mentioned in the article are the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, ten gardens, “and a row of 16th-century cottages called the Golden Lane that once housed the castle guards.”
In the 16th century, Golden Lane also housed alchemists under Emperor Rudolph II and later on (1916-1917) celebrated writer Franz Kafka lived there with his sister at no. 22 where he was inspired to write his novel The Castle.
The Office of the President of the Czech Republic responded to the news with a statement: “We appreciate this honor and we will continue to care for this exceptional jewel in the heart of Europe.”
The enormous Prague Castle complex is listed in the Guinness Books of Records as the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square meters (750,000 square feet), with an approximate length of 570 meters (1,870 feet) and a width of about 130 meters (430 feet).
The castle is the most visited site in the country attracting 2,444,900 people annually, according to the most recent data from Czech Tourism. It dates to the 9th century.