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Architecture of Czech Republic

Czech Architecture - Prague
Gothic Charles Bridge

The Czech Republic's architecture is reflected in when the country rose to power and wealth. This rise to power begins during the 1200 and 1300s when Gothic architecture was in style. The country remained an influential and powerful country through the next couple centuries, meaning Renaissance and Baroque are also frequent in the region. Prague, as the capital of the country today and in years past (as the capital of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire, Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic at varying times) means that most of these artisans were brought to the capital to make the city as extravagant as the rulers could afford.

In the 1200s and 1300s the country built many towns and cities. Prague quickly sprung up, particularly in the 1300s as the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor. Much of Prague's Old Town, New Town, and Prague Cathedral, in addition to Charles Bridge were built during this timeframe as were the towns of Cesky Krumlov and Telc.

Czech Architecture - Cesky Krumlov
Gothic Cesky Krumlov

By the late 1400s the Renaissance was introduced in the region and again Prague became the recipient of most of the new style. However, the country wasn't as prosperous at this time and most Renaissance art was limited to palace buildings for the kings, such as Litomysl Castle (late 1500s) as little made its way into the city or country itself. Likewise, Baroque was introduced, but again limited in scope. The district of Mala Strana (Lesser Quarter) in Prague is predominantly in the Baroque style as are many facades in the town of Cesky Krumlov. The castles of Lednice and Valtice are also built partially in this style, although they also take influences from the neo-Gothic and neo-Classical movements, which were taking place at the time (early 1700s-1800s).

As the cities were receiving stone architecture in the various styles mentioned above, the people in general, and specifically in the villages continued to live in wooden structures. The village of Holasovice is an excellent example of this style, as much of the town was built in the 1700 and 1800s and is a sub-category of the traditional Baroque.

Czech Architecture - Prague's Old Town
Prague's Old Town

In the late 1800s and early 1900s the Industrial Revolution brought new building techniques to the Czech Republic and new freedoms to architecture. In the 1920s the Tugendhat Villa in Brno was built and is still considered a great example of architecture from this time period in Europe. However, this architectural freedom was short lived as the country fell under communist rule for much of the 1900s. Under communist leadership, the Czech Republic received its share of Soviet-styled buildings, however not to the extent many other countries in the region did. Most of these building were constructed to be used as housing in the cities and as factories and many remain on the outskirts of nearly every large city today.

Through all these movements, Prague has remained the capital of the region, no matter what name the country went by at the time. This influence, power, and wealth has made the city the best example of Czech architecture and one of the greatest architectural cities in Europe as it truly has examples from every architectural style.

This page was last updated: March, 2013