Exploring Prague: Religious Architecture
Prague is a city of diverse architecture – that, we all know. Throughout its long history, numerous architectural styles have helped shape the panorama of Prague as we know it today. Besides buildings that you have seen on photographs hundreds of times, there are also hidden or less conventional architectural creations which you might want to learn more about. In this article, we have decided to pick out for you three charming churches which you may or may not have seen already, and tell you more about them.
Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord
Okay, we are starting off easy. This church dominates the Jiřího z Poděbrad Square in Prague 2, so if you have been out and about in the Vinohrady quarter you most probably have not failed to notice this massive building. Have you peaked inside, though?
This unique church is the work of the Slovenian architect Josip Plečnik and was constructed between 1928 and 1932. Clearly distinct in style, the religious building showcases a mix of different influences – it draws inspiration from ancient Egypt but also from early Christian architecture while, at the same time, flaunting some Cubist details and more. Just as fascinating as the church's facade, however, is also its interior. Inside, the space is vast and open and the walls executed in red brick with bronze crosses decorating them. Hence, upon stepping in, you will likely be surprised by the atypical vibe its single nave gives off – it feels like a place taken out of a dystopian novel.
So, have we convinced you yet to make a small trip to Vinohrady? Besides grabbing a coffee in one of the many cafés around, you can also enrich your day by taking in the atmosphere of this cool church. It is open for services from Monday to Saturday between 8AM and 6PM.
Photograph: Milada13 / CC BY-SA 3.0
The church of the Emmaus Monastery
You may have seen this rather odd church which is part of the Emmaus Monastery complex on Palackého Square, and wondered what is the deal with its pointy towers. Well, let us introduce you to this monastery’s gripping history.
On a very foggy day, towards the end of World War II, the US Air Force flew over Prague in hopes of reaching the German city Dresden which they planned to attack. Unfortunately, a navigational mistake happened and bombs started flying over Prague hitting also the Emmaus Monastery, built by Charles IV in 1347. Because the roof ended up being severely destroyed, a lengthy reconstruction process began eventually resulting into the construction of this unique and modern design.
So, next time you pass by this monastery, you might want to pause for a while and examine its distinct roof. And if you ever find yourself closer to the complex, we have a little tip for you – right in front of the monastery’s church is a an open-space terrasse with an amazing view. Small tables and chairs should be there too so that anyone *wink wink* could come, relax for a bit and take in the atmosphere of wintery Prague.
Photograph: VitVit / CC-BY-SA-4.0
The Orthodox Church
This small church is situated in the Kinský Garden, hidden away from the hustle of the city. Perhaps you have already discovered it on one of your walks through Petřín (of which Kinský Garden is part) and were struck by its fairytale-like quality, so let us fill you in on a couple of interesting facts about this little gem.
Originating in the 17th century Ukrainian countryside, this church was taken apart piece by piece and transported to a different place no less than two times. On the second occasion, in 1929, Prague was its destination with the Carpathian Ukrainians wishing to present to Czechoslovaks a fine example of their traditional architecture. And so the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael ended up adorning one of Prague’s nicest gardens.
Hence, if you ever decide to get some fresh air in the Kinský Garden, you can stay a while longer and try to find this authentic piece of Ukrainian folk architecture. You will be surprised how well it fits into the surroundings (especially now during winter time), with its greenish sinking roof tiles and a gloomy, fantastical vibe.
Photograph: Ludek / CC BY-SA 3.0