If there’s one thing the Czech Republic has no shortage of, it’s incredible places of worship. From cloud-piercing Gothic spires to churches with miraculous healing powers, Prague bristles with extraordinary spiritually oriented architecture. A tour of these makes for a great day’s itinerary, offering a rewarding glimpse into the city’s rich history. Here, we highlight the most beautiful churches and cathedrals in Prague.
Located within Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece of biblical proportions that looms high above the city’s red rooftops. It’s a 24-hour spectacle—after sunset, floodlights reveal every ornate detail of its intricate stonework façade. Constructed over 600 years, St. Vitus is the largest and most important cathedral in Prague. Not only does it house the tombs of noblemen St. Wenceslas, Charles IV and the Baroque silver sepulchre of St. John of Nepomuk, it also contains unmissable treasures such as the 14th-century mosaic of The Last Judgment.
Diminutive compared to the grandeur of St. Vitus, St. Martin in the Wall is a characterful church with Romanesque origins dating to 1178. What this humble structure lacks in stature, it makes up for in charm with its rough stone medieval exterior and wonderfully restored and refreshingly simple interior. During the 13th century St. Martin in the Wall adjoined the castle wall of Prague’s Old Town, hence its name. Step inside to soak up the atmosphere of one of the oldest churches in Prague.
The legendary twin spires of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn have defined Prague’s skyline for centuries. Creating a dramatic silhouette, the towers, known as Adam and Eve, can be seen from miles around. Despite their matching appearance, they are in fact asymmetrical to symbolise the masculine and feminine. A definitive landmark of the city, the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn was built between the 14th and 16th centuries and serves as a kaleidoscopic showcase of Gothic, Renaissance and early Baroque works. Inside is a beautiful organ, dating from 1673, making it the oldest in Prague.
The Church Of Our Lady Victorious is to the Czech Republic what Lourdes is to France. Within its walls is a small wax statue—the Infant Jesus of Prague—that’s said to have miraculous healing powers. As such, the church is a popular pilgrimage site with thousands visiting each year. However, the majesty of the building itself is equally a draw. The first Baroque church to be built in Prague, in around 1612, the Church Of Our Lady Victorious houses opulent gilded statues, marble columns and sweeping high ceilings designed to inspire total awe.
A relatively young cathedral in Prague, St. Clement’s is a Baroque beauty completed in 1715 by architect Antonio Lurago. Located in the Old Town, the simplicity of its exterior belies what lies within. Frescoes painted by Johann Hiebl, decorative stuccowork created by Götzler and stone statues carved by Matthias Bernard Braun all combine to make this an absolutely breath-taking place. It still operates as a Greek Orthodox church, and St. Clement’s is also famed for its great acoustics, hence its fantastic programme of classical concerts.