Prague: The Architectural Capital of Europe
Prague, like many other European cities, wears its history as well as its architecture on its sleeve, making it a great place to spend the weekend. During World War II, the city was thankfully spared total destruction and devastation, and this has allowed it to prosper in recent years as one of the world’s tourist hubs.
The best thing about Prague is how well its medieval core remains intact, and everywhere you look there are spectacular cathedrals, churches and monuments to gaze at. Furthermore, the Old Town and the New Town offer visitors a choice about how they want to begin, or end, their stay in the city, with countless historical attractions seamlessly mixed with modern elements. Let’s take a look at some of the must-see architecture in Prague.
Dating from the turn of the turn of the first millennium, Prague’s Romanesque architecture extends all over the city, and encompasses some of its most famous buildings. You’ll be able to spot the buildings easily, as they are often circular in design, with simpler interiors compared to Gothic of Baroque design. St George’s Basilica was Prague’s first building of the Romanesque era, and it can be found at the Prague Castle complex. Although the building provides viewers with a misleading 17th century appearance, look past this to uncover an interior made completely of stone, as well as a spectacular vaulted ceiling.
Gothic architecture is very popular with the Czechs, especially the Prague locals, and the influence of the movement can again be seen all over the city. The iconic huge towers, as well as the spires sitting on top of churches and cathedrals, are deeply embedded into the history of Prague, and they gave rise to a city during the Holy Roman Empire rule of the 14th century.
During the city’s heyday, the best architectures from all over Europe flocked to Prague to catch a glimpse of the ever-changing city landscape, each hoping to make their mark. From Peter Parler to BenediktRied, the St Vitus Cathedral to the Vladislav Hall, the Gothic architectural movement encompasses some of Prague’s greatest hits. Once you’ve booked your flights to Prague, make sure the Vladislav Hall is your first stop.
The Renaissance was an exciting period for architecture in Europe, with Prague bearing the brunt of the intricate designs during the 16th century. Many of the structures have been influenced by mythical and classical figures, with the cathedrals and churches offering superb symmetry and harmony.
Through their love of Italian style and culture, the Renaissance was brought to Prague via the Habsburgs, and with the help of their nobility the style swept across the city. These types of buildings are easy to spot, as they all offer figurative and geometric design, for example the Schwarzenberg Palace.
Do as the Locals Do
One of the best ways to experience Prague is to leave the tourist centres of the New Town, and take a walk through the Old Town. There are so many wonders to be found here, and there are even free guided tours available – just make sure you tip!