The main entrance to Prague Castle from Hradčanské náměstí is certain to impress any first-time visitor. Going through the wrought-iron gate, guarded at ground level by colorful Czech soldiers and from above by the ferocious Battling Titans (a copy of Ignaz Platzer's original 18th-century work), you enter this courtyard, built on the site of old moats and gates that once separated the Castle from the surrounding buildings and thus protected the vulnerable western flank. The courtyard is one of the more recent additions to the Castle, designed by Maria Theresa's court architect, Nicolò Pacassi, in the 1760s. Today it forms part of the presidential office complex. Pacassi's reconstruction was intended to unify the eclectic collection of buildings that made up the Castle, but the effect of his work is somewhat flat. Try to arrive on the hour to witness the changing of the guard; the fanfare reaches a peak at noon with a special flag ceremony in the First Courtyard.
První nádvoří, Prague, Bohemia, Czech Republic