St. Vitus Cathedral – high above the rooftops of Prague

The St. Vitus Cathedral is located on the grounds of the Prague Castle and is the largest church in the Czech Republic. The cathedral was built in gothic style. The main nave alone has a length of 124 meters and the highest tower is 99 meters high.A visit to the castle grounds is, besides seeing the Charles Bridge, the main attraction in Prague. Of course, we also wanted to visit this building because we firmly believed we had never been there before. One review of our old photo album later, however, we had learned how wrong we were.

 

1992 St. Vitus Cathedral   2015 St. Vitus Cathedral

The first picture is from 1992, the second picture was taken in 2015.

We were uncertain how much time exactly we would have to spend on the castle grounds, so we did not book any tickets or tours in advance. We decided then and there to go for the small tour, which also includes a visit to the St. Vitus Cathedral.

Tickets are available in the castle. Queues for the tickets often get quite long, so it is recommended not go to a ticket office in the first courtyard, but to walk further to the other courtyards, where the queues are often a lot shorter. Purchase a photo-approval, too, whilst at it. This allows private photography also in the buildings.

St. Vitus CathedralIn 1344, when Prague became archbishopric, St. Vitus IV gave the commission to erect St. Vitus Cathedral in its present form.
The history of the building, however, dates back much further. Construction work on this site had already begun in the 10th century. The work was never continuously, though. Construction was interrupted several times. The building work continued until the last third of the nineteenth century.

The Cathedral was used as a coronation church and burial place of Bohemian rulers throughout the years. The coronation insignia are still preserved in the crown chamber.

St. Vitus CathedralYou will enter the Cathedral through the Golden Portal, which is located below a beautiful round window.
One enters a 124-meter-long main nave, which has a height of 33 meters. It is always fascinating how the builders of the time understood how to create wonderfully light and graceful buildings.

The windows in St. Vitus Cathedral are particularly impressive. These have been designed by Mucha and Švabinský and turn sunlight into a stunning spectacle of colour.

The Wenceslas Chapel in the St. Vitus Cathedral is the most beautiful chapel. It is dedicated to the patron of the Czech Republic and was built directly above the tomb of St. Wenceslas. More than 1300 semi-precious stones were used to decorate the chapel. Frescos show biblical scenes and tell of the life of St. Wenceslas.

Opening hours:

The castle grounds are accessible:
April – October: 5 am – 12pm
November – March: 6am – 11pm

It is only possible to visit the cathedral at the following times:
April – October: 9 am – 6 pm
November – March: 9 am – 4 pm

Entry fees (2015):

The castle grounds can be viewed free of charge. Who wants to visit the St. Vitus Cathedral has the following selection:

Prague Castle – great round
(Old Kingspalast, permanent exhibition ‘History of the Prague Castle’, St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, golden alleyways with Daliborka Tower, Prague Castle Gallery, Pulverturm, St. Vitus Cathedral)
Adults: 350 Kč
Prague Castle – small round
(Old King’s Palace, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Alleys with the Daliborka Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral)
Adults: 250 Kč

There are reductions and family cards.

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