Náměstí Míru: Church of Saint Ludmila
Josef Mocker (1835-99) was the architect who, more than any other, embodied the spirit of the Gothic Revival in Bohemia. His vast legacy includes major additions to at least twenty existing buildings, among them St Vitus’s Cathedral, the cathedral church at Vyšehrad, Karlštejn Castle, and Charles University.
Of his original achievements, perhaps the best known is this triple-naved basilica of St Ludmila in Vinohrady, built between 1888 and 1892. Impressive enough from the outside, the interior is a model of nineteenth-century decorative arts, including exquisitely delicate fresco-work by the little-known Viennese painter Johann Jobst.
Saint Ludmila, to whom the basilica is dedicated, was the grandmother of Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia (of ‘Good King Wenceslas’ fame). She it was who brought up the future ruler, instructing him in language and literature and of course the principles of good government. Wenceslas’s mother Drahomíra, uneasy about his grandmother’s influence on the boy, had Ludmila strangled with her own veil. She became the first Christian martyr of Bohemia, and her remains were moved in the 12th century to St George’s chapel.
This catholic church has a strong Sunday congregation, and an excellent choir and organ. It has also starred in several films, most recently the 2006 re-make of The Omen.