Exploring Prague's glistening (and empty) churches

Soaking in the glittering Catholic heritage of an atheist nation

Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic, has many nicknames––among them, "The Heart of Europe," "The Golden City," and "The City of a Hundred Spires." No matter what moniker it goes by, the city's beauty is undeniable, from the glittering Vltava River that runs through it to the historical Prague Castle that overlooks the hillside, and can be seen from the Charles Bridge. The city's biggest treasures, however, are in its cathedrals and churches—Prague owes much of its heritage to Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, a Catholic king who did not fail to commission religious architecture and ostentatious iconography throughout the city. It's ironic, then, that the Czech Republic has one of the highest, if not the highest, rate of atheism in the world.

Why is this significant? This provides the historical junkie with several questions to mull over while giving lovers of art and architecture buildings just as glittering inside as they are outside. Though they are, for the most part, empty. The possibility for exploration is limitless.

Prague's rich religious history is ingrained in the architecture of its houses of workshop––whether you admire the aesthetic or the questions these empty temple represent, here's a list to get you started in traversing the most beautiful churches in the Mother of Cities.

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