Prague Castle hosts Open Day to kick off the new year

The Prague landmark will offer free access to its Museum of the Order of the White Lion, and officially reopen its art gallery, on January 1, 2023. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 31.12.2022 09:58:00 (updated on 31.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague Castle will ring in the new year by opening one of its normally-inaccessible spaces to the public for free on Sunday, January 1, 2023. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic, the Castle will also present a special extended version of the changing of the guard.

Prague Castle visitors will have the opportunity to see the recently-opened Museum of the Order of the White Lion for free on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The new location, which houses artifacts related to those who have been bestowed the country's highest honor, is normally only accessible through private tours.

Prague Castle will also officially reopen its popular Prague Castle Picture Gallery, which has been closed since 2019 after lengthy renovations, from tomorrow. The Picture Gallery has been closed to the public over the past three years due to repairs to its ventilation system, with the location's priceless pieces of art dating back to the 1600s moved to storage.

Earlier this year, Castle officials stated that they didn't know when the Picture Gallery would reopen, with the landmark lacking funds to complete the renovations due to a downturn in tourist revenue in the wake of the pandemic.

A month ago, however, officials announced that the art gallery would reopen at the start of 2023 following a change in leadership at the Prague Castle Administration. Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynář called the closure of the Picture Gallery a "gross mistake by [former] management" and praised incoming officials for getting it ready for a quick reopening.

A new souvenir shop will also open at Prague Castle to kick off the new year. It will focus on including "not only high-quality and affordable souvenirs, but also more valuable souvenirs representing Czech craftsmanship and the Czech Republic," according to Prague Castle Administration head Jan Novák.

Basic entrance to Prague Castle runs 150 crowns for adults and 80 crowns for children, and includes entry to the Picture, Gallery, Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, and St. George's Basilica.

Basic entry at Prague Castle will remain free indefinitely for senior citizens over the age of 70. A trial program offering free access to senior citizens has been in place at Prague Castle since November; originally slated to end at the end of the year, it has been extended until further notice due to "extraordinarily positive response," says Vít Novák, a spokesperson for the Office of the Czech President.

At 12:00 p.m. tomorrow, visitors can also come to Prague Castle's front gate to see a special extended edition of the changing of the guard, held in honor of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic.

"During the ceremony, the national flag will be brought to the courtyard accompanied by guards," says Vít Novák.

"The changing units will honor this important event by paying tribute to the sound of the national anthem of the Czech Republic, performed by the Band of the Castle Guard, which will perform in a larger formation than usual."

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