The commanding St Vitus Cathedral towers have looked down on the illustrious Prague Castle for more than six decades. First-known as "St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Adalbert Cathedral," this cathedral in Prague is the most esteemed of all in the Czech Republic. Its celebrated reputation is well represented in the incredible design and historical significance. The Archbishop of Prague takes his main seat inside the Cathedral of St Vitus. Many princes, kings, emperors, and saints were buried here in their final resting place. St Vitus Cathedral tours are one of the biggest highlights for many on Prague vacations where some of the most notable examples of Gothic-style architecture are featured.
There are several areas of St Vitus Cathedral in Prague that are featured on tours. Both the interior and exterior reveal many examples of both the history and importance of the church. Inside, there are many key aspects to explore. The heart of the church is where many St Vitus Cathedral tours begin. There are seemingly endless, attenuated aisles where many small chapels can are found. Illuminated by the shining light bestowed upon them through the brightly hued windows are numerous holy motifs. The center-point of St Vitus Cathedral tours is most certainly St Wenceslas Chapel, a fourteenth-century addition created by King Charles IV in honor of St Wenceslas, the patron of the Czech nation. The chapel is reputed for affluent decorations and adornments. The collection of stained glass is marked as one of the best in eastern Europe.
The Royal Crypt and mausoleum are yet another of the most important stops inside the Cathedral of St Vitus. Situated ahead of the church's main alter, this stately mausoleum is where many kings of Bohemia were entombed. It is also houses the tombs of Maximilian II, a holy Roman emperor, Austria's Ferdinand I, and his wife Anna. Lying underneath the mausoleum is the Royal Crypt which contains the graves of many revered figureheads. They include Charles IV, four of his wives, George of Podebrady, Wenceslas IV, and Ladislas the Posthumous.
From the south side of the exterior, Zikomond, the largest bell in the nation can be seen sitting up in the grand Bell Tower. The Gothic elements on this side of St Vitus Cathedral—designed by Peter Parler who also designed and oversaw the construction of the Charles Bridge—are most impressive and reveal the ornate craftsmanship of the design. One of the top attractions from the south angle is the Last Judgement, a magnificent mosaic. Behind it is a history of more than six centuries. It is reachable from an area called the Golden Portal, a section that used to be the main entrance. This area is a feature on St Vitus Cathedral tours. On the west side, visitors can walk from the second to the third courtyard where the newest main entrance is found. This section of the Cathedral of St Vitus constitutes the most current area, built throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The section is also branded by the Rose Window, a Gothic design that was inspired by some of the more famous churches in Paris.
Transportation to St Vitus Cathedral can be arranged easily by taxi or by riding the local tram from the Malostranska metro station. St Vitus Cathedral tours can easily be arranged through many Prague hotels, tour agencies or even by joining a group upon arrival in off season. The cathedral is open year round but be sure to check opening and closing times as they change in different seasons. There is no entrance fee to pay. Anyone hankering to climb the almost 300 steps to the Bell Tower should note it is only possible in better weather conditions. After a cathedral tour, take some time to visit some of the attractions near St Vitus Cathedral such as the Prague Castle and Church of Our Lady Victorious.