Prague Architecture

The glorious city of Prague showcases a myriad of architectural styles, coexisting side by side in the compact capital, just waiting to be explored and studied. The city is truly a pleasure for all, historians, tourists, and especially students of architecture; Prague is literally a textbook of styles throughout the centuries. Most of these architectural gems have been meticulously renovated and restored, with the most painstaking level of attention and love. These buildings, after all, are a visual history of Prague; a history that at once deserves undivided attention and respect, and these magnificent palaces, castles, and buildings will impress and imprint their legacy on any worthy observer.

  • Prague Architecture | Romanesque Romanesque

    Romanesque architecture means, quite literally, architecture descended from Roman times. Romanesque architecture was the style of Europe in the Middle Ages, inspired by the classical civilizations of antiquity, and which would bloom into the Gothic style in 12th century France. Characteristics of Romanesque architecture feature a blending of Roman and Byzantine styles, wide massive walls, mighty towers, round arches, ornate colonnades, cross vaults and solid piers. Buildings constructed in the Romanesque style are simple and symmetrical.

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  • Prague Gothic Architecture Gothic

    Gothic architecture originated in France in the 12th century and lasted in Europe until the 16th century and then experienced resurgence in the 18th through 20th century England, mostly due to structures of churches and university buildings. The architectural characteristics of the Gothic style include flying buttresses, pointed arches, and ribbed vaulting, the engineering feats that increased the size of the colorful stained glass windows that are such an important feature in Gothic churches. And let us not forget the majesty the Gothic structures displayed and still display to this day; said to install fear and awe in the worshipper,...

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  • Renaissance Architecture in Prague Renaissance

    The architecture of the fabled Renaissance, which occurred between the early 15th and 17th centuries, was brought to light by the genius of Filippo Brunelleschi and his awe-inspiring dome in Florence. The style spread rapidly across Italian towns and then to France, Germany and surrounding countries, England and even Russia. In a conscious effort to revive elements of the classical Greek and Roman cultures, Renaissance architecture returned to symmetry, proportion and geometry while using orderly columns and pilasters, domes, and niches. Another characteristic of Renaissance architecture is sgraffito, as the methods were similar to those of the fresco. Sgraffito was...

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  • Prague Baroque Baroque

    Baroque architecture was born in early 17th century Italy from the humanist forms of Renaissance architecture and grew into a grand triumph expression of the Catholic Church and State. The main characteristics of Baroque architecture include the use of florid sculpture, color, light, shade, trompe l oeil paintings, colorful frescoes, and gilded everything with grand intensity. While the cultural movement of the Renaissance was commissioned and showcased by Italian nobility, Baroque architecture showed the power, glory and wealth of the Catholic Church, a sure Counter-Reformation attack. Baroque design first appeared in churches, but by the mid 17th century this grand...

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  • Prague Rococo Rococo

    Rococo came about in late 18th century Continental Europe as the late Baroque style fused together with French elements. The word Rococo comes from the Italian Barocco or Baroque combined with the French rocaille, or shell. The main characteristics of Rococo are shell like curves, elaborate, ornate decorations featuring motifs and asymmetrical scrollwork, and an overall complete feel, as rooms were decorated as total works of art combining fancy furniture, sculptures, tapestries, decorative mirrors, reliefs and wall paintings. Rococo was replaced by the neoclassic style.

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  • Prague Empire Style Classicism and Empire Style

    After the Napoleonic Code riveted France, architecture in the 18th century was influenced as well. The style, heavily based on the architecture of the Roman Empire, was hugely popular at the time with architecture in the United States of America, specifically with government structures, such as the Capital building. It was said, just as Napoleon had liberated the people of Europe with his new code, so did the architecture liberate buildings from the overly ornate Rococo of the 1700s. Classicism or Empire style was seen as the architecture of the people, not overly pretentious but balanced, serious and sober, architecture...

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  • Prague Historicism Historicism

    Historicism in art and architecture is the deliberate regression to the past and the use or revival of architectural and historical styles in modern buildings or works. Often criticized for stepping back in time rather than moving forward with modernized styles, Historicism is the finale of Classic architecture and more often than not, was compiled of buildings with a exaggerated mixture of different architectural styles from the past; the result was usually awkward chaotic buildings. Historicism, a rekindling of romanticism may have been regarded as a devaluation of the up and coming modern, but did indeed leave behind some beautiful,...

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  • Prague Moorish Revival Moorish Revival

    Due to the Romanticism movement, Europe and America came to be fascinated with anything Orient, especially in Art and architecture. The revival was most popular during the middle of the 19th century, with synagogues being built in Europe, while America produced neo Moorish theaters, although the structures were used differently, one for worship, the other for entertainment, no significant difference architecturally was found in the Turkish or Andalusian motifs. The city of Prague has two significant, gorgeous Moorish revival buildings.  

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  • Prague Art Nouveau Art Nouveau

    The Art Nouveau movement brought a new style to visual arts and architecture in Europe and Prague. It was developed by a brilliant and energetic generation of artists and designers, Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) being the most distinguished Czech visual artist of the Art Nouveau movement. Art Nouveau designers believed Art should work in harmony to create a total work of art in buildings, furniture, textiles, clothes, and jewelry; all should conform to the principles of Art Nouveau and Art should strive to be a part of everyday life. Art Nouveau was characterized by flower and leaf motifs intertwined with lovely...

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  • Prague Cubism Cubism and Rondocubism

    Although Cubism was first visible in the late paintings of Paul Cezanne, it was not until 1908 in Paris when the world was exposed to the term Cubism. Due to a startling exhibition by Georges Braque in November of 1908, the term Cubism was coined thanks to art critic Louis Vauxcelles, who described what he saw as geometric schemas and cubes. Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism gained popularity and gained social status in Europe during this time with Pablo Picasso being the most recognized Cubist involved. Parisian artists produced a prolific number of works during Cubism, but there was one specific...

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  • Prague Functionalism Functionalism

    Functionalism by definition is the idea that architects must design a building or structure based on what the purpose of that building will be, nothing more, no grand ornate detail, just clean lines. The three classic goals of architecture are utilitas, venustas, and firmitas, or utility, beauty, and firmness. The Functionalists believed that if the functional aspects of a building were fulfilled, then the natural architectural beauty would shine through. The phrase, form ever follows function, made famous by Louis Sullivan, emphasized that the function of a building, not the ornaments, was where the true beauty would be found (strange...

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  • Prague | Joze Plecnik The Architecture of Joze Plecnik

    Joze Plecnik, the Slovenian born architect left a legacy in the city of Prague, even though he was only responsible for two projects, however, they were major projects, and his legacy is priceless. Plecnik studied under the famous architect Otto Wagner from 1894 to 1897 in Secessionist Vienna. After finishing his studies, Plecnik practiced architecture in Vienna for 10 years, having completed famous projects such as the Zacherl House and the Langer House, both combining elements of the Secession with the Modern. Plecnik moved to Prague in 1911 and begin teaching at the Arts and Crafts college, inspiring young Czech...

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  • Prague Communist Architecture Communist Era

    Architecture in the Communist Era has been described either as grandiose (Stalinist architecture), or concrete and gray. Some people simply cannot stand it, resent it really, while others (usually westerners who did not have to live in a Communist State) deem it exotic. You be the judge. Just take one look around at the surrounding structures of Prague, the panelaky, otherwise known as a concrete jungle, and see how you feel about Communist era architecture. Sure some of the grandiose places or palaces built for the politicians are lovely (such as the Crowne Plaza Hotel), but the concrete housing projects...

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  • Prague High Tech High Tech

    High Tech architecture developed in the 1970s, with other titles such as Late Modernism as well as Structural Expressionism. Technology and industry combined together with the design of the building; characteristics of High Tech architecture include, glass walls, steel frames, prefabricated components, and a dominant presentation of technical and functional elements.

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  • Prague Post 1989 Post 1989

    During the era of Communism, little was done architecturally except the surrounding of the lovely city of Prague with the unfortunate mass produced panelaky. After the fall of the Iron Curtain a building boom occurred in the Czech Republic, continuing to this day. Numerous malls and business headquarters have popped up all over the city, some blending in with the old architecture and some sticking out like sore thumbs. Only a handful of daring controversial designs have graced Czech soil, hopefully there will be more to come in the future.

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