St Nicolas Church, Eye-catcher in the Mala Strana District
The dome of St. Nicholas Church in Prague’s Mala Strana district is an eye-catcher. This Baroque church with a slightly Italian feel is one of the most visited churches in Prague. Do not confuse this church with the St. Nicolas Church on Old Town Square. Both host classical concerts. The dome towers over the roof tops in the district. The entrance is less impressive because the building is sandwiched between houses.
St Nicholas Church: the Building
St Nicolas Church is a monumental eighteenth-century baroque building with a flamboyant interior of golden cherubs, marble statues and the impressive mural paintings. The church is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of children, sailors, prostitutes and merchants.
St Nicholas Church: the Interior
The magnificent interior is a crash course of religious art. The painted ceiling of the nave is a masterpiece. It depicts scenes from the life of Saint Nicholas and it took the artists, Jan Lukáš Kracker, almost a decade to finish it. No wonder, because his paintings cover a surface of about 1500 m².
St Nicholas Church: the Dome
The fresco in the dome depicts the Celebration of the Holy Trinity and is by Karel Škréta, a well-known Czech portrait painter from the 17th century. The Pietà, a painting of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, was also painted by him. Also note the beautiful altarpieces and the carved pulpit.
Climb the Bell Tower
A scenic view of the buildings and houses in the Mala Strana district are your reward when you climb the 215 steps to the viewing platform of the bell tower. The 65-meter-tall tower used to be a watch tower and the watchman had to look out for fires that broke out regularly in the Medieval town. The town crier would make public announcements from the tower. During the communist regime, the tower served as an observation post for the state security service and they kept a close eye on the Western embassies in the area
The Watchman’s Quarters
Halfway up the stairs are the watchman’s quarters. It shows how the average civil servant lived at the time. His modest living conditions were compensated by a permanent job. Despite this, staff turnover among watchmen was high. Living in a tower was no fun, especially in cold winters.
The St. Nicholas Church is located in the Mala Strana district.
Tip: Climb the clock tower for a spectacular view of the city (50% discount on the ascent with the Prague Card).
Take tram 12, 20, 22 and get off at the Malostranske namesti stop. Just opposite the tram stop is a stall where you can buy trdelník, typical Prague street food that you should give a try!
Address: Kostel sv. Mikuláše / St Nicholas Church, Malostranské náměstí, Prague 1
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 8.30am-4.30pm.
Photos Marianne Crone
St Nicolas Church on old Town Square in the Stare Mesto district