Malá Strana is dominated by the huge green cupola of St Nicholas Church, one of Central Europe’s finest baroque buildings. (Don’t confuse it with the other Church of St Nicholas on Old Town Square.) On the ceiling, Johann Kracker’s 1770 Apotheosis of St Nicholas is Europe’s largest fresco (clever trompe l’oeil techniques have made the painting merge almost seamlessly with the architecture).
The building was begun by famed baroque architect Kristof Dientzenhofer; his son Kilian continued the work and Anselmo Lurago finished the job in 1755. Mozart himself tickled the ivories on the 2500-pipe organ in 1787, and was honoured with a requiem Mass here (14 December 1791). Take the stairs up to the gallery to see Karel Škréta’s gloomy 17th-century Passion Cycle paintings and the scratchings of bored 1820s tourists and wannabe Franz Kafkas on the balustrade. See the website for the church's program of classical music concerts.
You can climb the church’s bell tower via a separate entrance on the corner of Malostranské náměstí and Mostecká. During the communist era, the tower was used to spy on the nearby American embassy – on the way up you can still see a small, white cast-iron urinal that was installed for the use of the watchers.