Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Prague: St Nicholas Church & Sternberg Palace

Squeezed between the Vltava River and Hradčany, the Mala Strana is Prague's oldest neighbourhood. A beautiful Baroque quarter clustered around the foot of Prague Castle, ancient burgher houses, quaint cobblestone streets, elegant palaces and hidden gardens make this one of the city's most entrancing districts with St Nicolas Church and the Sternberg Palace being the star attractions. One of the most beautiful baroque churches in Central Europe with its iconic green dome and bell tower, St Nicholas has been part of Prague’s historic skyline for centuries, with famous composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart having held concerts there. Inside, a vast trompe-l’oeil fresco, gigantic sculptures, sparkling golden altarpieces, countless paintings, stucco or wooden decorative details, are one of the best examples of baroque art and architecture in Prague.

A baroque palace built between 1697 and 1707 for Count Wenceslas Adalbert of Sternberg, Sternberg Palace was one of the noble residences surrounding Prague Castle but now currently home to the National Gallery’s collection of 14th to 18th-century European art and ranks among the country’s best collections.  One of the most significant works of the High Baroque in Bohemia, the National Gallery's permanent exhibition was installed at Sternberg Palace after the original rooms and ceilings were restored to expose original frescoes and architectural detailing. The best works from the national collection, dating from ancient Rome to the end of the Baroque, are displayed on several floors of the palace, including works by Goya, Rembrandt, Rubens and Breughel, and a special exhibition 'Paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and His Circle'.

The beautiful interior is decorated with statues, paintings and frescoes by leading artists of the day

The larger than life figures of the Eastern Church Fathers gaze down

Sculpture of St John Chrysostom pointing upwards to the heavens,
one of the sculptures that stand in front of the four supporting pillars of the dome

St Nicholas has been part of Prague’s historic skyline for centuries, with famous composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart having held concerts there

The Grand Altar with statue of St. Nicholas at the top

Statue of Saint Cyril of Alexandria spearing Nestorius of Constantinople

Sculpture of Cyrus the Great who established the first Persian empire,
and respected the custom and religions of the lands he conquered

The spectacular marble pulpit from 1765 is decorated with the sculptures Allegory of Faith, Hope and Love, and the Decapitation of St John the Baptist

The majestic dome is adorned with a fabulous fresco of 'The Celebration of the Holy Trinity' by Franz Palko

Changing of the Guard at Prague Castle

Lineup outside Prague Castle

Musicians playing outside Prague Castle

Templar Knight on a break at Prague Castle!

The Sternberg Palace on Hradčanské Square with market stalls just opening up mid morning

Enormous cast iron pans of potatoes ready for the lunchtime rush

Built for Count Wenceslas Adalbert of Sternberg, The Sternberg Palace was constructed between 1697 and 1701 and is now home to part of the National Gallery of Prague’s European collections

Entrance to the Sternberg Palace exhibition of Cranach

Quiet garden courtyard of Sternberg Palace

Amid the hustle bustle of Prague Castle, there was a singular lack of crowds in the Palace garden 
and also at the Cranach exhibit

A gorgeous della Robbia on the staircase leading up to the Cranach exhibit

Prague Altarpiece central panel, fragment of St Catherine by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Workshop, 1520

St. Christina by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1520-1522

Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Workshop, 1538

Eleanor of Toledo by Agnolo Bronzino, 1539

A Scholar in His Study by Rembrandt, 1634

Beautifully restored ceiling frescoes on the Medieval floor of the Sternberg Palace

Polyptych of the Adoration and Saints by Antonio Vivarini da Murano, 1415

The Chinese Cabinet: a richly decorated chamber was part of the original furnishings 
of the Sternberg Palace and dates to 1708

The elegant wooden door entrance to Prague's Terasa U Zlatné Studne

With gorgeous views over Prague's Old Quarter and dome of St Nicholas, Terasa U Zlatné Studne is the perfect marriage of fabulous food, excellent service and breathtaking views 

Our lovely server with a delicious selection of fresh baked breads

A fabulous dried apricot and cherry bread - I just love the restaurant's attention to detail 

Amuse-Bouche of Salmon Mousse and Panna Cotta with Salmon Roe

Selection of Lettuce Salad with Caesar Dressing, Prosciutto di Parma and Garlic Croutons

Bohemian Velvety Soup Kulajda with Creamy Potatoes, Mushrooms and Poached Egg

Mushroom Risotto Carnaroli with Forest Mushrooms and Grated Grana Padano Cheese

Grilled Turbot served with Baby Spinach, Cépec Mushrooms, La Ratte Potatoes and Rosemary Sauce

Gorgeous view over picture-perfect Prague from our table

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