The Church of St Nicholas, the most famous Baroque church in Prague, stands along with the former Jesuit college in the centre of the Lesser Town Square.
Today’s Church of St Nicholas is one of the most valuable Baroque buildings north of the Alps. Construction lasted approximately one hundred years, and three generations of great Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law – worked on the church: Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago. Although the church underwent certain developmental transformations, the resulting building is an architectural gem.
The diameter of the dome is an impressive 20 m; the height inside the church to the top of the lantern is almost 57 m, making it the tallest interior in Prague. Highlighting the unique aesthetic impact of the building is the direct connection of the adjacent slender belfry and the church’s massive dome. Both are 79 m tall. The belfry, which, unlike the church, belongs to the city, was completed in diminutive Rococo forms in 1751-56 by Anselmo Lurago following Dientzenhofer’s death. A vast crypt with barrel vaults that ingeniously utilised the sloping terrain was built beneath the entire ground plan of the church.
The Church of St Nicholas is a superb example of High Baroque architecture, a building that astonishes visitors with its size and monumental interior. As the most prominent and distinctive landmark in the Lesser Town, no panoramic view of the city would be complete without its silhouette below Prague Castle.