In the second half of the 19th century, Smíchov as well as Karlín were ranked amongst the fastest developing Prague suburbs. New factories were being built in the area and so the number of citizens was growing. And that was the reason for building a new representative church at today’s Arbesovo Square, which was supposed to replace the church of St. Philip with its insufficient capacity. The construction unfortunately came with a price in the form of the demolition of the south wing of the baroque villa Portheimka.
The new church in Smíchov faces Štefánikova Strret. It was consecrated to the patron of Bohemia, St. Wenceslas. The three aisle neo-renaissance basilica with two towers is a great work of Antonín Barviti and his helpers, V. Midde and J. Linhart. The beautiful works of art of the exterior as well as the interior were done by significant artists of that period.
The construction of the church took about four years and the total cost was 250,000 golden coins. The building capacity was calculated at 2000 persons. The ceremonial consecration was carried out on 27th October 1885 with the presence of prominent church figures and other celebrities.
The steeples of this church are 50m in height and stands in the front on the west side of the church. They both have a square ground plan and are crosswise divided into unequal parts by several distinctive cornices. They also feature the tower clocks and marble sculpture from Ceněk Vosmík. The lower parts are then adorned with the portals above the side entrances with reliefs of St. Agnes of Bohemia and of Blessed Hroznaty made by Ludvík Šimek. Both steeples are crowned with pyramidal roofs covered with cooper sheets and featuring four sky-light windows.