When in the Czech Republic, you surely visit Prague. When you visit Prague, you surely go to the Prague Castle and when at the castle, you surely see the Prague Castle Guards.
Ah, what a sight they are.
We think they are all so handsome!
Oh my goodness!
We enjoyed the sights.
We enjoyed them immensely.
And the best part…
They are strategically positioned here, there, everywhere!
Such interesting… uniforms.
Thank you Prague Castle!
The Changing of the Guard is a must see…
The ceremonial Changing of the Guard including a fanfare and the flag ceremony happens daily at 12.00 noon in the first courtyard.
The Changing by the Castle gates happens on the hour from 7.00 to 20.00 in the summer season and on the hour from 7.00 to 18.00 in the winter season.
Summer uniform or winter uniform, standing in their booths or walking around, they are a sight you do not want to miss.
For those of you interested in a little more than the eye candy, they have a useful purpose as well…
But first, aren’t these some of the nicest looking men?
There is just something about men and uniforms….
And these guys all just look… well…
Let’s just go with that.
The Prague Castle was most likely founded in around 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty (Přemyslovci). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m².
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, consisting of a large-scale composition of palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles, from Roman-style buildings from the 10th century through Gothic modifications in the 14th century. The famous Slovenian architect Josip Plečnik was responsible for extensive renovations in the time of the First Republic (1918-1938).
Since the Velvet Revolution, the Prague Castle has undergone significant and ongoing repairs and reconstructions.
About the Prague Castle Guard
The Castle Guard is a Brigade-equivalent military unit with total strength of 653 personnel, including 81 commissioned officers, 75 senior non-commissioned officers, 377 junior non-commissioned officers, 77 enlisted personnel and 43 civilian employees.
The Castle Guard comprises:
- Command and Staff
- 1st Guard Battalion
- 2nd Guard Battalion
- Castle Guard Band
- Support Company
- Command and Staff
The Castle Guard command is a body to provide direct command and control of units, branches and sections, and to coordinate and manage their interactive operation. Its further responsibilities include public diplomacy, personnel management, financial and legal issues for all Castle Guard units and components.
The staff provides a comprehensive support to day-to-day operations by individual Castle Guard structures through the Operations Department and the Support Department.
The mission of guard companies of the 1st and 2nd Battalion is to perform external security duties at the Prague Castle compound, the Lány Chateau and other facilities used by the President and his guests for temporary residence, and to provide their defence in crisis. In addition to that, their mission is to perform parade and protocol related activities.
The Castle Guard Band
The Castle Guard Band provides musical support to all protocol ceremonies relating to the execution of the powers vested with the President. The CG band is involved in organising and performing musical accompaniment to funeral ceremonies and remembrance functions in the territory of the Czech Republic. Organises and supports activity of small brass orchestras, fanfare groups and dancing orchestra. The Band also plays in seasonal musical production on opening the Prague Castle’s Southern and Royal Gardens as well as in services and other acts held by the Czech Armed Forces Military Chaplaincy.
The support company provides support to the Castle Guard units in performance of their missions. To achieve that, the company comprises a transport platoon, motorcycle platoon, support platoon and canine platoon.
The transport platoon provides transportation of persons and materiel according to requirements by the Castle Guard and the Military Office of the President into designated locations.
Its primary mission is to perform motorcycle escorts of the President of the Czech Republic and heads of foreign states during official visits and calls with the President or the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.
In addition to that, members of the unit perform specific missions according to requirements by the Castle Guard and the Military Office of the President using various types of specially modified road and enduro BMW motorcycles.
The support platoon provides Castle Guard units with materiel support to enable the performance of their principal missions.
Members of the K-9 platoon support guard units are primarily involved in delivering active security of the President’s places of residence. Both sentry dogs, prepared for guard duties in close contact with handlers, and special dogs, for example with training for detecting explosive devices, are employed to that effect.
The Castle Guard is a specific unit of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic directly subordinate to the Military Office of the President of the Czech Republic. The Castle Guard service personnel are selected and recruited from the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, and, after the introduction of all-volunteer service, also through direct recruitment from the civilian sector based on specific criterions.
The Castle Guard’s mission is based on assignments defined in Section 28 the Act No. 219/1999 Coll., on the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, which defines that the Castle Guard:
- Performs external security tasks to guard the Prague Castle, provides its defence and performs external security and defence of facilities that the President and his guest temporarily use;
- Organises and performs military honours, primarily in official visits by other states’ representatives and during the calls heads of diplomatic missions have with the President;
- Must not be used for performance of other tasks than those defined under a. and b. above, without the approval of the President.
Facility Security and Defence
The provision of external (perimeter) security and defence of facilities used by the President and his guests in the peacetime primarily involves performance of guarding duties in relation to defined structures, specifically safeguarding facilities against access by unauthorised persons and assigning forces and assets to defend them. In states of emergency resulting from non-military crises (such as terrorist threats, major public disorders, industrial accidents especially those involving hazmat, natural disasters) called in the Castle Guard’s area of territorial responsibility, or during the state of crisis following a military threat to the Czech Republic (such as violent action by foreign powers using military force, extensive sabotage activities, military aggression), the Castle Guard performs specific missions defined under the Contingency Plan of the Office of the President and the Castle Guard’s Combat and Mobilisation Readiness Plan.
Arranging and performance of military honours primarily involves protocol and representation activities of the President associated with the performance of his constitutional powers, with the performance of his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic and with supporting other protocol and representation activities mandatory for the President.
Furthermore, military honours are conducted as a part of official events hosted by the President at the Prague Castle or in facilities used by the President for temporary residence, and honorary escorts and funeral functions in the whole territory of the Czech Republic.
We love the Prague Castle Guards – one of our favorites to visit when in Prague.