Category Archives: Fun
Saint Vitus’ Cathedral in Prague stands within the Prague Castle and contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. This Gothic architectural piece is under the ownership of the Czech government as part of the Prague Castle complex.
The main builder of this cathedral is the Frenchman Matthias of Arras who designed the overall layout of the building as, basically, an import of French Gothic: a triple-naved basilica with flying buttresses, short transept, five-bayed choir and decagon apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. After Matthias’ death, Peter Parler took up the job and his best contribution has been the so-called Parler’s vaults or net-vaults which have double (not single, as in classic High Gothic groin vaults) diagonal ribs that span the width of the choir-bay. While Matthias of Arras was schooled as a geometer, thus putting an emphasis on rigid systems of proportions and clear, mathematical compositions in his design, Parler was trained as sculptor and woodcarver.
The pride of the cathedral lies in the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, where the relics of the saint are kept. The lower part of the walls are wonderfully decorated with over 1300 semi-precious stones and paintings about the Passion of Christ and the upper part of the walls have paintings about the life of St Wenceslas. A small door with seven locks, in the south-western corner of the chapel, leads to the Crown Chamber containing the Czech Crown Jewels, which are displayed to the public only once every (circa) eight years.
The Cathedral of St. Vitus had tremendous influence on the development of Late Gothic style characteristic for Central Europe. Taking into account that the Perpendicular style and the use of truly extravagant vaults in English Gothic began at the very end of 14th century, it is also quite possible that it was St Vitus Cathedral of Prague that influenced the development of English Gothic.
The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is unlike other metropolitan cities. It comprises of not just the hustle bustle of urban life but also the beauty and quiet of country life. It is the political, cultural, and economic centre of Europe and features a large number of museums, along with countless theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits.
The Charles Bridge is a famous historical monument present here. It connects the Old Town and Malá Strana and is built over the Vltava River. The Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV commissioned its construction.
Its size is enormous, around 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide. Architect Petr Parléř is responsible for this Gothic style beauty. Its design is such that it has held on through so many years. Another bridge the Judith Bridge used to connect the Prague banks of the Vltava too. But unlike the Charles Bridge it gave way a long time ago.
The bridge rests on 16 arches and is protected by three towers. The Old Town side houses one of these while the other two lie on the Lesser Quarter side. These towers are magnificent with their baroque architecture and a number of statuaries adorning their façade. These statues were erected in the 1700s but today you can see only their replicas here. The originals have been preserved in the Lapidarium museum.
Matthias Braun, Jan Brokoff, and his sons Michael Joseph and Ferdinand Maxmilian are few of the sculptors whose works are found here. The statues generally depict saints and other holy issues.
The bridge is not only a popular spot for tourists but also for the locals. A large number of painters, souvenir vendors, owners of kiosks, musicians etc keep frequenting this area. If you ever visit Prague this bridge must not be left out of your list of places to visit.