11800 Prague, Czech Republic
Prague 1 - Hradcany
tel: 420 221 714 444 (Tourist Information Centre)
A Gothic work of art, St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála sv Vita) is the largest and most significant church in Prague. Commissioned in 1344 by Kind Wenceslas, the cathedral was not actually completed until the second half of the 19th century due to the Hussite War and Thirty Years' War. St. Vitus Cathedral has seen a number of royal coronations. Today, visitors can walk through the Golden Portal (south entrance) and see the Last Judgment Mosaic. Further important parts include the decorated Chapel of St. Wenceslas (Svatováclavská kaple) and the Wallenstein Chapel (Valdstejnská kaple), where the cathedral's architects lie. In front of the high alter stands the Royal Mausoleum. Underneath, the Royal Crypt houses the bodies of some notable kings and queens. Additionally, the Sarcophagus of St. John of Nepomuk has a bit of legend associated with it. Allegedly, the body was exhumed in 1721 and, shockingly, Nepomuk's tongue was still full of hot blood. This was likely a ploy to create a new legendary hero for the Czech people and it accomplished this nicely. Additionally, St. Vitus Cathedral houses the Crown Chamber, the storage room for the Bohemian Coronation Jewels. This area is not accessible by the public. Finally, the incomplete southern lookout tower, called the "Big Bell Tower," contains a Renaissance gallery and a Baroque cupola.