This and That

Random bits of my life

St. Vitus Cathedral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 21, 2013

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St. Vitus Cathedral, located in the Prague Castle complex, could be called the Altneu cathedral. Although it was founded in 1344, much of the building was constructed later. The neo-gothic facade (above) was designed around the turn of the 20th century by Josef Mocker and finished in the 1950s. Construction was rather slow for 600 years. The St. Wenceslas Jubilee in 1929 provided the final push in the 1920s. The entire western half (i.e., the entrance, above) of the cathedral is neo-Gothic (Victorian period), but the elements blend together well. The cathedral is the largest church in the country (124 x 60 meters) and contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. The photo above doesn’t really do it justice. The courtyard in front of the cathedral is rather small, so I had to use a wide angle lens and stand directly in front.

View of the nave, looking towards the west. The rose window, which doesn’t show up very well in this photo, was designed by Frantisek Kysela in 1925-27.

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View towards the eastern end of the nave, taken in the transcept.

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Peter Parler’s splendid net vaults were possibly inspired by English Gothic architecture. Parler was the master builder who took over construction in 1352, when he was only 23 years old. The vault style is characterized by the doubled diagonal ribs and are not merely decorative. They provide additional support for the ceiling. (I took this photo with a wide angle lens in the transcept, looking straight up. That always makes me a bit dizzy.)

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Southern portal, also called the Golden Gate, because of the gold mosaic of the Last Judgment.

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South portal,  showing the Last Judgement mosaic, below the windows of the St. Wenceslas chapel. Kings entered through this doorway for coronation in the chapel.

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Last Judgment mosaic

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Gilded ironwork on south side.

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