Prague Castle. It is as forbidding as it is magnificent with its violent stone giants greeting you at the front gate, the glorious St. Vitus, and the macabre stories about Alchemist Lane and the Hunger Tower. It is the largest functioning castle in the world, and it is a beauty at that. The area around the castle, called Hradcany, is lovely as well, with many wondrous palaces such as Schwarzenberg and Sternberg (housing Art exhibitions), the soothing Strahov Monastery and its historical libraries, and the intriguing Loreta Square, where the pilgrimage church of Loreta houses a replica of the house of the Virgin Mary, while the Cernin Palace across the square served as the SS Headquarters during 1939 to 1945. This atmospheric district is peaceful compared to Old Town and Mala Strana and provides absolutely amazing views of Prague.