On crossing the Charles Bridge from Old Town, one of the first landmarks in Mala Strana (“Lesser Town”) is the Baroque St. Nicholas Cathedral (yes, that Saint Nick).
St Nicholas’ dome and bell tower
Built between 1703 and 1752, the church is a great example of high Baroque decoration, which I personally find to be extremely gaudy, with every nook and cranny filled with a gilt or marble statue.
High Baroque altar
The cathedral is not free to visit, but if you purchase a ticket for a concert here, it includes the admission, a fair deal.
The ceiling has a lovely, huge fresco, according to this site, it’s one of the largest ceiling frescoes in Europe at 1500 sq. meters.
The statues surprised me with their violence; Most feature some Jesuit saint or another smiting, jabbing, stabbing, or prodding some hapless person.
It’s a pretty large cathedral, about 120×180 feet, and the main dome is an impressive 210 feet high.
Altar of St. Nicholas
We saw a nice organ and voice recital here, although I was disappointed that they used a side concertina rather than the huge main organ, which Mozart played when he visited Prague. Nonetheless, the acoustics are very good, and it wound up being the only concert we attended while in Prague.
Gilt and marble, anyone?
The interior is a little overwhelming with all of its decorations!
Door to the bell tower
Another way to experience the cathedral is to walk the 300 steps up its bell tower, which is the same height as its dome.
1980s communication tower
From the tower, an impressive view of central Prague is afforded. During communist times, it’s rumored that the state police spied on western embassies from here, as it is just a couple of blocks from embassy row. Here above the streets you get a unique perspective on the hustle and bustle of cars, trams, and pedestrians:
Tram #22, the tourist express
American embassy’s gazebo
Looking toward Charles Bridge
St. Nicholas from the end of the Charles Bridge
St. Nicholas, at least either the interior or the tower, if not both, should be on anyone’s itinerary, as it doesn’t take much time, and is an excellent example of its style, even if it is one that does not personally appeal to me.
- Part 1: Vysehrad
- Part 2: Vysehradsky hrbitov (Vysehrad cemetery)
- Part 3: Karluv Most (Charles Bridge)
- Part 4: Vaclavske namesti (Wenceslas Square)
- Part 5: Letecke Muzeum Kbely (Czech Air Force Museum)
- Part 6: Stare Mesto (Old Town)
- Part 7: Staromestske namesti (Old Town Square)
- Part 8: Prazsky orloj (Astronomical Clock)
- Part 9: Josefov (Jewish Quarter)
- Part 10: Vltava River
- Part 11: St. Nicholas Cathedral (Chram sv. Mikulase) <– You are here
- Part 12: Wallenstein Palace (Valdstejnsky palac)
- Part 13: Kampa Island
- Part 14: Mala Strana street art
- Part 15: Petrin Hill
- Part 16: Mala Strana
- Part 17: Mala Strana house signs
- Part 18: Strahovský klášter (Strahov Monastery)
- Part 19: Schwarzenberský palác (Schwarzenberg Palace)
- Part 20: Toy Musuem
- Part 21: St. Vitus Cathedral gargoyles
- Part 22: St. Vitus Cathedral (exterior)
- Part 23: St. Vitus Cathedral (interior)
- Part 24: Prazky Hrad (Prague Castle), I
- Part 25: Prazky Hrad (Prague Castle), II