The long history of the Church of St. Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad starts after the year 1070, when king Vratislav I founded the chapter house here. The construction of the capitular church also started at that time. It was a three-aisle basilica with arcade forecourt and with a crypt. Since the 11th century it was used as a burial place for monarchs of the Přemysl line. The church suffered fire damage in 1249 but was consequently repaired.
The church was almost completely demolished probably in 1370 and replaced by a three-aisle basilica with a number of rectangular chapels along the sides of the lateral aisles. The basilica was repaired in 1495 and during the next renovation in 1565 newly vaulted. The capitular church was extended with a new presbytery at the end of 16th century and with a new vestry at the beginning of 17th century. The extensive reconstruction of this building was carried out in 1723 – 1729 probably using the construction plans of the builder František Maxmilián Kaňka. The church did not have any towers only a small Sanctus spire with bell on the roof. In the cemetery there was a detached belfry covered with onion shape dome with lantern and cross on the top.
At the end of 19th century a decision was made that the church would undergo a radical neo-gothic style reconstruction. This was carried out in 1885- 1887 through the designs of Arch. Josef Mocker. Later within the framework of this reconstruction a new facia was built together with two 58 m high towers.
The steeples are divided by cornices into five storeys. The lower floors have smaller cuspidate windows; the two highest floors have pairs of large cuspidate moulded windows. Wooden roof frames are substituted by castellated ribbed tents made of stone, which have an octahedral shape. The outside corners of the building are completed with pylons with stone roses in their top parts. Penthouses built up along the north and south sides of the steeples reach up to third floor of the building. The inside stairs leads up to the choir and higher up to the steeples.
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has long attracted artists and wandering spirits, although it was originally inhabited by prehistoric fish. Their inland sea filled the basin contained by the Tatras and Carpathian mountains, but when it eventually dried up they were forced to yield the terrain to dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and Neanderthals. In human times the Celtic tribes came to reside here, leaving remains dating back to the 4th Century B.C. Their tribal name, Boii, gives the root of the word "Bohemia". The three separate territories of Bohemia, Silesia and Moravia now make up the modern Czech Republic, which split from Slovakia in the 1993 "Velvet Divorce." Thanks to its enigmatic founder, the city of Prague derives a magnetic appeal for visionaries, scientists and astronomers. The historical figure credited with the launch of Prague is Princess Libuse, a visionary prophet and warrior who once stood atop the hill at Vysehrad and made the prophecy as follows, "I see a vast city, whose glory will touch the stars!" This indeed came to pass after she took Otokar Premysl to be her husband and King, launching the Premyslid dynasty, and leaving it to rule for the first four hundred years of Czech history. When the last Premyslid king, Wenceslas III, died without producing a male heir, the fourteen year-old John of Luxembourg came to take the throne of the Czech lands. Hot-headed John died in battle, but his diplomatic son Charles IV inherited the throne and, through keen multi-lingual savvy, managed to both keep it and earn the title "Father of the Czech Nation." Charles IV was the first of the Holy Roman Emperors here; he ruled during the height of Prague's elegance and splendour. This is the man to know if you want to understand Prague's layout. He sponsored the construction of such landmarks as the Charles Bridge, the Hunger Wall and St. Vitus' Cathedral, as well as personally designing the neighborhood called New Town (Nove Mesto) which has for its center Karlovo Namesti or Charles Square. The city displays every branch of architecture across the last thousand years, including Cubism, a style which you will be hard-pressed to find applied to buildings anywhere else in the world. Beyond the stunning visual makeup of the city, there is a wealth of nightlife and entertainment, beginning with the legendary concert halls including the Rudolfinum, National Theater, Estates Theater and the Municipal House. After investigating the Castle and Bridge, which are the most heavily-trafficked tourist areas, take a look around Zizkov and Letna, two of the cooler neighborhoods for bars and restaurants. However quiet it may seem after ten PM, Prague is alive and throbbing in an endless array of basement bars, pubs, clubs, discos and pool halls waiting to be discovered by the intrepid subterranean adventurer. To get an idea of what lies in store, check out the panoramas for Chateau and Palac Akropolis and when you're out and about, make sure you look for the stairs down to the cellar. Apart from shopping, eating, drinking and wearing out your digital camera, delve into the rich green carpet of Prague's parks, many of which lie only walking-minutes from the city center.Text by Steve Smith.