Prague Castle, the largest castle complex in the world, is a delight to photographers and other artists for its perfect location on a hill overlooking Prague’s medieval architecture. The castle started out as a small fortress, on high and easily defensible terrain. The Vltava has an ugly tendency to flood periodically, and when it does, it wreaks havoc upon the buildings and bridges in its way. Prague Castle, being on the hill, is impervious to such whims of nature. The first building in the castle complex was the Church of the Virgin Mary, in the 9th century AD. In the 10th century, Vratislaus I founded the Church of St. George, in which the remains of his mother, St. Ludmila, wouldRead more.

Boleslaus (Boleslav) gained his peculiar nickname for an act of particular brutality. His brother was Wenceslas I (Vaclav). Wenceslas, as the older brother, was the Duke of Bohemia. Boleslaus, at the instigation of their mother, Drahomira, murdered Wenceslas and took the title. Boleslaus and Wenceslas were the sons of Vratislaus I (Vratislav), who died in battle in the year 921. Their grandparents, Borivoj and Ludmila, were baptized by St. Methodius, who, along with his brother Cyril, popularized Slavic (rather than Latin) Christianity in Bohemia and Moravia. After the death of Vratislaus, Ludmila took charge of caring for and educating Wenceslas, while Drahomira took care of Boleslaus. Drahomira had been a pagan, and perhaps still was. Some believe that this isRead more.

Ottokar I (Premysl Otakar I) was the first true King of Bohemia. Prior to his time, the country had been ruled by dukes. He was a member of the famous Premyslid dynasty that ruled the nation for centuries. Under the reign of Ottokar I, the German population of Bohemia grew steadily, with towns and cities springing up around the region. Bohemia was anything but a calm and peaceful place during the time of Ottokar. The future king was born circa 1155, but was not known as the ruler of Bohemia until 1192, when Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV granted him this recognition. Unfortunately, he was soon the former ruler, as he made the unwise decision to enter into a conspiracyRead more.