The Church of St. Nicholas in Malá Strana (Czech: Kostel sv. Mikuláše) is a superb example of late Baroque architecture that amazes thousands of visitors and worshippers every day with its grandeur and wonderful interior decoration.
It is certainly the most majestic building in the Lesser Quarter, as well as one of the most important Baroque buildings in Central Europe, and its enormous green dome is an undisputed landmark in the Prague skyline.
Construction work on the Church of St Nicholas in the Lesser Quarter began in 1673 and was not completely finished until 1761. The decisive design was by the architect Kryštof Diezenhofer, but he died before finishing the work, which was completed by his son Kilian.
Step inside and be amazed not only by the immensity of the building but also by the wealth of paintings and frescoes, the curiosities surrounding it and a historic organ that was also played by Mozart.
Inside the Church of St Nicholas in Prague you can admire the largest fresco in Europe: it is the Apotheosis of St Nicholas, a work created by the artist Johanns Kracker in 1770. Thanks to a skilful use of the trompe l’oeil technique, it is almost impossible to tell where the fresco ends and where there is only wall!
Interesting yet sombre is the cycle of frescoes depicting the Passion of Christ by Czech Baroque painter Karel Škréta, which you can see in the gallery on the upper floor.
The main organ was built by the Jesuit Thomas Schwarz between 1745 and 1747, is more than six metres high and consists of more than 4000 pipes.
Wolfang Amadeus Mozart played the organ in the Church of St Nicholas during one of his stays in Prague. A Requiem Mass dedicated to him was performed in this same church on 14 December 1791, nine days after his death.
If you climb to the top of the gallery, you can take a closer look at the church’s wonderful frescoes. Going even higher, at the top of the bell tower, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city.
Organ and classical music concerts are regularly organised inside the church, as well as occasional other cultural events.
Another fresco by Karel Škréta, which you can find in the first chapel on the left, is related to a curious story.
The story goes that the artist had forbidden anyone to observe him while he was working on the fresco, but a monk, driven by curiosity, violated the prohibition and expelled the artist at work. Škréta realised this and, without saying anything, inserted the portrait of the monk spying from a column into the painting.
At the unveiling of the painting, the other members of the church community recognised the monk in the painting, and it seems that the latter was greatly ashamed. Have fun looking for the curious monk in the fresco!
The Church of St Nicholas in Malá Strana is located in the centre of Prague and is very easy to get to, recognisable even from a distance thanks to its huge green dome.
The nearest metro stop is Malostranská, a five-minute walk from the Lesser Quarter Square .
The entrance ticket can be bought directly at the church entrance.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.