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Prague´s Architecture - Guide to Architecture in Prague

From EUR 96.00
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Travel back in time and explore Prague´s architecture

Prague’s architecture is spellbinding. Many architectural gems from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era remain intact because the city was not rebuilt like most European capital cities during the 18th or 19th centuries, when it was only a provincial town in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also, Prague was spared the tragic fate of cities such as Dresden during World War II.

If you want to travel 10 centuries back in time and explore all architectural styles – Romanesque, Gothic, Renaisance, Boroque, Classicism, Historicism, Art Nouveau, Cubism, Functionalism and Social Realism during Communism – there is no better place than Prague. To be sure, Prague is a sort of “museum of architecture under the open sky.”  The largest urban historical center listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this well-preserved area covers 900 hectares that includes some 4,000 monuments.

Gothic architecture

Gothic architecture made its appearance in Prague during the 13th century and consisted of pointed arches and flying buttresses. The dominating feature of Gothic architecture, however, is the ribbed vault, which featured pointed arches. The ribbed vault was popular because it was thinner, lighter and more versatile than Romanesque stone vaults, which were very heavy. Most buildings were built with stone, especially sandstone. High Gothic was popular when Emperor Charles IV was on the throne. Gothic elements can still be seen in the Charles Bridge, the New Town and Saint Vitus’ Cathedral, all of which Emperor Charles IV had built. St. Vitus Cathedral is the biggest church in Prague and home to the tombs of Bohemian kings as well as the crown jewels.

Renaissance

Influenced by ancient Greek and Roman culture and stressing symmetry and geometry, the Renaissance style first appeared in Florence during the 15th century.  Large, comfortable and light spaces helped define Renaissance structures. The horizontal was stressed in a simple form. Columns, pilaster, lintels, semicircular arches and niches were characteristic of this trend. The style caught on in Prague during the end of that century. Not only did Vladislav Hall’s windows feature Renaissance elements, but the side portal of St. George’s Church, also at Prague Castle, took on a Renaissance look at that time. Built from 1538 to 1563, the Prague Castle royal summer palace was heralded as the first Renaissance structure in Prague. Its geometric garden featured exotic plants, and its bronze fountain, called the Singing Fountain, became one of the most prominent Renaissance sculptures in the Czech lands. By the middle of the 16th century, Renaissance style was in fashion.

Baroque

Next in line was Baroque architecture, which featured monumental, dynamic effects and illusory elements. Other characteristics of this lavish style of innovative forms, light and shadow include large scale ceiling frescoes, broader naves in churches, the chiaroscuro effect, opulent ornamentation and pear-shaped domes. The name Baroque stems from the Italian “barocco,” which means strange and peculiar. Large structures were made of brick, stone or both and covered with thick layers of plaster. The movement was connected to the Counter-Reformation, when the Catholic Church implemented internal reforms. Prague Baroque flourished, making quite a name for itself in Europe. Krystof Dientzhofer was responsible for, among others, Saint Nicholas Church in the Lesser Town, which was given a Baroque look at the end of the 17th century.  It took 50 years to build the Baroque jewel that includes a three-leaf chancel and 70-meter high dome created by Krystof’s son, Kilian Ignac Dientzenhofer.

LocationPrague
Sights to SeeNew Town - Wenceslas Sq., Prague´s Old Town, Jewish Quarter - Josefov, Charles Bridge, Lesser Town, Prague Castle Complex - St.Vitus Cathedral
InteriorsMunicipal House, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church
Availability From-ToAll year round
Departure Time and Location We will pick you up at the agreed place and time, most likely at the reception of your hotel in Prague. (To be specified in the request form below)
Duration4 hours
Return Location We will finish the tour anywhere you wish in Prague.
Means of TransportationWalking and/or Walking / Public Transportation (upon request)
Required Walking AbilityMedium
LanguageAll services are in English, but exceptions can be made in advance.
Price Info
Tour Guide1-4 people (price per group) Tour Guide5-10 people (price per group) Guide + Van/Driver11 and more people (price per group) Entrance Fees(per person)
CZK / EUR / USD 2400 / 96 / 114 2800 / 112 / 133 3600 / 144 / 171 120 / 5 / 6
Payment Conditions
CommentsIn Prague, we highly recommend choosing our unique walking tours (rather than driving tours), for the most interesting places in the historical center are only accessible for pedestrians.


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