The best of the Czech Gothic: monumental royal castles, strong bridges, exquisite cathedrals and famous panel paintings.
Daring arches resembling hands clasped for prayer, complicated vaulting and high cathedral spire are the chief marks of the Gothic style. This style was in fashion in Czech architecture for a three hundred years and can be admired to this day. Come and see for yourself the famous bridges, cathedrals, castles and town walls!
Beauty captured in stone
Rosettas in the facade, richly decorated portals and complicated vaulting – ribbed, net, circular or cellar – can be viewed in, for example, the Cathedral of St. Vitus at Prague Castle, in the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in Plzeň and the Cathedral of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora. The Gothic style did not, however, bring with it only imposing churches, but also a large number of urban houses and walls; go and take a look at, for example, the unique, preserved ring of walls, with their bastions and towers, surrounding the town of Polička! Another precious monument is the stone bridge in Písek, which was built in the second half of the 13th century and is the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic. Charles Bridge in Prague, with its gallery os Baroque statues and two Gothic bridge towers, is slightly less than a hundred years younger. Also worth a look is the Old-New Synagogue, a valuable monument of the Prague Jewish Town and the oldest preserved synagogue in Europe.
Proud castles and the art of ancient monasteries
Your quest for the Bohemian Gothic will also take you from (and onto) the walls of many castles. The greatest of these is Karlštejn Castle, where you can admire the panel paintings of Master Theodoric in the Chapel of the Holy Rood. Don’t miss the fairytale castles of Pernštejn or the moated Švihov Castle, the massive Gothic bridge at Velhartice Castle and Bězděz Castle. You can also admire the Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic’s vast, ancient monasteries; take a tour of Zlatá koruna Monastery near Český Krumlov, the Porta coeli (Gateway to Heaven) Monastery in Předklášteří or the monastery in Vyšší Brod.