What does actually the word casemate mean? A casemate is a structure of vaults and corridors inside mainly Baroque and Classicist military fortresses used for defence, imprisonment of enemies and as a storage of military material. One of these structures can be found at Vysehrad in Prague.
Let’s look back to the history of Vysehrad, especially to the 17th century. In 1650 Ferdinand III started to build there a Baroque fortress. In 1742, during the French occupation, French armies built a casemate in the fortress. Later Prussian and Austrian armies improved it. The narrow corridors, a part of the casemate, with embrasures for guns are about 2 meters high and 1,5 meter wide. Although the corridors are very extensive, visitors are now allowed to see about 1 kilometers of them. After a several hundred meters the corridors lead to a vault called Gorlice where soldiers used to gather. Now this vault contains some of the original statues from Charles Bridge in Prague.
Vysehrad casemate was once almost completely damaged. In November 1744 the Prussians wanted to blow up the fortress when they were leaving Prague. They brought 133 barrels containing gun powder to the casemate. The last soldier was supposed to light two fuses which would start the explosion. Three brave Vysehrad men went down to the casemate and were lucky enough to find the fuses. At the very last moment they managed to removed them. For such a brave act they were rewarded by Maria Theresa with an annuity.
The casemate contains an electric lighting installed there by famous Czech inventor, electrical engineer and entrepreneur Frantisek Krizik. Although this lighting is not working any more, it is still significant for the ingenious accomplishment.
How to get there:
The closest metro station is Vysehrad (red line C) about 15 minutes of walking far. Another option is to continue from tram stop Vyton (trams no. 3, 7, 16, 17 and 21) via Vratislavova street up the hill. At Vysehrad consult the map of the area.
|April – October||daily||9:30 – 18:00|
|November – March||daily||9:30 – 17:00|
Basic 30 CZK, reduced 20 CZK, family 60 CZK, children under 6 years old free
The casemate has a barrier-free access but an accompanying person is recommended. The surface of the casemate is uneven.