Prague Attractions – Old Castle Steps
When Prague Castle first began construction on the Opyš hill in the 9th Century it was always envisaged that there would be two entries. One from the west via what became known as the White Tower. The other was from the east which became known as the Black Tower. It’s the east side that I will describe on this post about the Old Castle Steps.
The east side of the castle was primarily used by the villages at the base of the hill called Klarov and Pisek. A road was constructed between these villages and a fortified entry area in front of the Black Tower called a Barbican (it used to be where the scenic viewing point is now). That road is still here today called Na Opyši and that remained the only access until the 17th Century.
The Old Castle Steps Gets Its Name
With Catholic victory in the Thirty Years War there then comes a period of construction in the Lesser Town that reached up the hill towards the castle. This resulted in part of the castle vineyard being walled off and between the vineyard and the new Lesser Town buildings would be a new access route called the Castle Steps.
In 1837 the staircase on the east side was renovated into it’s current form of 121 steps over a length of 230 metres and was officially renamed at that time to the Old Castle Steps (because another set of steps had been built on the south west side of the castle).
Why use the Old Castle Steps
If you are downriver from the Charles Bridge then you cross the river by Manes Bridge which brings you into the old Klarov area which is also the location of the Malostranska metro station so from here the Old Castle Steps is the shortest route to the castle.
What’s to See on the Old Castle Steps
Well I think that the long sloping cobble stone steps have their own appeal except when they are slippery.
If you are walking up the Old Castle Steps then towards the top on the left is a little cafe which overlooks the Furstenberg Gardens and has stunning scenic city views pictured above.
On the right before the end of the steps is the Karel Hašler memorial statue.
At the top of the Old Castle Steps around to the right is the upper entry to the Prague Castle ST Wenceslas Vineyard with options for eating and drinking again with scenic views.
At the top on the left (after security) is the entry to the South Gardens (Summer season only 1000-1800) again with stunning views and if you walk as far as the lookout then turn right and head up the steps which will take you to the Castle 3rd courtyard and ST Vitus Cathedral.
On entering the Prague Castle from the Old Castle Steps via the Black Tower then the first building on your left is the Lobkowicz Palace (cafe has scenic views from the open balcony area).