Prague Castle guard change.
The Prague Castle guard change and ceremony is not life changing but it is interesting to watch. Normally the guards stand there and do not move. We saw the guard change twice and it was by accident. We literally walked past when they were changing and I only went to look because I didn’t know what was happening.
To my surprise, tourists nearly pushed each other out of the way to get a photograph and a glimpse of the procedure.
Duty of the Prague Castle guard.
It is the duty of the Prague Castle guard to protect the President of the Czech Republic. They form part of the Armed Forces and is directly subordinate to the Czech Military. If you have a Military background or is interested in the Military, then you will find the Prague Castle guard change interesting.
They adhere to strict protocol and each step that they take is done meticulously. It might look like they are just standing there but do not be fooled. They are highly trained soldiers and their duty is to protect the castle gates and to keep the President safe.
Prague Castle Guard change – the different ceremonies.
There is a formal change of the Guard at 12 noon. This ceremony can be seen at the first courtyard daily. It only takes place once a day and I suggest you arrive early if you want to see it. The other ceremony is much shorter and can be seen every hour. We managed to see both.
The changing of the guard ceremony is very low key. Do not expect fireworks or music. It is a simple procedure where one guard replaces the other. The formal change of the guard is more interesting with fanfare and takes a little longer.
- They stand guard 24/7.
- You can have your picture taken with one of the guards. Do not expect them to smile or move.
- They must be between 1.78 and 1.88 meters in height, and have no tattoos, piercings, earrings or facial hair.
What does the ceremony involve?
When the guards change by the hour, the procedure is quite informal. Two guards, armed and in full uniform are accompanied by a superior to the main gates of the castle. They will replace the guards at the Castle gate. There is a quick exchange of commands and the guards will change places. Once this is done, the retiring guards will leave with the same superior.
The formal ceremony is an extended version and more formal. It is a no-nonsense ceremony whereby the flags are exchanged while music is playing. This is much more entertaining and popular.
It is not the end of the world if you miss it. I suggest you see the formal ceremony but make sure to be there at least 15 minutes before the time. Remember it takes place at noon in the main courtyard.
If you want to take a good photo then I suggest you head up the hill from the main castle entrance. You will see the barracks where the Ceremony starts from. Soldiers will come through the big doors and march 400 yards down the hill to the main gates. There are less people and you will get a better photo opportunity.