With its gleaming, 40-meter green cupola peeping above the roofline of Prague’s Staré Město (Old Town), the Neo-Classical church of St Francis of Assisi was designed by Burgundian architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey and consecrated in 1688. Steps away from the city’s iconic Charles Bridge, it replaced the original Franciscan church built in 1270. Although in need of a good clean on the outside, the marble interior of the church is a masterpiece of frenzied Baroque frescoes, including a rare series depicting The Last Judgment by Czech artist Vaclav Vavrinec Reiner that smothers the domed cupola; he also painted the portraits of the church’s patrons covering the pillars in the cross-shaped nave.
The other major artist on show in the church is fellow Czech Johann Christoph Lischka, who was responsible for the angels on the ceiling of the presbytery as well as the Stigmata of St Francis of Assisi adorning the main altar.
St Francis of Assisi boasts the second-oldest organ in Prague, a massive gilt affair played by both Mozart and Dvořák, albeit a couple of centuries apart. Today this Roman Catholic church is one of the city’s most popular venues for classical, Baroque and jazz concerts led by performers from the renowned Czech Opera and Orchestra.
The church is located at Křižovnické náměstí 3 and is open daily from April through November from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Metro A and Tram 17 can be taken to Staromestska. Admission to the church is free; concert tickets dependent on events.