Cathedral of Saint Vitus

Few can suppress emotions, standing in front of this Gothic Catedral. The full name of the main Czech temple is the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert.


The church we see today is the third one standing on this site. In 925, Duke Wenceslas founded the St. Vitus Rotunda here. In 1061 it was rebuilt into a more spacious basilica by order of Duke Spetygnev. And in 1344, Charles IV achieved that the Prague bishopric became an archbishopric. On this occasion, he decided to build a Gothic cathedral.

Photo of St. Vitus Cathedral at night

The French architect Mathias of Arras took over the construction. He died in 1352 before the cathedral was built. Charles IV entrusted the unfinished building to twenty-three-year-old Peter Parler. He completed the creation of the vaults, built the chapel of St. Wenceslas, the Golden Gate, and the lower part of the south tower. At the end of the 14th century, the temple was closed with a temporary wall. And construction stopped almost entirely for 500 years. Only in 1859, a special commission was charged to complete the cathedral. First, they worked on the restoration of the Gothic part and then built the new western part of the temple. This work was completed only in 1929.

Photo of the Second Courtyard of Prague Castle


The western facade of the temple is impressive first of all for its height. After all, your eyes have no chance to embrace it. You cannot step back as the courtyard is quite small. The height of the western towers is 82 meters. Between them, we can see a rosette window with a diameter of 10 meters.

There are three portals with bronze gates on the western side of the cathedral. The reliefs on the north (left) gate is dedicated to St. Adalbert (Vojtech), on the south (right) to St. Wenceslas. On the central portal, you can see scenes from the construction of the temple. The sculptures depict the saints, King Charles IV and the first Archbishop of Prague, Arnost of Pardubice.

And if you look closely, you can see four male busts in quite modern clothes right under the rosette window. These are the architects and artists who completed the construction of the cathedral: Josef Moker, Kamil Gilbert, Zdenek Wirth, Frantisek Kisela.

Photo of the Third Courtyard with St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle

The tallest church tower in Prague divides the southern facade into two parts. Its height is 99.6 meters. Everything on the left of the tower is a Neo-Gothic part and was built in the 19th-20th century. Everything on the right is from the 14th century. Behind the window with gilded grate is the largest of Prague's bell - Sigismund. Its weight is 16 tons! Do not miss two unusual dial plates on the tower. The top shows hours, the bottom shows minutes. But both are parts of the same mechanism from the 16th century.

Photo of the fourth courtyard, Prague Castle

Golden Gate on the right from the tower was once the main entrance to the cathedral. Look at the priceless mosaic above the gate! It was created in the 14th century and depicts the last judgment.


St. Vitus Cathedral is imposing in its size. The length is 124 meters, the maximum width - 60 meters and the height of the vaults is 33 meters. Twenty-eight columns support the vaults. A wreath of 19 chapels surrounds the side aisles. Stained-glass windows are from 1925 -1939. They were created by Max Svabinsky, Frantisek Kisela, Alfons Mucha, Karl Svolinsky, and others.

Many Czech dukes and kings (including Charles IV and Rudolph II), bishops, archbishops, and other high-ranking officials are buried here. According to the 14th-century traditions, only the highest representatives of state and church could be buried in the cathedral. Despite this, we can find gravestones of the builders - Matthias of Arras and Petr Parler - in the Waldstein Chapel. Also, four saints - St. Sygizmund, St.Adalbert, St. John of Nepomuk, and St. Wenceslas - are buried in the cathedral.

Photo of the Third Courtyard with St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle

Chapel of St. Wenceslas

The most valuable chapel is the chapel of St. Wenceslas. The chapel of St. Wenceslas is considered the pearl of Gothic art. The gilded walls are decorated with one thousand three hundred forty-five semi-precious stones from the Czech lands. The Wenceslas's tombstone is still located where it was first placed in the Romanesque rotunda of St. Vitus.

Photo of the fourth courtyard, Prague Castle

A small door in the chapel leads to the room where the coronation jewels of Czech kings are kept. Among them is the 14th century Gothic St. Wenceslas Crown. According to legend, anyone who puts it on his head, without having the right to do so, will face inevitable death. During the Nazi occupation, they say, Reinhard Heydrich - Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia - tried it on. After a while, he died from wounds received during the assassination attempt.

A small part of the cathedral near the western entrance is entirely free to visit. But to see the entire temple, you will have to buy a ticket. Information on opening hours and entrance fees can be found at the Prague Castle website.

This website uses cookies to improve your site experience. By proceeding, you are accepting our privacy policy.