Gardens and Stag Moat at Prague Castle to reopen, inspections on entry abolished

People will be able to stroll in some of the Castle’s surroundings, but the main courtyards will stay closed due to the pandemic.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 30.03.2021 15:20 (updated on 08.04.2021)

Some of the grounds of Prague Castle are reopening to the public. Access to gardens and the Stag Moat will be possible as of April 2. The main courtyard of the Castle will remain closed.

Blanket security checks when entering Castle property are also ending, President Miloš Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said. Police will now run only random checks, and this policy will continue even after the current Covid-19 restrictions end.

As of Friday, people will be able to visit the Royal Garden (Královská zahrada) from the entrance by Belvedere, the South Gardens (Jižní zahrady) from the Na Opyši gate at the top of the Old Castle Steps, and the Upper Stag Moat (Horní Jelení příkop) from U Brusnice Street. The opening hours are 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. daily.

"With this step, the Office of the President of the Republic contributes to the expansion of areas that can serve as a place for relaxation, rest, prayer, or a walk in nature with a unique flora during the lockdown," President’s Office head Vratislav Mynář said on the Castle website.

Visitors will be required to have a face covering of at least an FFP2 respirator, meaning that homemade or other masks that do not meet that standard won’t be sufficient. People will also have to respect the rule of two meters of social distancing and the rules of sizes of groups. Also. Visitors must stick to the marked paths and sidewalks, and not have excessive luggage. Complete rules can be found on the Castle website.

“The entire area of Prague Castle is ready to be opened to the public as soon as the epidemiological situation and valid government regulations allow. Access to the gardens and parks of Prague Castle has been common every year since the beginning of April, when the summer tourist season officially begins,” Prague Castle said on its website. Prague Castle has been closed since Oct. 9 due to anti-epidemic measures.

People are allowed into the main Castle grounds only to attend mass at St Vitus’ Cathedral from Mondays to Saturdays at 6:55 a.m.. They can enter only in limited numbers and accompanied by a church representative who meets them at the gate. Sunday mass is streamed live. As an exception, some people can attend Easter Mass on April 4, but they are encouraged to register in advance. The services will also be streamed.

Recent upgrades to the Castle security system have made the former mandatory inspection policy unnecessary.

“After the evaluation of the current security situation and in connection with the strengthening of the camera system and other elements of protection, the security checks at the entrances to the premises are canceled at Prague Castle,” the Castle website states.

The change will not reduce the quality of protection of Prague Castle and its visitors, according to the website. The entrances will still have security equipment and be guarded by the Czech Police, who will still do random checks, and Castle Guard.

Security checks at the entrances to the Castle were introduced in the summer of 2016. At least at the beginning, they generated long lines in front of the entrances. People had to go through metal detector frames and get their luggage checked. Critics said the measure was useless, but the Presiden’ts Office argued with the need to ensure the security of visitors.

The president's residence at Lány Castle will also open to the public on April 2, and will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.