Prague Minos Guide

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13. - 15. století


A significant architectural style of the top middle ages
Significant photo
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If Romanesque architecture is characterized by austere and monumental structures, then the aesthetic qualities of Gothic architecture is the fruit of a specific structural development: the ribbed vault. Romanesque churches had solid stone vaults. These were extremely heavy structures and tended to push the walls outward, which could lead to the collapse of the building. In turn, walls had to be heavy and thick enough to bear the weight of the stone vaults. Early in the 12th century, masons developed the ribbed vault, which consists of thin arches of stone, running diagonally, transversely, and longitudinally. The new vault, which was thinner, lighter, and more versatile, allowed a number of architectural developments to take place. The Gothic style came into Prague approximately in the 13th century.
The first Gothic wave in Prague is represented by the St. Agnes of Bohemia Convent or by the Old-New Synagogue. Even though both structures belonged to different religious designs, they were most likely built by the same workshop.
The high Gothic period came to Bohemia after 1300 and was closely connected

to the Luxembourg dynasty. The House u Kamenného Zvonu at the Old Town Square is a good early exemple of what was to come, it was constructed during John of Luxembourg´s reign and the palace was most likely used by the royal family. The real peak of Gothic architecture in Prague was during the reign of Charles the Fourth, who founded St. Vitus Cathedral, a new stone bridge, and the New Town. The urban structure of the New Town is still intact today. Those heydays came to an end when the Hussite wars and the destruction that goes with it came about.
Last but not least, the Gothic period that developed during the Jagellon dynasty reign is noteworthy. The refined circular vaults of Vladislavský Hall, built at the end of the 15th century by Benedikt Ried, overshadows everything in Prague built until that time. The classic architectural forms of the windows in the Vladislavský Hall were created by the same architect in 1493, and they were the first indication of the Italian Renaissance north of the Alps. This is a unique display of two different worlds meeting in one hall: Gothic and Renaissance.


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