27 June 2006

Pražský Hrad Part I: Chrám sv. Víta

Ah, finally, a post about the Prague Castle. This must be the most important and most famous attraction of Prague, and I actually spent two days exploring the whole place. And yes, the ticket for the whole compound is valid for two days, so they know that it is indeed so big that one needs a break in the middle.

I guess I do not need to say that in case you find yourself in Prague and you only have a weekend to spare, then without question, the castle should be your destination. The entry ticket can be bought for a specific site within the castle, or one may also buy a ticket that would cover the whole castle, thus gaining entry to every important site inside. I bought the complete set, which costs 350 Kč, but since I am a student, I got it for half-price.



So, the approach. One thing that leaves room for improvement is the guards and their booths. I find the booths too cheap, and it resembles more of a doghouse than a guard booth. Although the changing of the guards that happens every hour is amazing, and people line up to watch the ceremony.

The picture above shows the side entrance leading to the second courtyard. If I remember correctly, there are three gates that would gain entrance to the castle compound. This is the second largest gate.



So one goes through these Gothic arches, and then one finds oneself at the second courtyard. This is where the people usually gather, where tour guides congregate and explain the sights and sounds that can be found in the castle.



Then, voila! The largest church in Prague, the Cathedral of St. Vitus. It is so big that the façade cannot even fit into my viewfinder. And space does not permit me to move back so that I could capture the whole thing. It is a good thing that I went there early June, when the tourists aren’t here in jaw-dropping proportions yet, but now, people would line up in order to enter this church. The area up to the nave is free, but one needs to pay (and payment is included in the ticket that I bought) in order to get inside the choir and the area behind the altar.



So, a view from the back of the cathedral. Notice the tall lines of the pillars in both sides of the cathedral. This church definitely is the most impressive Gothic structure here in Prague.



Notice the zig-zagging pattern of the roof.



On the nave, there are plenty of smaller rooms around it, those whom they call chapels. Behind these chapels are fantastically-designed stained glass windows. There are plenty of beautiful designs, but the most beautiful one in my opinion is the one shown above. That window was designed by the famous Art Noveau artist Alfons Mucha (oh I love his work: I even bought a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle of his artwork) depicting the lives of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Due to the fact that his style is Art Noveau, that particular stained glass window stands out from the others.



After the series of chapels, there is this Crucifixion sculpture, by Czech artist František Bílek. This sculpture was finished in 1899.



The carvings are amazing as well, as can be seen in these door panels inside the nave.



I then looked behind my shoulder, and then noticed the intricate designs on the pillars of the church. Look at the different miniature paintings on the staircase panels.

That’s just the nave. The choir and the ambulatory aren’t even shown yet, so you better wait for the next post. That just shows how big the cathedral is.

2 comments:

  1. just love glass windows. im a big fan. galing kasi eh. dunno how they do it!

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  2. Great shots!!!
    Mostly I love the one with the zig-zagging pattern of the roof...

    LIW, I am still not completely healthy in these days cause my spine is still sensitive with burdens. So I try doing all things that I like - sleeping, swimming, moving, shooting photos, writing.
    You see a bit vacation for me too... :-)

    Have a nice time in Prague!

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