Prague Castle remains closed, despite the easing of pandemic restrictions

The main complex may partly open for midnight mass on Dec. 24 if conditions allow

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 03.12.2020 15:20 (updated on 03.12.2020)

Prague Castle, the most popular tourist destination in the Czech Republic, will remain closed despite the easing of government restrictions to combat the coronavirus.

St. Vitus’ Cathedral, the Golden Lane, the Vladislav Hall, the Old Royal Palace and other buildings are not reopening, and people will not be allowed into the Castle courtyards.

Vratislav Mynář, who is chancellor of the Office of President Miloš Zeman, said he was concerned about the high number of people who would want to visit. Prague Castle is administered by the President’s Office.

Mynář said ensuring the health and safety of visitors remains the top priority. Measures applied for crowd safety at other museums, galleries, castles, chateaux and monuments cannot be automatically applied to the Prague Castle complex.

“It is necessary to look at the overall nature and meaning of the measures. Their application should not create situations that go against the meaning of health preservation,” Mynář said.

According to an announcement on the Castle website, the complex will remain closed throughout the state of emergency. Currently, that is set to end Dec. 12 but could be extended again.

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One exhibit is expected to open at the Prague Castle Riding School, but that building is located just outside the main castle complex. It can be reached without entering the Castle courtyards.

Dragon's breath at sunset with St Vitus' Cathedral / photo by Raymond Johnston
Low clouds at sunset with St Vitus' Cathedral. (photo: Raymond Johnston – Expats.cz)

“Our aim is to offer an interesting program, at least as far as possible. That is why an exhibition about J. A. Komenský will open in the Prague Castle Riding School on Dec. 20,” Mynář said, adding that hygiene measures for museums and galleries will apply. Jan Amos Komenský, also called John Amos Comenius, was a 17th century philosopher.

The Castle complex itself will partially open for the first time at Christmas. “Traditional midnight mass in St Vitus’ Cathedral will be open to the public on Dec. 24, 2020, under the conditions set by a government resolution,” Mynář said.

This year, the Prague Castle Administration expects revenues of CZK 120 million. “Revenues from traffic will fall by up to half a billion crowns this year due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Mynář said previously.

Most of the loss will be covered by the Prague Castle Administration from its reserves. Nevertheless, the Castle asked the government for help. At the beginning of September the government approved giving CZK 215 million from the government budget reserve to the Prague Castle Administration.

Prague Castle usually ranks at the top of the list for the most visited Czech heritage sites, with the annual number of visitors crossing 2 million in normal years.