Should the St. George courtyard of the Prague Castle open to the public or not?, Source: Depositphotos

Is the Prague Castle square public or private?

Is the Prague Castle square public or private?

The legal battle has concluded one chapter but a new one might be yet brewing

The Prague Castle rises majestically above the Czech capital and is one of its premier symbols. As such most visitors to the city are eager to check it out and walk around its grounds.

However, the castle is also where the Czech Presidential Office and Residence are located. And even though Prague Castle has been declared the largest castle in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, it seems that it might just not be large enough to satisfy both the claims of the public authorities and the civil sector. These have been locked in a bitter legal battle over the issue of whether the courtyard should be open and accessible to the general public or not.

Is the Czech President acting like a monarch?

The civil society’s interests in the matter have been represented by Kverulant, a Czech NGO whose stated purpose is to advocate and fight for all issues of public interest that the citizens don’t have the time and resources to do on their own.

According to, the organization was initially successful at the Prague Municipal Court, however, the Czech Ministry of the Interior appealed the decision at the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS), which then overturned the decision of the lower-rung court.

This now means that visitors cannot freely access St. George’s Square, as the inner courtyard, located between the St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George's Basilica, is officially known. That is, the public may only be allowed on special occasions upon the discretion of the castle administration.

The argument of the court states that since this is a place where the Czech President exercises his daily duties and thus it’s a question of security.

We are disappointed by the NSS’s decision; we do not understand it. The way we interpret it, it means that Prague Castle does not belong to the people, but to the authorities. We are not putting up with this," said the director of Kverulant, Vojtěch Razima.

It seems that it was only the previous president who decided to restrict access in 2016, and the current one is continuing this policy. Kverulant, however, has been fighting against this for the past eight years with the argument that this is turning the Castle into an abode of a monarch akin to the medieval times when the commoners were not allowed to go inside.

Kverulant is adamant that the fight is not over, and they will appeal the decision at the Constitutional Court of the country.



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