Saturday, August 1, 2015

Prague, Czech - St. Vitas Cathedral Exterior - Third Castle Courtyard

We left the cool interior and walked around the corner to view the west facade and enter the "Third Castle Courtyard".

 We were close to the building so I was able to get a sharp angled photograph of the round "Rose".  It was built between 1873 and 1929 and designed by Frantisek Kysela and depicts biblical scenes.  It is easier to see from the inside on this post:
What a surprise to see an obelisk here.  It was designed by Josep Plecnik in 1928 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia independence.  The architect wanted this to be made from a single piece of granite (doesn't everyone?) but the first one broke during transportation. The second one made it from the quarry to this site in one piece but a part of the top broke during erection (RATS!!).  Height is 15.5 meters (about 50 feet 10 inches) and 112 tons.

The building with the pink sections is "The Old Provosty", the former seat of the Prague bishops.
 The clock tower is the tallest of all of the cathedral towers.  It can be seen from all of Prague.  For magnificent views of Prague, climb the 297 steps to the top. You can also see the largest church bell in the tower.  The bell's name is Sigismund bell.  It weights 18 tons, was made in 1549 by Tomas Jaros and has been in the tower since the 16th century until today without breaking.  (Note: I can't find a reference that defines "Sigismund Bell" other than to say that there is one in Krakow.  Photos of both show a large cast bell with decorative inscriptions on the outside.  It was named after a a king that commissioned it.  Do you know about this bell? Put info in the comments, please.)

If you are interested in hearing the bells, listen to this YouTube video.  It is not my recording and is a great sound. .  The link will open in a different page. You should be able to listen to the bells while you read the rest of this post!
 The west facade is done in a neo-Gothic style

The courtyard was very easy to walk on.
Flying swooping things to be able to make the inside so impressive.

The most remarkable part of the tower is the top.  Most of the tower (and the cathedral) is done in a Gothic style.  The upper part is Renaissance style and topped by a baroque dome.

 Baroque domes.

The Golden Portal was the main entrance for the early life of the cathedral.  Bohemian royals entered through this portal on coronation day.

The mosaic above the door was made by Venetian artisans in the early fourteenth century.  It depicts The Last Judgement.  Mosaics like this are rare outside of Italy.  It is made from one million glass grits with more than 30 color shades.
 The colors are amazing and bright.  But it hasn't always been this beautiful.  There was a recent restoration to bring the color back out.  CLICK here to open a separate page and read about the restoration process.  This closeup is of Christ in the center surrounded by angels.
 Kneeling Czech saints.
 Dead rising from the graves.
 Archangel Gabriel driving the sinners away to hell.

Very cool fountain as we left the Third Castle Courtyard.

For future print reference, this is the link to "The Last Judgement" restoration story:
Source for info about the mosaics:
Cathedral Info:
Obelisk source:

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