The deep natural gulch that surrounds the Prague Castle got its name after the deers, that used to be kept there since the 16 th century. It is spanned by a big Powder Bridge from 1770, which connects the Royal Garden on one side with the Prague Castle on the other side.
Animals raised in the Deer Moat
Originally, the purpose of the Deer Moat was to protect the Prague Castle. In the middle ages, there were vineyards on the southern slope of the moat. The deers were raised there from the end of the 16 th century till 1740s and it was also used for hunting. In 1741-42 all the deers were shot by the French army that occupied Prague at the time.
The Emperor Rudolph II. kept lions in the Deer Moat in the 16 th century, as a symbol of the Bohemian Kingdom (a lion is pictured on the Bohemian national emblem).
There used to be a wooden Powder Bridge over the Deer Moat since 1534, then it was replaced by stone dyke in 1770. It probably got its name after the Powder Tower nearby. It divided the gulch to Upper Deer Moat and Lower Deer Moat.
Secret shelter of the Communist representatives
During the Communist era, the pavements disappeared from the Deer Moat, because it wasnīt accessible to public. Thanks to that, there are many kinds of animals still preserved there nowadays. A secret subterranean shelter for the representatives of the Communist regime was built deep in the hillside of the Deer Moat at the time.
At the present, the Deer Moat is open to public and various cultural events take place there in the summer.
Werewolf in the Deer Moat
There is a legend about a werewolf from the Deer Moat, that goes back to the era of Rudolph II. in the 16 th century. A man called Jan used to take care of the Emperorīs predatory animals and most of all of his two wolves. He was mute, but learned to howl as a wolf and one day he disappeared. Suddenly, a new big wolf was found in the Deer Moat, even the Emperor himself came to see him. The wolfīs behaviour was strange and people were afraid of him, because his eyes resembled Janīs eyes. Nowadays, the legend advises not to walk through the Deer Moat in the night, the werewolf is dangerous for dogs and for people moving quickly.