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Architectural Styles in Prague

St Vitus Cathedral Prague
St Vitus Cathedral
Credit: Alvesgaspar / CC BY-SA 4.0

Prague has many historical facades to its credit. Different heritage sites display various styles of architecture, ranging from Baroque, Renaissance to Cubism. This legacy has been left to Prague through its development over hundred years.

Romanesque architecture means the style that has the characteristic of the Roman times. The typical features of this style of architecture are grand towers, round arches, giant walls, solid piers, ornate colonnades and cross vaults. The construction of these buildings is generally simple and asymmetrical. 

Art-Noveau was a new movement that tried to erase the line between fine and applied arts. The belief of Art-Noveau artists was that art should be a part of everyday life. Alfons Mucha is considered to be the father of the Art-Noveau movement in Prague. This style features leaf and flower motifs, intertwined with beautiful ladies and use of a modern production method.

The baroque style of architecture originated in Italy in the early 17th century. It featured florid sculpture, colour, light, shade, colorful frescoes with everything gilded. This style mostly featured in Catholic Churches, but soon spread throughout Europe in palaces as well as stately homes.

The Rococo style came about through a fusion of the Baroque style combining with French elements. The word Rococo originates from the Italian word Baroque and the French word rocaille, meaning shell. This style features shell-like curves, with intricate motifs and designs with elaborate scroll work.

The Renaissance style was an effort to revive classical Greek and Roman culture. This style features a return to proportion, geometry, and symmetry with orderly niches, domes, columns, and pillars. The sgraffito was the trademark for this style of architecture.

The characteristic features of Gothic architecture are towering spires, flying buttresses and massive stained glass windows. These majestic buildings represented the power of the Church and the Christ.

The Functionalism style of architecture was based on the principle that the purpose of a building is its function and not ornamentation. This resulted in clean lines, with designs aligned to serve the function of the building.The phrase, 'form ever follows' was made famous by Louis Sullivan.

Cubist architecture is characteristic of geometric schemas and cubes. The Czech Republic is the only place you will find Cubist and Rondocubist architecture.Though Cubism was practiced in many areas of art, it only flourished in the Czech Republic in terms of architecture.

Historicism was a deliberate effort to use the architectural styles of the past on modern buildings. The use of different styles from the past in modern structures resulted in awkward buildings. However, it also left behind some beautiful buildings.

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