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Prague Castle drops entrance security checks


Prague, Czech Republic – Visitors entering the Prague Castle will no longer have to go through strict security checks, President Petr Pavel announced on Monday.

“The majority of security frames – meaning blanket checks on admission – will be removed”, Pavel said during a press briefing.

“These checks have caused long queues at the entrance to the Castle and sparked strong emotions, because people who come to visit the Castle, or come here for work, and have to stand in a queue for an hour aren’t particularly happy about it.”

The measure is effective immediately for all the main entrance points of Prague’s Castle compound, and security checkpoints on Hradčanské náměstí and other locations were already being removed by police officers.

Instead of mass-scale checks, police officers will now reportedly only conduct random checks.

Installed in 2016 by former President Miloš Zeman on anti-terrorism grounds, the castle security gates have long been criticised as unnecessary by locals and blamed for creating massive queues for visitors.

A former plan to remove them last spring was eventually postponed, mainly due to the added security risks brought by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Czech Republic’s EU presidency as well as the Czech presidential elections.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Czech capital, the Prague Castle – and St. Vitus Cathedral located within the compound – attract millions of visitors every year.

As the official seat of the Czech President, it is also a hotspot of Czech democracy and political life.

Presenting his priorities for his first 100 days in office, recently elected head of state Petr Pavel last month pledged to make the Prague Castle more open to the public.

The removal of blanket security checks may only be part of his agenda to make the symbolic seat of Czech power more welcoming and accessible to the public.

“It’s also about opening up in terms of information and opening up to many arts and other events”, he said on Monday morning, distancing himself from the more reclusive and secretive nature of the Prague Castle under predecessor Miloš Zeman.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.