Vyšehrad and the mythical Princess

Photo by Moniek Bloks

Vyšehrad is a historic fort in Prague, located on the right bank of the Vltava River, across from Prague Castle. Within the fort stands the Basicila of St. Peter and St. Paul, which according to my guidebook holds graves belonging to “the old royal family.” So far, I’ve only found that Duke Vratislaus II of Bohemia is buried there with his third wife Świętosława of Poland.

Świętosława was born around 1046 as the daughter of Duke Casimir I of Poland and his wife Maria Dobroniega of Kiev. Świętosława married Vratislaus in 1062 and they had at least four children together. She was widowed in 1092 and lived to see all three of her sons become Duke of Bohemia. She died in September 1126. Unfortunately, it appears that nothing remains of the graves and the church was remodelled and renovated several times.

Next to the church is the Vyšehrad Cemetery, which contains the remains of many famous Czechs but as far as I could tell, there are no royals buried in the cemetery.

The area is perhaps best known for its association with the mythical Princess Libuše who was a legendary ancestor of the Přemyslid dynasty and the Czech people as a whole. The legend states that she was the youngest but wisest of three sisters. Her sister Kazi was a healer, while her sister Teta was a magician. Libuše could see the future and was chosen by her father as his successor. The legend states that Libuše stood on a rocky cliff above the Vlata river and prophesied, “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” Her tribe demanded that she should marry but she had already fallen in love with a ploughman named Přemysl. She then conveniently prophesied that she saw a farmer with a broken sandal, ploughing a field. Her counsellors set out to find the man and found Přemysl. She married Přemysl and they went on to have three sons. Vyšehrad has a statue of the couple and there are ruins called Libuše’s bath.

Vyšehrad began to deteriorate after the building of Prague Castle and was completely abandoned as a royal seat. It was briefly renovated and renewed by Emperor Charles IV but it was ransacked in 1420 and 1448. In the 17th century, it was remodelled into a baroque residence and then turned into a training centre for the army. The area is now a public park.

Entry to the park is free. The church has a small entrance fee of 50 crowns or around 2 dollars. They have an information sheet available but there are no graves listed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About Moniek Bloks 2433 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.