St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral (Chrám svatého Víta) is one of the most remarkable European churches. It has very tall spires. St. Vitus Cathedral can be seen from any point of Prague very well. However, we strongly recommend that you should not be limited to examining the temple from a distance. Please find time to visit it personally.
The erection of St. Vitus Cathedral began in November, 1344. Presumably, the cathedral should have become a place of ceremonies. Czech monarchs were supposed to be crowned there. There were a treasure trove and the family tomb also. Thus, at the beginning of the construction works the King Charles IV together with Archbishop Ernest controlled all the process by themselves.
The first architect, who was entrusted to construct the temple, was Frenchman Matthias of Arras. He developed the concept of structure in Gothic style that was a fashion in those days in France. But before he died he only managed to see the finished gallery and arcade.
After the death of Matthias, German architect Peter Parler continued to build the cathedral. He added his innovative ideas to the original draft.
The construction of the cathedral was finished only in 1929 – in almost 600 years after the beginning.
Perhaps none of the residents of Prague is able to object the statement that Charles Bridge (Karlův most) is a true hallmark of the city. This bridge is one of the most well-known not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the whole world. Whichever tourist route in Prague you choose, sooner or later you will find yourself on a beautiful Charles Bridge with its unprecedented beauty of medieval architecture.
Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava River. It has a rich history. This place witnessed many significant events: executions and brutal battles, burial and coronation processions of Czech kings, knights' tournaments and many others.
The bridge rests on powerful arches. There are 16 of them. The width and length of the bridge, is 9.5 meters and 520 meters, respectively. During the Baroque fashion a gallery of sculptures was established here. There were thirty sculptures in the exposition. All of them were endowed with religious overtones. Most of the sculptures were created and placed on the bridge from 1683 to 1714.
Neo-Gothic monumental staircase leading straight to the Kampa Island also belongs to the architectural complex of Charles Bridge.
Prague Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic now. This is one of the largest castles existing in the world. It is also the largest in area presidential residence. According to the data registered in Guinness World Records, the width of the Castle is 130 meters and 570 meters length.
Prague Castle is situated on a hill Hradčany which overlooks Prague. The richest treasures of history, art and architecture are located here. In addition to ordinary residential buildings, there are famous St. Vitus Cathedral, All Saints Church, Golden Lane and St. George's Basilica on the Castle territory.
During the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in the Second World War, the headquarters of Reinhard Heydrich was established in the Prague Castle. At those times he was Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. According to legend, he imagined himself a great monarch. Once he put Bohemian crown on his head. It was kept in the Castle. The old Czech legend says that the one, who entrusts the crown, is doomed to a quick tragic death. Whether this is a true or a fiction, but Heydrich really was killed in a year.
Currently, many museums of Art and History are housed in the buildings of Prague Castle. Please note that most of the rooms are available for tourists.
The National Theatre (Národní divadlo) is the main theater location not only in Prague but throughout the Czech Republic. People come here to enjoy ballets, operas and dramas. A famous Czech politician, philanthropist and active public figure Count of Harrach was the initiator of the building.
The architect who was entrusted to construct the building was Josef Zítek. He was a supporter of neo-Renaissance style. In 1881, grand opening of the theater took place. However, soon the construction was almost destroyed as a result of hazardous fire in the theater. Zitek’s follower Josef Schulz reconstructed the theatre. In 1883, the National Theatre was re-opened.
The National Theatre was assumed to be a theater platform for the promotion of Czech art to the masses. It was built entirely on voluntary donations from individuals. The Theatre marked the beginning of national musical and dramatic arts era in the Czech Republic.
Thanks to the luxury that prevails both in its exterior and interior, the theater building has always attracted the attention of tourists.
St. Nicholas Church
The baroque St. Nicholas Church is located in Prague Old Town Square. It is the main cathedral of Czech and Slovak Hussite Church. The church is located on the site of the old building. It was erected in XIII century.
A famed Czech architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer decided to restore the temple. Therefore, in 1735 the one of the most outstanding monuments of the Baroque period appeared in Prague. However, the temple was not able to serve people for too long. In 1787, Emperor Joseph II issued a decree, according to which many temples were closed, including St. Nicholas Church.
Since those times, the Church has a difficult period in its history. There were even times when the premises of the temple were used as places for food storage. The situation changed much later. The first service in the restored temple took place only in 1919 when Czechoslovakia became independent.
The temple is decorated with rich frescoes. There is the biggest pipe organ in Check Republic. It is covered by the images of gilded figures of angels. Stained-glass windows adorn the faces of St. Nicholas and St. Wenceslas.
DOX Center for Contemporary Art
If you can classify yourself as a true connoisseur of not only objects that have a long history, but also to the modern exhibits of contemporary art, you should definitely visit the DOX Center for Contemporary Art. It is located in Prague.
This center of modern art was destined to be revealed through the efforts of designer, architect and art enthusiasts Leos Valcke. For many years he had been living in Australia. From there he borrowed all his innovations. Valcke became the director of the DOX center.
Due to Valcke`s efforts the exhibition of the gallery obtained an extremely interesting and multi-faceted look. All presented works can really be called international ones. Czech and foreign representatives of modern art are given three thousand square meters to exhibit their masterpieces. It is quite enough space, is not it?
Quite an extensive area allows DOX Center for Contemporary Art combining several galleries, united in different directions. Thus, each visitor will definitely find something interesting.
Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
Josefov is a Prague quarter and the smallest cadastral area. The appearance of Josefov in the Czech capital dates back to 1850. At that very time Joseph II issued a decree which gave equal rights to Jews and Christians. Prior to this, the Jews were constantly punished. Thus, the quarter was so named in honor of the Emperor Joseph II.
At the beginning of the XX century modern highways were constructed in Prague. There were also curtained processes of city redevelopment and clearance. Consequently, a significant part of Jewish slums were destroyed. Luckily, the majority of architectural objects of historical value were managed to keep to present days.
Having found yourself in Josefov, you can visit the Pinkas, Old-New, Klausen, Maisel and High Synagogue, Jewish Town Hall, and the Jewish cemetery. Scientists call it a great luck that so many monuments of Jewish culture were saved. Indeed, during the Second World Nazis originally planned to raze the Jewish Quarter to the ground. However, later they changed their minds and decided to keep Josefov as a visual reminder of the Aryans extinct "inferior race" to future generations.
There is an office building in Prague, completed in extraordinary style of deconstruction. It is called Dancing House. The building consists of two towers of cylindrical shape. One of them, in fact, is destructive, and the second one is absolutely normal.
Locals jokingly called this structure "Fred and Ginger" in honor of the most famous dancing duo ever paired – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. And there is a good reason. One of the towers is very similar to the silhouette of a man. Another one has a "feminine waist". It is similar in shape to a light skirt of a swirling dancer.
Dancing House was built in 1996. In its place used to be a building erected in the XIX century in the neoclassical style. However, as a result of the bombing of Prague only ruins left from the building. For quite a long period of time they were a sad reminder of that tragic period.
The honor of being the authors of this unusual architect's project was borne by two architects: Frank Gehry from Canada and Vlado Milunic from Croatia. By the way, the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel personally supervised the whole process of building.
Prague Astronomical Clock
For several centuries in a row, both tourists, and the residents of Prague have been surprised by the complexity and unusual design of the Astronomical Clock, attached on one wall of the Old Town Hall. Having looked at the clock, you will learn not only the current time. You can also determine the current date (year, month, and day) and find out at what time sunset and sunrise can be observed. Astronomical Clock can also help you finding out the location of the zodiac signs.
And that is not all. Every hour, when the Astronomical Clock strikes the time, you can watch a small performance in the best traditions of medieval puppet theater. Figures which personify human vices and such dominants of life as death and imminent retribution for sins start moving. An angel raises and lowers again punishing sword, and a skeleton pulls the bell rope. At this time, the faces of the apostles alternately appear in the windows above the clock and the cock crows. After that chiming clock start beating.
This marvel of technological progress, paradoxically, was created at the beginning of the XV century. A celebrated professor of astronomy and mathematics Jan Schindel was involved in the manufacture of this mechanism.
Prague is Czech capital and, concurrently, the largest city in the country, there are more than 1.2 million people. It is situated on the hills between the river Vltava.
Where to go, what to see in Prague?
So, what to see in this wonderful place? A walk around the city should start with a visit to the National Museum. It is so great that you should enter this giant treasure only with fresh forces. And what can tourists see in Prague who are not afraid of the abundance of impressions? Of course, it is a museum of Czech glass and wax figures, toys and ancient torture implements, modern technology and medieval history.
Many of these amazing buildings in the center, where the Old Town Square is located, the heart of the Old Town, erected a dozen centuries ago. Its main attraction is the building of the eponymous town hall, decorated with special astronomical clock. This oddity, created in the XV century, is a mechanical puppet theater.
It is very difficult to choose what to see in Prague in the first place, because there are a variety of intertwined cultural trends and architectural styles. There is only a terrific imagination of St. Vitus Cathedral, the erection of which lasted for 600 years. This Gothic structure is a part of the Prague Castle, unique palace complex, which fell due to its enormous size in the Guinness Book of Records.
In this area you can get over the Vltava River on the Charles Bridge, which is considered to be the pride of the Czech Republic. Once there were jousting tournaments, this way back to his residence monarchs over the bridge carried sentenced to public execution. So, wondering what to see in Prague, Charles Bridge ignores not work in any way. Special mention are stunning Baroque sculptures decorating the bridge spans.
Lovers of antiques will appreciate the grandiose Nicholas Temple. It is the main Hussite church, and the ancient Jewish Quarter, a survivor of the Nazi intervention. And admirers of Art Nouveau await collection of contemporary art in the elite gallery DOX Center and amazing Dancing House, a recent architectural highlight of Prague. Going to the city, it is necessary to save power and emotion. The capital of the Czech Republic is ready to surprise its guests at a glance.