Architecture Around the World

St. Nicholas Church
Lesser Town Square (Little Quarter Square), Prague, Czech Republic



Primary architects:

Christof and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer

Dominant style:

High Baroque

Companion page: Interior photos

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information



Dome: Baroque style ...
Slim bell tower: Rococo style

Round windows are an archetypal Baroque form

Baroque style copper cupola and window surrounds

St. Nicholas in the niche

Façade: High Baroque style

Baroque style window surround

Bellflowers draped over shell




Situated in Lesser Town is St. Nicholas Church, whose robust dome and thin bell-tower are an inseparable part of the Prague Castle skyline. It belongs among the leading Baroque constructions in Europe and is usually defined as being the most beautiful building of Czech baroque. It was built at a time when Prague was in the process of undergoing prominent changes, when during the second half of the 17th century the existing Renaissance style was replaced by the Baroque.

The Church of St. Nicholas is erected in the center of Lesser Town, where the Parish Church of St. Nicholas stood as early as in 1283 and where a marketplace was established along with the small Romanesque Church of St. Wenceslas during the middle ages. Building began in 1793 and finished in 1761.

It is the acknowledged masterpiece of of father-and-son architects by Christof and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, Prague's greatest proponents of High Baroque, although neither lived to see the completion of the church

Completion of the property was delayed for 50 years due to insufficient funds, the Black Death (1713), and to war events between 1741 and 1744.

Completion of the church stayed within the family. After the death of Dientzenhofer, junior architect Anselmo Lurago completed the building. He created the upper part, a slim bell tower in Rococo style, which has the same height as the dome - 74 m.

Photos and their arrangement © 2008 Chuck LaChiusa
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