Prague Castle is one of the city’s must see attraction. Perched on top of a hill it is actually a collection of buildings and in the centre stands the Gothic mass of the Cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert – usually shortened to St Vitus’ Cathedral. It was founded on 21 November, 1344 but it took quite a few years to build – it was only finally finished in 1929. For much of the time between it stood only partially completed
Some parts go back a long way – the beautiful Chapel of St. Wenceslas, was built between 1344 and 1364. But the nave was only finished in the early 20th Century – the foundations only being laid in 1870.
The castle and the cathedral are essential stops for all the tour parties, although the castle didn’t seem to be quite so crowded as the old town. Most of the tour parties only pop into the end of the nave, where entry is free, to look at the stained glass and along the length of the building. They crowd into a roped off area. So fr those of us prepared to pay for a ticket we could walk round the building and get a close up view and it wasn’t too crowded, at least during our visit.
At first glance it’s very much a gothic building with large windows, many with beautiful stained glass, pointed arches, ribbed vaulting and flying buttresses. But as it was built over such a long period there are also Romanesque and Renaissance features. And contemporary artists were used to decorate those sections built during the early 20th Century, so there’s even a few touches of Art Nouveau.
A clock with two faces – one showing the hour and the other the minutes.
Inside, looking down the Choir
and down the Nave with its large Rose window
The stained glass in the windows of the nave, installed in the early 20th Century, were designed by contemporary artists including Alphonse Mucha famed for his Art Nouveau style posters
A closer view of some of the panels
and windows by other artists from around the same period (I didn’t make a note of their names)
This wooden sculpture of the crucifixion (1899) is by a well known Czech sculptor František Bílek. It reminds me a little of some of Eric Gill’s work.
This stained glass window is in the south transept is by Max Švabinský, and depicts the Last Judgment
This fresco is in one of the side chapels
A Gothic staircase
The most ornate part of the Cathedral is St Vitus’ Chapel where the saint’s remains are kept. Visitors aren’t allowed inside but can take a look (and take photographs!) from the outside. But my pictures really don’t do it justice
Some of the decoration reminded me of the Secessionist paintings by Gustav Klimt