A Royal Castle (until 1420)

The most illustrious chapter of the history of Vyšehrad began during the reign of Vratislaus II (b. 1061, d. 1092) who was crowned the first King of Bohemia in 1085. Because of his incessant arguments with his younger brother Jaromír, the bishop of Prague, he relocated the seat of his rule from the Prague Castle to Vyšehrad. Around 1070, he founded an independent chapter directly subordinated to the Pope there, which was provided for by vast properties. The Vyšehrad Chapter played an important role in Czech history. Since 1222, its provost held the position of the Royal Chancellor and participated in the forming of the royal foreign policy. During the reign of King Vratislaus and his successors, Vyšehrad was a busy construction site. The Romanesque Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Basilica of St. Lawrence and the Rotunda of St. Martin were built. Stone ramparts were erected around Vyšehrad and the Royal District with a palace was mapped out atop the rock over the Vltava. After Vladislaus II became Duke of Bohemia in 1140, the seat of the ruler was moved back to the Prague Castle and Vyšehrad started fading from limelight. However, the Vyšehrad Chapter retained its unique position and later, helped the House of Luxembourg to the Czech throne.

Vyšehrad gained a new importance during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV which lasted from 1346 to 1378. He considered Vyšehrad a symbol of the most ancient Czech history and the Přemyslid dynasty which he was a descendant of through his mother. He enacted new coronation rules according to which the coronation procession of the Czech king started in Vyšehrad as a token of respect to the ancestry. In 1348, Charles IV founded the New Town of Prague and connected Vyšehrad to its city walls. Within two years, the Vyšehrad fortification was expanded, reinforced with towers and the new Špička Gate was constructed. The Royal District and its several palaces underwent a general reconstruction as well as the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. This promising growth of the site was soon terminated by the Hussites who conquered and pillaged Vyšehrad despite the fortress being defended by a royal detachment. Subsequently, the ramparts facing the city were torn down and the Royal District was left in ruins. A new chapter in the history of Vyšehrad began.

This historical period is explained in more detail during the guided tour Faces of Vyšehrad - Royal Castle (only in Czech).