Today’s collaborative post contains contributions from bloggers that I met at TBEX Ostrava. We start off with the lowdown on some of the best Churches in Prague including St Ludmilas and the Wooden Church of St Michaels. We also then explore some fabulous Czech Churches just outside of Prague including the Sedlec Ossuary (Chapel of Bones).
The Best Churches in Prague
Of course everyone knows about and recognises Tyn Church and the Vitus Cathedral at Prague castle, but I wanted to loo deeper than that and so this article also focuses on some of the less well known Churches.
Cathedral of Sts Cyril and Methodius Church, Prague
(by Lisette Allen)
There are plenty of stunning churches in Prague each possessing its own rich history. However, the Cathedral of Sts Cyril and Methodius Church, situated on Resslova Street a short walk from contemporary architectural icon the Dancing House, was the venue in which the bloody conclusion to one of the greatest acts of resistance in wartime Europe was played out. Depicted in many films, including most recently Anthropoid and The Man with the Iron Heart, the last stand of the R.A.F-trained Czech and Slovak soldiers involved in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the third highest ranking Nazi known as the Butcher of Prague took place in the crypt of this church.
Having managed to evade arrest for months following Heydrich’s death, the resistance cell were finally betrayed by one of their own number, Karel Čurda, who led the Gestapo to their final bolthole in exchange for a vast financial reward. The stand off between the remaining seven men and the German troops lasted hours despite the disparity in numbers; the extraordinary bravery of the Czechslovak soldiers, as well as that of the priests who helped shelter them and were later executed, is commemorated in a plaque on the wall outside where the original bullet holes from the gun fight have also been preserved.
Today sts cyril and methodius Church houses a highly informative museum dedicated to these young men’s incredible heroism which can be entered free of charge. Beware though, its now a popular stopping point with tour groups so the chances of quiet contemplation are limited if your visit coincides with that of a bunch of chatty Italians!
Known colloquially as the Parachutists’ Church, this is a fascinating place which despite having lived in Prague for almost ten years, I never fail to find moving.
St. Ludmila Church Prague – Náměstí Míru Square
(by Veronika Primm, Prague local, TravelGeekery.)
The Church of St. Ludmila dominates Prague’s Peace Square, or Náměstí Míru in Czech. This is the heart of Vinohrady, a hip district still considered by many to be in the city center. And beloved by expats!
The neo-Gothic Roman Catholic Basilica was built at the end of 19th century and reconstructed a hundred years later. The triple-nave structure features a stunning interior with stained glass windows depicting religious icons and lots of sculptures, wall paintings and delicate frescoes.
Every autumn, St Ludmila Church Prague comes to life with unique videomapping sessions performed as part of Prague’s Signal festival – a festival of lights of some sorts.
Why do I love this Church, apart from because I simply live nearby and see it every day? My cousin got married in the church. And so did her father-in-law and grandfather-in-law. Perhaps even our great grandfather-in-law! 🙂
You can see the Church’s 60m tall towers from nearly anywhere in Prague, as they form a part of the typical Prague cityscape. Sometimes people confuse the towers with those of the Vyšehrad Cathedral – but that one stands on top of a hill.
St Ludmila Church Prague is a popular photo background for visitors to Vinohrady. You can enter only when there’s a mass (on Sundays), but the outside is already majestic enough. Plus, there are often markets held in front of the church. In winter, there’s one of the nicest Christmas markets held at the Peace Square.
The Wooden Church of St. Michael in Prague
(By Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan)
The wooden church of St. Michael is tucked away in Prague’s Kinsky Garden, but that hasn’t always been where it stood. The church’s original home was in the village of Velke Loucky, where it was built in the 17th century entirely out of wood in the Bojkov style. The villagers sold the church to the wealthier village of Medvedovce in 1793. It was dismantled and then reconstructed in the new location. In 1929, it was dismantled once again and moved to Prague, where it stands today as a symbol of typical popular architecture in Ruthenia. It was transported in four train cars that were especially customized for the job. The church is still used by the Orthodox community of Prague. Inside, the walls of the church are decorated with icons painted in the Orthodox style. There is a separate area for women to worship, which is called the “babinec” or “Grandma’s lounge” in the local dialect. If you’re overwhelmed by the hordes of tourists in Prague’s city center, take a walk out to this quiet, peaceful spot to commune with nature. The church is only open when there’s a mass, but you can still peek inside through the slits of the wooden windows.
Discvovering Sedlec Ossuary – The Bone Church Prague
(by Chrysoula from travelpassionate.com)
Sedlec Ossuary, or as it’s more commonly known, the Prague Bone Church, is the oldest Cistercian Monastery in Bohemia. Founded in 1142, the church is located in the town of Kutna Hora, about an hour outside of Prague. It’s said that the Abbot of the Sedlec Monastery brought a handful of soil back from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land making the Sedlec cemetery one of the most desirable burial sites in central Europe.
The chapel is decorated with the bones of somewhere between 40,000 and 70,000 human skeletons as a memento mori to those buried there, around 30,000 of which are estimated to have been plague victims. Although there have been bones in the church for hundreds of years, they didn’t come into their current decorative form until 1870 when the Schwarzenberg family commissioned woodcarver FrantišekRint to decorate the chapel with the piles of bones that were harbored in the church’s crypt.
The eerie décor consists of a chandelier made of every bone in the human body, strings of skulls and bones strung up like crepe paper at a birthday party, and the coat of arms of the patron family. The display is meant to remind the church’s visitors of the impermanence of human life and the inevitability of death.
If you enjoyed this article on the best Churches in Prague then you might also like to read about the best Churches in Czech Republic.