Theresian Wing of the Old Royal Palace
The Theresian Wing of the Old Royal Palace is accessible from the Third Courtyard (through the famous Bull Staircase) and also from the South Gardens.
Royal Summer Palace
The Royal Summer Palace, also called Belvedere, was built to the order of Ferdinand I from 1538 to 1560 on the eastern edge of the Royal Garden. The gallery, provided with an arcade and rich relief decoration, is the work of Italian stonemasons and the superstructure of the first floor and its unique roofing were built by Hans Tirol and Bonifaz Wohlmut. The Summer Palace was intended to serve as a scene of events organized for the entertainment of the court and also as a feature enhancing the pleasure of a sojourn in the garden.
In the late 18th century, the Summer Palace was placed at the disposal of the Austrian army and after its stay here its reconstruction had to be started in 1836. In the course of its realization, a monumental staircase originated as well as the decoration of a hall on the first floor in the form of wall paintings portraying themes from Czech history.
The Royal Summer Palace now serves mainly for exhibitions of creative art and artistic crafts.
The Italian source of inspiration of the Summer Palace is also illustrated by the way in which the adjoining part of the garden is laid out as a giardinetto with a regular composition of flower beds. The bronze Singing Fountain is the work of Tomáš Jaroš of 1564 to 1568. The special sound of the falling drops of water, bringing the ringing of bells to mind, can best be heard directly under the wide lower bowl of the fountain.
Access to Prague Castle from the northern side, from the Powder Bridge, is gained through the Pacassi Gate and a passage way which conceals the remainders of a Renaissance gate built of massive, roughly worked stone blocks.
In the latter half of the 16th century, during the reign of the Emperor Rudolph II, both sides of the gate were lined with stables. In the 20th century these stables were converted into exhibition rooms. Prague Castle Picture Gallery was established in one part, while in 1993 the second wing of the Imperial Stables was adopted for an exposition of creative art.
Ball Game Hall
In the years 1567 to 1569, the so-called Large Ball Game Hall originated on the southern side of the Royal Garden, immediately above the slope of Deer Moat.
This Renaissance, richly decorated building has a dramatic history: until the 17th century it served successively for ball games and as a riding school and a stable. During the reign of the Emperor Joseph II, it was used as a military storehouse. In the 20th century it was damaged by static defects and gunfire. It was burned to such an extent that only the peripheral walls remained of it.
In 1952 its reconstruction was completed under the supervision of P. Janák, but the Ball Game Hall was concealed in the closed Royal Garden. It was made accessible to the public after 1989 and is now used mainly for exhibitions of creative art, concerts and important social events.
The Baroque facade of the Prague Castle Riding School from the late 17th century forms nearly one entire side of the streed called U Prašného mostu (By the Powder Bridge), which runs to Prague Castle from the northern side, across the Stag Moat.
In the mid-twentieth century the Riding School was converted into an exhibition hall.
At the same time, garages were built on the area of the open summer riding school. A garden was laid out on their roofing which affords an interesting and unusual view of St. Vitus Cathedral and a part of the northern bulwarks of Prague Castle.
The Supreme Burgrave's House
A part of the front of Jiřská street is formed by a fence wall of the courtyard of the Supreme Burgrave's House. Above the entrance gate there are four coat-of-arms of the supreme burgraves of the 17th and 18th centuries. The burgraves, whose office developed from the function of the castle castellan, deputized for the sovereign in the times of his absence. The office was held by members of the most important noble families.
The seat of the castellans and later the burgraves was evidently situated on its present site already in the Romanesque period. In the 14th century the Burgrave's House served as the temporary residence of the later king and emperor Charles IV. After the fire of 1541 the palace was rebuilt in Renaissance style. In the course of another reconstruction carried out in the 60's of the 20th century, some of the original buildings were demolished and replaced with new ones.
The Black Tower, built as the eastern gate of the Romanesque fortification system, is also a part of the area of the Burgrave's House. The upper floor of the tower served as a prison, in particular for debtors.
Jiřská street runs from the square U Sv. Jiří (St. George square) in the direction of the eastern gate of Prague Castle. Standing on the southern side in its lower part is the Lobkowicz Palace.
Dwelling houses stood here already in the 13th century. Later two large Gothic houses belonging to Czech noblemen were built on this site. The construction of a palace building was started here before the mid-sixteenth century by Wolf Krajíř of Krajek and continued after him by the lords of Pernštejn, one of the largest Bohemian noble families of the 16th century.
The Renaissance palace had four wings surrounding a courtyard and it was outstanding for its rich architectural decoration. During the period from 1651 to 1668, Carlo Luragho adapted it in Early Baroque style for Eusebius of Lobkowicz, then the Bohemian governor. Two rooms and the chapel on the first floor have been preserved in their original form.