To many people St. Vitus Cathedral is Prague Castle
. While the Prague Castle complex houses many buildings, St. Vitus is the one that dominates the skyline wherever you are in city.
St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála svatého Víta) is a Gothic masterpiece, and the spiritual symbol of the Czech state.
The cathedral was commissioned by Charles IV, and construction began in 1344 on the site of an earlier 10th century rotunda.
Its first builders, Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler, built the chancel with a ring of chapels - St. Wenceslas Chapel, the Golden Portal and the lower section of the main steeple.
However, it took almost six centuries to complete, with the final phase of construction in the period 1873-1929.
As well as being the largest and most important temple in Prague, St. Vitus Cathedral has also overseen the coronation of Czech kings and queens.
In the chancel of the cathedral, in front of the high alter, is the royal mausoleum. Below this, in the crypt, there are the royal tombs. Czech kings and queens, and patron saints of the country are interred here.
The Great South Tower of the Cathedral was founded in the late 14th century, then reconstructed in the 16th and again in the 18th centuries. The tower holds the biggest bell in the Czech Republic, called Žikmund, which dates from the 16th century. Visitors can climb the tower. It has 287 steps and is more than 90 metres high. The views from the stop are worth the effort.
St. Wenceslas Chapel is decorated with frescoes and semi-precious stones. And a door in the south-western corner of the chapel leads to the Crown Chamber in which the Bohemian Coronation Jewels are stored.
It is free for visitors to enter the first part of St. Vitus Cathedral. A ticket must be purchased to visit the whole cathedral.
To discover more about Saint Vitus Cathedral, take a Prague tour:
Prague Grand City Sightseeing Tour
Prague Grand City Sightseeing Tour & Boat
Prague Intro Sightseeing Tour
Best of Prague Walking Tour
Prague Explorer Walking Tour
Prague Castle Walking Tour.