St. Vitus' Church in Český Krumlov is together with the castle an architectural landmark of the town. The church was built on the site of an older building around 1400. The consecration was carried out in 1439. Around 1500, the burghers built a large music gallery in the western part of the church, and further important remodelling followed in the Baroque period. Apart from other things, a new sacristy was built on the southern side of the church, and the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk was constructed at the expense of prince Franz von Schwarzenberg and his wife Eleonore Amalie in 1725 - 1726. Neighbouring it, the originally medieval Resurrection Chapel was remodelled in the 18th century. The church got new altars and other furnishings in the Baroque period too.
The architectural and artistic development of the church was finished by Neo-Gothic remodelling at the end of the 19th century. Since that time, only repairs and restoration work have been executed in the church. A more important change was made in the interior of the northern sacristy, where St. Wenceslas’ Church was established in 1997.
The inner space of the church has the form of a three-nave hall, which is typical of high and late Gothic periods. Almost the entire space of the church can be observed from one place; the height, width and length of the church are harmonically composed thus making up a unified and equally illuminated whole. The presbytery is closed up with the tracery vault constructed according to the example of the church in Milevsko. The tracery vault bears the coat-of-arms of Linhart of Aldeberg, who is believed to be the originator of the project. The vault in the side naves is a simple cross vault with masoned ribs.
The early Baroque high altar comes from 1683 and was made at the expense of Prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg and of his spouse Marie Ernestine née von Schwarzenberg. Their joint coat-of-arms is found in the middle of the altar. The high altar painting depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary, and the upper one above it the Coronation of St. Vitus. The altar is completed by statues of saints.
The side altars of St. Francis Xavier and the Virgin Mary in the main nave were built in the years 1897-1898 in the Neo-Gothic style. The Rococo pulpit is decorated with a relief of the Annunciation and a statue of Christ.
There are two wall paintings in the left nave. The right hand side painting from the mid-15th century depicts St. Agnes of Rome, St. Elisabeth, St. Barbara and St. Catherine. The painting on the right, which is a little older, depicts the Crucifixion with St. John, Virgin Mary, St. Ursula, another saint and two kneeling donors.
Adjacent to the left nave, the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk was built in 1726, in which hearts of several members of the Schwarzenberg family are kept. The altar in the chapel with the painting of St. John of Nepomuk comes from 1725.
There are tombstones from the tombs of Wilhelm of Rosenberg and his third wife Anna Maria von Baden put onto the wall on the sides of the entrance to the chapel. Originally, both of them were a part of a monumental tomb established in the presbytery of the church in the late 16th century. Next to the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk is the entrance to the Resurrection Chapel, which was built in the Middle Ages and later remodelled in the Baroque style. Its walls were decorated with wall paintings by František Jakub Prokyš in 1777.
The small Baroque organ above the main entrance to the church comes from 1716, and the main organ was made in 1908 in the romantic Neo-Gothic style by the Prague organ maker Heinrich Schiffner.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.