The New Castle near Kunratice is a uniquely preserved medieval castle structure in Prague. It was built by Wenceslaus IV, King of Bohemia and King of the Romans (1361–1419), on the apt promontory northwest to Kunratice village. The construction of the castle which is mentioned in records as Novum Castrum prope Cunratitz commenced around 1411, as recorded in the earliest construction agreements between the ruler and the contractors. It appears to have been built very quickly because King Wenceslaus IV issued his first royal documents in early October 1412. With respect to its short distance from the residential city, New Castle was the ruler’s crucial seat; he stayed there repeatedly in his declining years and died there on 16 August 1419. Because of its strategic location close to Prague, the castle was a military base for the Catholic side of King Sigismund at the beginning of the Hussite Wars. Towards the end of 1420, an army of Praguers sieged the castle, conquered it at the end of January 1421, and damaged it. Afterwards, the castle was left in ruins and was never reconstructed. In the late 1920s, the city of Prague acquired the deteriorated castle compound and conducted archaeological research there during the years 1928–1929 which was supervised by Libuše Jansová. Parts of the castle buildings were excavated, including the grand palace and the second castle gate. However, research did not continue in the next period, and the castle fell into disrepair and became overgrown with forest.
The ruins remained unchanged until the 2012–2013 reconstruction during which a new footbridge over the trench was also built. The castle was situated in an elevated position at the end of the long promontory defined by the deep valley of the Kuntratice Stream on three sides. Originally, there was only one access road to the castle from Chodov. The castle was separated from the other parts of the ridge by a trench dug into the rock, most of which has survived. The originally irregular five-sided castle compound faced visitors with the sharp edge of the corner of the palace structure, perhaps a tower, without a cellar. The access road going across the bridge entered the castle through the first gate on its northern side. There it led into a wide Zwinger defined by the walls. The road further continued alongside the northern wall of the palace to the second castle gate where it sharply turned over a narrow-walled trench, which has survived and that was once spanned by a cradle-structure bridge into the passageway, equipped with a cellar, going to the inner courtyard. Castle buildings enclosed the courtyard on all sides, though they mostly have not survived. A large rectangular palace encompassed the northern side of the compound; the originally vaulted cellar sunken in the rock has survived from the palace that was accessed by a staircase from the castle courtyard. The profiled stone mantel is the only surviving part of the castle equipment; it is now deposited in the Lapidarium of the National Museum in Prague.
Datum vložení: 22.1.2019 | Datum aktualizace: 3.7.2020
Autor: Jaroslav Podliska