St. Vitus' Cathedral, Prague

4.5 out of 5 stars 329 Reviews

Katedrala sv. Vita, Vaclava a Vojtecha 420 224 373 368
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  • Katedrala sv. Vita
    Katedrala sv. Vita
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    St. Vitus's Cathedral seen from the...
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  • iwys's Profile Photo

    St. Vitus's Cathedral

    by iwys Updated Dec 15, 2004

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    The Cathedral of St. Vitus, the massive building, which dominates the Prague skyline, is what many people actually think is Prague Castle, because although it is very much a cathedral, it is at the heart of the castle complex.

    The building has been developed, over the centuries, around the tomb of St. Wenceslas. St. Vitus's Cathedral was founded, by order of the Holy Roman Emperor, King Charles IV, the same man responsible for the construction of Charles Bridge, in 1344, on the site of an earlier church. There has been a religious building here ever since St. Wenceslas was buried on the hill, more than a thousand years ago.

    Even earlier than that, this was an important pagan site, where Svatovit, the Slavic God of Fertility was worshipped. When the Slavs converted to Christianity, the name Svatovit was changed to the nearest-sounding saint's name, which happened to be svaty Vita, or St. Vitus in English.

    Amazingly, construction was not finally completed until 1929, although, even when I was there, in 2001, there was still scaffolding and a lot of maintenance building work taking place.

    The architect who designed the fourteenth century, Gothic structure, was the Frenchman, Matthew of Arras. When he died, his work was taken up by Peter Parler.

    Inside there is a sombre, vaulted nave, illuminated by Venetian, stained glass windows, most of which are fairly recent additions.

    The Chapel of St Wenceslas was built over his tenth century tomb, in the fourteenth century. It's decorated with more than 1,300 semi-precious stones. The Czech crown jewels are stored in a locked chamber to one side of the chapel.

    St. Vitus's Cathedral
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  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    St. Vitus Cathedral

    by mallyak Updated Sep 29, 2010

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    To many people, St. Vitus Cathedral is Prague Castle. While the enormous Prague Castle complex includes many fine buildings, St. Vitus is the one that dominates the city skyline and is visible from far and wide.

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  • ruki's Profile Photo

    Prague chathedral

    by ruki Updated Nov 16, 2009

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    Located inside Prague Castle St. Vitus Cathedral is building who dominates the city skyline and Castle and it is visible from far and wide. This beautiful cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece. It is Roman Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Work on the cathedral was commissioned by Charles IV and began in 1344. The final construction was during the period 1873 -1929. There you can found the tombs of many Bohemian kings.

    March to October: Mon-Sat 09:00 – 17:00 Sun 12:00 – 16:15
    November to February. Mon-Sat 09:00 – 16:00 Sun 12:00 – 16:00

    Cost: Western section: free
    Chapels, crypt,tower: 350 Kc -castle ticket valid 2 days

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  • Rachael71's Profile Photo

    St Vitus' Cathedral

    by Rachael71 Written Jun 5, 2004

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    The Cathedral is probably on the 'must see' see list of every visitor to Prague. You can rent a 'radio guide' that tells you all about the things you are seeing (student discount available). This is very interesting, but incredibly detailed - in the end we preferred to use our guide book for snippets of information and just absorb the surroundings. Also, the guide is time-limited, so you may find yourself racing across the castle grounds to return it before the deadline! The Cathedral itself has the most stunning windows, such as the one pictured here. Be sure to take a trip to the top of the tower for fabulous views of the city

    Window in St Vitus' Cathedral

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL BELL TOWER

    by balhannah Updated Sep 13, 2013

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    The dominating features of this building are the cathedral towers, the one I'm talking about is known as "the Queen," or the "Bell Tower."
    At 96.5 metre high, the Cathedral tower was built in gothic style then the upper part merged into renaissance style. The corners of the roof are adorned by four small spires which are connected via open galleries. The main tower has a double lantern dome and is crowned with a double-tailed lion (the coat-of-arms of the Bohemia Kingdom), made with gilded copper plate. The lion is 3m in height, and holds a cross in its paws.

    The beautiful gilded grill you can see in my photo, is on the first floor of the Tower, put there during the time of Rudolf II, whose monogram is displayed a little higher up. The clock which has two faces, is like many from this period. One face shows the hours and the other the minutes!

    There are four bells in the tower, the oldest and largest is named Zykmund, made in 1549 by Tomas Jaros , weighs in at approximately 15,120 kg! It’s decorated with portraits of Ferdinand I and Anna Jagellonica.

    How did they manage to get this heavy Bell so high up in the Tower?

    You will be amazed to read it was the daughter of the king herself who created a very effective pulley, using her own hair to make the rope to pull the Bell up! Afterwards, she destroyed the machine so that nobody would know the principle of it.

    The Bell Tower has many legends too, like the one when the emperor Charles IV died, all the bells at the tower started to ring by themselves. At first people could hear the toll of funeral bells, finally all the bells in Prague followed.

    Another legend is about a prophet saying to Czech king Wenceslas IV, that he would die in front of the Bell Tower. Well, on hearing that, the The king was so scared he wanted to pull down the tower! He managed to have the first floor removed, then he heard news of the Hussites’ movement. This angered him immensely, so much so, that he had a heart attack and died!

    Like the legends - I do!
    The last is about when the heart of the bell breaks, something very bad will happen in the country. It happened for the last time in 2002, just a few weeks before the catastrophic floods in the Czech Republic!

    The tower is accessible to the public in good weather only, offering good views over Prague.
    Remember, there are 287 steps to climb.

    The Tower is open for 10 - 6pm daily
    Admission 150czk

    St. Vitus Tower St. Vitus Tower
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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    St. Vitus

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 26, 2013

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    I was so depressed after arriving from Vienna to Prague, the weather conditions in Vienna were perfect while in Prague it was gloomy and rainy. Instead of staying 4 days, as planned, I had to shorten my stay and left home after only two days because no improvement of weather conditions could have been expected. Anyway, it wasn't my first visit to Prague and I knew that need at least 4 days to visit all places of interest.
    The first half of a day, after arriving to Prague was gloomy but no rain and I spent it mostly around the Charles Bridge. The next day I went to the Old Town, exploring major sights, but very soon the rain started and I had to search for some shelter in the cafe-bars around. It is the reason why I didn't go up to the Prašky Hrad. All my pics of it, St. Vitus Cathedral including, have been taken from the right bank of Vltava River.....

    St. Vitus

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  • ncfg's Profile Photo

    Amazing Cathedral

    by ncfg Updated Jun 13, 2009

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    Just on the heart of the Castle you will find the amazing Cathedral inside and outside :-) Take a look to the photos i took.
    The entry to the church is free but you will not avail to rest on the floor or at the seats because the guards won't let you. I was so tiered because i walked until there (maybe 2 km) that i couldn't resist to sit on the floor, but i had to hear " get up, it is not allowed to sit there!"
    Anyway, you will find some benches outside to rest a while.

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  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    St Vitus Cathedral - A Must See Sight

    by Mikebb Updated May 9, 2012

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    Located within the Prague Castle precinct the Cathedral is a magnificant building. Originaly built in 926 AD , it was in 1344 that the Gothic Cathedral of today was commenced. Built by Mathias of Arras and Petr Paler it was not completed until 1929, the building being 124 metres long and 100 metres high, the vault being 34 metres. When we visited part of the exterior was covered by scaffolding and we were informed that it had been this way for the last 10 years. Entry is free, however photos can only be taken without flash. Should you wish to climb the bell tower with its many steps there is a small fee.

    Inside St Vitus Cathedral St Vitus Cathedral, Prague Stained Glass Window St Vitus Cathedral St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
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  • maple_air's Profile Photo

    Truly Majestic

    by maple_air Updated Apr 30, 2005

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    Here in the city's largest holy site, is Praha's largest church, one of the defining images of this fine city.

    Figures:

    3 -> churches have been on this site:
    1st, a chapel in 925, founded by Prince Wenceslas.
    2nd, a Romanesque basilica, completed the following century.
    3rd, is the present Gothic structure, begun by Charles IV, 1344.

    21-> total chapels in this cathedral

    28-> piers supporting the roof, with 3 tiered domes, which holds the SIGISMUND, the largest bell in Bohemia.

    297-> steps leading to the top of the tower

    108 ft.-> height above the nave
    407 ft.-> length of the cathedral

    St. Vitus Cathedral
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  • littlesam1's Profile Photo

    Katedrala Sv. Vita - Cathedral of St. Vitas

    by littlesam1 Updated Jun 15, 2004

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    Although I found Our Lady Before Tyn to be the most beautiful and haunting church in Prague, many consider St. Vitas to be the most beautiful and important church in the city. The cathedral was originally started in 1344 and was not considered completed until the 20th century. Today it houses the crown jewels and the tomb of Wenceslas.

    ST. Vitas

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  • hundwalder's Profile Photo

    Great views of old town Prague.

    by hundwalder Updated Jan 11, 2007

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    There are many locations offering excellent views of old town Prague other than from the tops of the St. Vitus bell tower and the old city hall tower. For example, there are great views of Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and upper mala strana, from the beautiful Strahov Monastery complex. This photo was taken from that location. There is no charge to visit the complex. The Petrin hill tower, Petrin hill park, Letna park, and several other locations also offer great views. The many flowering trees that bloom in mid to late April provide the perfect setting for your views.

    Allow yourself time to visit the fascinating sites missed by most tourists. You will be greatly rewarded for the minimal effort. Use Prague's excellent public transportation network to quickly get to these " remote " locations. Tram #22 will take you to Strahov Monastery and to unforgettable places along the route.

    Enjoy Prague and get local.

    Prague Castle & St. Vitus, from Strahov monastery
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  • hundwalder's Profile Photo

    Katedrala svaty Vita ( St. Vitus Cathedral )

    by hundwalder Updated Sep 17, 2006

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    Katedrala svaty Vita occupies much of the central court of Praha Castle. Thanks to this enormous cathedral's location on top of castle hill, it dominates the skyline of the Mala Strana / Hradcanny district of Praha.

    The original Romanesque Rotunda of svaty Vita was commissioned by King Wenceslas I in AD 925. The 22 year old monarch was murdered by his brother shortly after, and was entombed in the rotunda upon its completion. Construction of the cathedral was initiated in 1344 by the ambitious King Karluv IV. The cathedral was built to contain the original rotunda. Although most of the cathedral was completed within 200 years, it was not officially dedicated until 1929.

    The architecture of the enormous cathedral is mainly Gothic, as is evidenced by the numerous bold vertical arches that dominate both the interior and exterior. The architecture is heavily influenced by the Byzantine and Venezian disciplines. Most of the beautiful Venezian stained glass windows were crafted about 150 years ago. Literally hundreds of scuptures of gargoyles, saints, etc. adorn the exterior corners.

    Construction of Wentzel Tower lasted from 1406 until 1770. The upper section of the bell tower has a characteristic Rokoko double columned capital design. The two attached small towers help give Wentzel Tower a truly unforgetable appearance.

    Photo #1 shows the massive cathedral from the rear. The copper mosaic roofs over the central nave and rear chapel are true art masterpieces. The photo was made in 2002 while scaffolding for cleaning was in place. Photo #2 shows the bell tower. Notice the onion domed domes on the rooms atop the four corners of the tower. The intricate detail of the Gothic arches is much more noticeable in this photo. The photo was made in April, 2003, after most of the sandblast cleaning was completed. Notice the difference in the appearance of the cathedral.

    Photo #3 is a closeup view of the cathedral's lesser towers. The ornate Gothic exhuberance that dominated religious architecture during that era is evident.

    Photo #1: Katedrala sv. Vita viewed from the rear Photo #2: Freshly sand blasted bell tower Ornate Gothic towers of svaty Vita
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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    St. Vitus Cathedral (5 photos)

    by nicolaitan Updated Oct 13, 2006

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    The first RC church on this site was built in 925 by Wenceslas I, duke of Bohemia, consecrated to St. Vitus, because he had a holy relic - the Saint's arm. As Prague became a more important Catholic center, the church grew as well. In 1344, King Charles IV began construction of a full-size Gothic cathedral as a coronation site, burial place for royalty, and shrine for patron saint Wenceslas. Little did he guess that almost 600 years would pass before completion. The Hussite wars stopped construction which began again only in the late 19th Century. A society formed in 1844 started the reconstruction and completion, completed for the 1000 anniversary of St. Wenceslas in 1923.

    The Golden Portal and adjacent South Steeple are from plans by the ubiquitous Peter Parler, most famed for the Charles Bridge, but not finished for 200 years after his death. However, visitors enter from the west through a bronze door featuring scenes from the lives of St. Wenceslas and also a St. Adalbert. Adjacent this entrance are statues of men in suits - the architects of the 19th and 20th century construction. The back (east) facade features flying buttresses most famous at Paris' Notre Dame. The church is surrounded by the courtyards of the palace on 3 sides and faces out over the gardens to the north side.

    The Rose Window on the first image overlooks the entrance and depicts the biblical story of creation. It was added between 1925-7.

    Rose Window Base of the South Tower South Tower of St. Vitus

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL

    by LoriPori Updated Aug 29, 2005

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    Passing through the magnificent Baroque Mathias Gate to the Castle Courtyards and the Royal Palace, we come to the magnificent ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL wherein the Wenceslas Chapel houses the relics of the Czech Patron Saint.

    "The Gothic Cathedral is an exceptional achievement. The structure, dark with age and solemnity, was meant not only as the principal church of the Castle but also as the spiritual centre of the whole country." -- V. Dudak.
    I couldn't have said it better myself.

    St. Vitus Cathedral St Vitus
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  • Climbing the Tower at St. Vitus Cathedral

    by grkboiler Written Oct 30, 2004

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    After seeing everything there is to see in St. Vitus Cathedral, if you have any energy left, you can climb the 300 foot tall tower. The tower is at the right hand side of the cathedral halfway to the altar, if you are standing in the back near the entrance.

    It doesn't sound tough, but it is. 287 steps up a spiral staircase will leave you dizzy and gasping for air. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with some amazing views of Prague and the Prague Castle grounds. It is well worth the agony.

    My advice - don't climb the St. Vitus Cathedral tower and the Petrin Tower in the same day like I did. Combined with all the walking I did that day, my legs felt like jello by the time I got back to my room. Save the Petrin Tower for another day.

    The tower is available for climbing from April through October and only in good weather. You must purchase a tour package to climb.

    Exterior of St. Vitus Cathedral Tower

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