CATEDRAL S√O VITO - PRAGA
Located inside Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral has a long history that extends from its founding in the 10th century to its final completion in 1929.
The original rotunda church was founded by "good king" St. Wenceslas in the 10th century, which was then replaced by a Romanesque basilica in the late 11th century.
Work on the present building began in 1344. Most of the work is by the 22-year-old German architect Peter Parler, who also designed the Charles Bridge and other Prague treasures.
The Hussite wars and then the Thirty Years' War halted constructed on the cathedral for several centuries. It was not until the 20th century that the western side of the cathedral and its two towers were completed. Although modern, they were constructed according to Parler's original plans.
O QUE VISITAR?
Above the south entrance to the cathedral (through the Golden Portal) is the Last Judgment mosaic. A remarkable work of art in itself, it is also notable in that mosaics are quite rare in northern Europe. The work dates from the 1370s and is made of 1 million pieces of glass and stone. In the center it depicts Christ in glory, adored by Charles IV, his wife and several saints; on the left, the risen dead and angels; and on the right, Satan surrounded by hellfire.
Inside, the square Chapel of St. Wenceslas (SvatovŠclavskŠ kaple) holds a 14th century tomb with the saint's remains. St. Wenceslas was prince of Bohemia and the "good king" of Christmas carol fame. He founded the original church of St. Vitus on this site in 925 and was killed by his brother four years later.
The Crown Chamber (KorunnŪ komora) contains the Czech crown jewels and is not open to the public. It is locked with seven keys kept by seven different people.
The Royal Crypt contains remains of various royals, but is primarily interesting for the visual history of the cathedral it provides. On the way down the stairs you can see parts of the old Romanesque basilica and the original rotunda church.
A more notable burial is the Sarcophagus of St. John of Nepomuk. According to legend, when Nepomuk was exhumed in 1721, his tongue was found to be not only preserved but pumping with blood. This tale likely served a political purpose: the Church and the Habsburgs needed a new folk hero to replace the reforming heretic Jan Hus. A few years later, Nepomuk was canonized and buried with great ceremony in the present 3,700-pound ornate silver tomb. His tongue was enshrined in its own reliquary.
The Wallenstein Chapel (ValdstejnskŠ kaple) contains the tombstones of its two architects, Mathias d'Arras and Peter Parler, who died in the 14th century.
|nome:||St. Vitus Cathedral; KatedrŠla sv Vita; Prague Cathedral|
|datas:||10th cent. to 1929|
|horŠrios:||Daily 9-5, April-October; daily 9-4, November-March|
|custo:||The western section is free; the chapels, crypt and tower require the castle-wide ticket|