Planning on Visiting the St. Vitus Cathedral? Here Are Some Things to Know.
The St. Vitus Cathedral is considered one of the most important sights in Prague. It’s the largest and most important church in the city and has been witness to the coronations of Czech royalties. This Gothic church is recognized as a spiritual symbol of the Czech state.
A Brief History of the St. Vitus Cathedral
The cathedral’s construction began in 1344 and took almost 600 years to complete. One of the reasons for the delays in its construction was the Hussite Wars in 1419. Another incident, a huge fire in 1541, rendered the cathedral only partially finished for the next 300 years. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 19th century when the repair and construction of the cathedral were resumed and completed. In 1929, the church was finally consecrated.
Within the cathedral, you can find the St. Wenceslas Chapel and the tomb of St. Wenceslas, who is considered the first Czech saint and the Czech state’s patron saint. You can also find the Art Nouveau stained glass windows designed by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. Also housed within the cathedral is the Crown Jewels Chamber, where the crown jewels of the Czech kings lie. Note that this area is the least accessible of all areas within Prague Castle.
Also in the cathedral is the Royal Mausoleum, wherein sits the royal crypt. Interred there are members of the Czech royalty and patron saints, including St. Vitus.
How to Get There
There are several ways to get to the cathedral. Here are some of them:
- The easiest route
Take the tram no. 22, and stop at Pražský hrad. Turn left and walk for around 5 minutes until you reach the Prague Castle courtyard.
- Requires some walking
Alternatively, you can take tram no. 22 to Pohorelec. Walk down the hill, which takes around 10 minutes, until you end up in Hradčany Square. To enter the complex, go through the IV. Courtyard (4th Courtyard).
- A relatively challenging route
If you want to take in the sight of the area before arriving at the Prague Castle complex, then you should take the tram no. 22 all the way to Malostranské náměstí, or the Lesser Town Square. Once there, you need to go to Nerudova street, then to Zamecka street. After 15 meters, take a left to Thunovska street. You need to climb up some steps to get to Hradčanské náměstí (Hradčanské Square). You can find the entrance via the IV. Courtyard. This route takes around 15 minutes.
Other tram lines you can take to Malostranské náměstí include tram lines 12, 20, and 23. You can also take bus line no. 192.
- An alternative way
An alternative would be a shorter route via the Old Castle Staircase.
You need to take metro line A (green line) or the following tram lines: 5, 12, 18, 20, 22, and 23. If you’re taking tram no. 22, follow the tram line, and after 100 meters, turn left to get to the Old Castle Stairs. Then climb up the stairs to reach gate Na Opysi.
- Through the Royal Garden
Take tram no. 22 or 23, and stop at Královský letohrádek. If you’re going through Mariánské hradby street, you’ll need to pass by U Prašného mostu street to get to the second and third courtyards. This route will take around 15 to 20 minutes.
Note that this can only be accessed during the summer season.
Other Things You Should Know Before Visiting
The St. Vitus Cathedral is a part of the Prague Castle complex. As such, you can find it at Pražský hrad – III. nádvoří, 119 00 Praha 1 – Hradčany. If you want to learn more about the Cathedral of St. Vitus, you can visit its official website, which is available in Czech, English, and French. On the website, you can conduct a virtual tour, so you can better plan your visit to the cathedral.
The cathedral is open from Monday to Sunday. Its opening hours may vary, especially when masses are being held. The latest possible entry into the premises is 20 minutes before closing time, which may vary depending on the season. To stay updated, you can check the cathedral’s opening hours for the winter and summer seasons. Lastly, before visiting, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the cathedral’s visiting guide.