Visiting Prague is a unique experience for any traveler or architecture lover. Beginning with the fact that the old town follows a city plan that dates back to 1889. Moving around the old town feels like you have traveled in history and can see an actual old city. Each building with an outstanding story translated into magnificent architecture. Now, brace yourself for an enlightening journey through “The city of 100 towers.”
St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město)
We start with the most famous Baroque church in Prague and the most valuable baroque building in the north of Alps, St. Nicholas church. It took three architects and 100 years to construct this piece of art. You get this overwhelming feeling just passing by it this is due to the dynamic effect achieved by the concave-convex forms and the elaborate use of details. Furthermore, the 79-meter-high belfry and the 20-meter diameter dome give a sense of power.
Kinsky Palace (palác Goltz-kinských)
A few steps away is another glorious building by the same architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer. Kinsky’s palace is a wonderful piece of Rococo architecture, with light pastel colors that emphasized the lightness of that era. Also, the elaborate use of details along with touches of gold.
However, architecture isn’t the only mesmerizing aspect of the building. Since it oversaw amazing historic events, like the beginning of communism in the Czech Republic announced by Klement Gottwald’s. Then 42 years later, on the same day, Václav Havel declared the end of Communism. Also, Franz Kafka attended grammar school there from 1893 to 1901.
Municipal House (Obecní dům)
An outstanding Art Nouveau building houses the Smetana hall. The largest concert hall in Prague, with 1,200 seating capacity. Along with many other conference rooms, cafes, a French restaurant, an American bar, and a Czech beer restaurant all acting as walk-in museums, where you could also enjoy a nice meal or drink. Furthermore, the iconic, huge semi-circular mosaic above the main entrance giving homage to Prague considered a landmark.
Adria Palace (Palác Adria)
On the famous corner of Narodni and Jungmannova street, you will find an overwhelming rondo-cubist building. Even though the main inspiration was the Venetian palaces from the Italian renaissance, the elements of rondocubism are visible in the facade. For example, the pyramidal, recurring shapes, the 3D façade decoration, and the conservative floor plans are all elements of the style.
National Theatre (Národní divadlo)
The theatre built as a sign of the independence of Czech people and as a symbol of their national identity. Funded by the money from people in 1881 and then destroyed in a fire. Only to be rebuilt again by them in 1883. Furthermore, in the 1980s a building was added; ‘New Stage (Nová scéna)’ a brutalist style architecture building that contrasted heavily with the neo-renaissance style of the original building. Yet, this contrast gave more power and grandeur to the theatre and even the whole street!
The National Museum (Národní museum)
The largest and oldest museum in the Czech Republic. Housing beautiful and unique artifacts and displays from all over the world in the five permanent galleries; Natural science, historical museum, Czech museum of music, Náprstek museum of Asian, African and American cultures, and the library of national museum. For temporary exhibitions, you would have to visit the new building connected to the historic building through an underground tunnel.
Since the 9th century, Prague Castle stands on the hillside above Lesser town (Malá Strana). This ancient castle is the largest complex in the world. The complex includes historical palaces, offices, gardens and churches, following Baroque and Gothic architecture. The castle’s memorable churches include Virgin Mary Church, St. George Basilica, and St. Vitus Cathedral. It housed Czech royals since the 10th century, while it became the country’s presidency seat in 1918.
The largest and most important cathedral in Prague. The Gothic cathedral didn’t only perform religious services, but it oversaw coronations of many Czech kings and queens. Also, it is now the burial site of several patron saints, noblemen, and archbishops.
In addition to its magnificent history, the building has breathtaking architecture. Such as the main portal bronze door decorated with reliefs of scenes from history, with legends of St. Wenceslaus and St. Adalbert. Also, you have to check St. Wenceslaus chapel and the 90-meter-tall south tower containing the largest bell in the Czech Republic.
Derived from the castle goldsmiths, the golden lane extends by the northern castle wall. In the 16th century, and until World War II, it housed the castle guards and services. On the other hand, the lane’s colorful houses and overall vibe nowadays dates back to 1955.
Breathtaking neo-renaissance cultural and social center located on Slovanský Ostrov with a view to the National Theater and Prague’s castle stands beautifully. It holds concerts and balls, and you could also enjoy a meal at the luxurious winter garden dining room.
Prague Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj)
Prague hosts its famous Astronomical clock since 1410 at the old town hall’s gothic tower in the old town square. In the hall’s southern tower is a special stone chamber for its intricate mechanical system. This medieval Astronomical clock is the third oldest clock, functioning to this day. It is composed of three main parts, the astronomical dial, the clock, and the calendar. From 9 am to 9 pm, you can spot the crowds cheering for the show it provides each hour on the hour. The 12 Apostles go about in a parade above the clock, and the figures around it start moving along. All in all, it is an exciting mechanical, astronomical and art piece.
In the 15th century, Charles Bridge construction was complete. Until 1841, it was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the Old Town. It extends 516 meters across Vltava River, and is almost 10 meter wide, and 13 meters height. After World War II, city planners decided to limit the bridge traffic to pedestrians only, to preserve it from the tram and buses load. This medieval gothic building stands on 15 pillars and 16 arches. Three gothic towers protect the bridge, two on its Lesser Quarter side, and one on the Old Town side. With 30 baroque statues along it –mostly replicas now- Charles Bridge imitates an art museum.
Church of St Wenceslas – Vršovice (Kostel sv. Václava)
One of the most successful Constructivist buildings in the Czech Republic built with reinforced concrete by Josef Gočár. The architect inspired by the sloping terrain in the site used it in his building design, cascading walls with window strip and stepped roof that illuminates the church nave. Moreover, an 80-meter-high white bell tower with a 7-meter cross stands tall and prominent in Prague’s skyline.
The Flow building
Moving to modern buildings of Prague, we have the flow building consisting of three floors, retail and seven floors of energy-efficient and sustainable office space. The flowing ripples symbolize the flow of investment, trade, and people into Prague from all over the world. Moreover, the building set to be a landmark to the square and country.
The Dancing house (Tančící dům)
A deconstructivism masterpiece by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić stands tall on Rašínovo nábřeží street. It is a 9-floor luxurious hotel portraying Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Consisting of two contrasting masses, one a curved glass tower reflecting the femininity and fragility of Ginger and the other, a solid, organic form with cream color portraying Fred’s masculinity.
Moreover, the building symbolizes the famous velvet revolution, how the people were static and accepting, and later on rebelled and became more dynamic. Aside from the magnificent architecture, you could also enjoy the splendid top-roof restaurant and the panoramic terrace.
WeWork coworking space
Finally, if you’re an architect or have an eye for beautiful, iconic architecture, you have to check the WeWork coworking space on Národní. It has beautiful organic architecture along with the touches of greenery on the façade gives a welcoming vibe to passersby. The large curtain walls create a connection to the outside and give maximum light to the visitors. Thus, enhancing their productivity rate and their overall mood.
To conclude, exploring Prague architecture is a great journey. The city is beautifully diverse with all types of buildings; museums, churches, theaters, and many more. In addition to that, home to both historic and contemporary architecture, including medieval, Gothic, baroque, renaissance, and art nouveau architecture. All crafted with beautiful love and devotion by true masters of history.