The Saint Vitus Cathedral is the most important Czech Catholic Church, seat of the Prague Archbishop, dominant of the Prague Castle and also the dominant of the whole Prague. The initiative to construct the cathedral came in April 1344, when the Prague diocese was elevated to the archdiocese and the Archbishop of Prague gained the right to crown the Czech King. In the same year but in autumn, the foundation stone of the cathedral was laid. The Emperor Charles knew the Gothic Paris well and he wanted the new cathedral to be a truly representative and ecclesiastical monument. Today, the cathedral has three aisles, a transept, Trifolin, and chapels surrounding the temple. The parameters of the cathedral are as follows: length 124 m, width 60 m, 28 pillars, inner arch height 33 m, height of the main tower 97 m, height of the front towers are 82 m.
Its construction started with the French architect, Matthias of Arras, who began by building the chancel on the east side. Furthermore, he managed to build the conclusion of the chorus, eight chapels and the triforium, and he started the construction the Chapel of the Holy Cross and the sacristy. After his death in 1352, the young architect, Petr Parléř from German Gmund, took over in 1356. His workshop gradually gained an exceptional reputation and later, it was one of the most important workshops in Central Europe. He continued to work and he built the most important Wenceslas Chapel, which he vaulted with techniques that had never been used before - the star-shaped vault. Next to the chapel, he built the Crown Chamber, which stored the Czech coronation jewels. He established a bell tower, vaulted the choir and continued to build until his death in 1399. After his death the work stopped and the cathedral was provisionally covered with walls.
The Prague Cathedral had a similar fate to the other European cathedrals. Due to wars, a rulers lack of interest and the insufficiency of funds, this interrupted the progress of construction for many centuries. The cathedral was left unfinished until after the year 1929 and before this, the modern completion of a royal oratory, connected with the Old Royal Palace, was built under the rule of Jagellons. It was designed by two prominent architects of the time, Benedikt Ried and Hans Spies. This was followed by the completion of the choir in the cathedral by the architect Wohlmut in the 60s of the 16th century. The Baroque roof of the bell tower dates from 1770. At first sight, the spot where the Renaissance completion connects to the original Gothic tower can be seen.
The Neo-Gothic completion of the cathedral took place between 1873-1929 and it was led by Josef Kranner and Josef Mocker. After Mocker´s death the construction was finished by Kamil Hilbert. The modern decorations of the cathedral were made by the best artists of the time, for example, by the world known painters, Max Švabinský and Alfons Mucha.