During the reign of VГЎclav I, the chaotic street development that dominated the Roman Prague had gradually shifted toward Gothic architecture at the first half of the 13th century. Within the boundaries of the Old Town (Stare Mesto), the early Gothic period was exemplified by St Agnes of Bohemia convent and the so-called Old New synagogue.
After the death of king Premysl II (Ottokar) in 1278, Bohemia became the liege of the Holy Roman Empire, whose emperor since 1273 had been Rudolph I Hapsburg. Son of Premysl II, VГЎclav II, was only seven years old at the time, but after marrying the daughter of Rudolph I he became one of the most powerful rulers in the history of Czechia. He was the one to introduce the Czech grosz, that was bound to become the European currency for the next several centuries. During his reign, Prague had gained in population thanks to the relocation of German people to the city.
By the mid-14th century, the Gothic architecture was joined by projects of the High Gothic period: Mala Strana, Hradcany and Nove Mesto. The last of the Premysl dynasty, king VГЎclav III, who was crowned after his father's death in 1305, did not rule for long вЂ“ his reign was over in less than a year, ending with his assassination. VГЎclav II's daughter, Elisabeth, agreed to marry John, the son of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Henry VII, House of Luxembourg. John has been crowned the King of Bohemia in 1310 in Prague.
Only in the time of John's son, Charles IV (1316-1378), Prague has reached the pique of its blossoming and turned into the most spectacular city in Europe. During Charles's reign, Prague became the model of the medieval architectural beauty. In the time of Charles the Fourth, Prague had been bigger than Paris and London. A one of a kind urban landscape of the Middle Ages has been preserved to this day: Prague is the only place where the whole architectural ensemble of High Gothic period can be seen as if no time has passed since the 14th century. The magnificent examples include Saint Vitus Cathedral, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, the Stare Mesto city hall with the Astronomical Clock, the Karolinum and the Charles Bridge.
The bar of the architectural mastery in court of Charles IV and his son VГЎclav IV had been raised so high that it continued well beyond the 15th century. Even after, when Prague has been engulfed by the Renaissance mass reconstruction, the medieval Gothic layout of the city has not been touched at its core. The Hussite Wars (1419-1434) hindered the development of the city. Only during the reign of Vladislav Jagello the characteristically Gothic look of Prague had been complemented by the late Gothic architecture. The Late Gothic period in Prague is embodied by the Vladislav Hall in the Prague Castle and the Powder Tower.
The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad