The church of our Lady before the Tyn is one of the most pre-eminent symbols of Prague Gothic style. As well as many other monuments in Prague, this church has a long and eventful history. The Church is separated from the Old Town Square by a row of houses. That indicates it belongs not to the square or the former marketplace, but to the complex of Tyn situated behind.
Construction of the Tyn church
The Romanesque church was mentioned in medieval sources as early as in the 12th century. Originally, the Tyn church was presumably a hospital chapel and only later obtaining an additional parish function. Its present appearance is the result of several alterations. The most significant reconstruction was performed in the 14th century, during the reign of King Charles IV – with the participation of Petr Parler‘s Royal Building Works. The construction of the church was not completed until the mid-15th century, during the rule of the last Czech King, Jiri z Podebrad. In 1679 the church was severely damaged by fire and in the course of the following reconstruction, the gothic dome of the main nave was modified in the Baroque style. However parts of the original Gothic structure have been kept.
The church of our Lady before the Tyn represented a national symbol and the main Prague sanctuary during the Hussite period. From the year 1424 it served as a place of work of the Hussite archbishop, Jan Rokycana who was later buried here.
What can you see?
The interesting features are those two twin towers. If you look at them carrefully, you find out that they are not identical. In fact, one of them is more solid and it is said that it represents the stronger side of the family, the man. The interior of the Church is actually one of the most richly decorated in Prague. The main altar painting is the work of Karel Skreta, one of the most famous of all Czech Baroque painters. The altar bears artwork depicting The Assumption of the Virgin Mary and The Holy Trinity. Noteworthy is the Gothic stone baldachin of Matej Rejsek dating back to 1493. Moreover you should not miss out one of the most famous Czech Renaissance wood-carvings. It is the work of Josef Hellich, known for his portrait of Bozena Nemcova, presently exhibited in the National Gallery. It is said that he used this portrait of the famous Czech writer as a model for some of his paintings depicting the Virgin Mary. The Church of our Lady before Tyn represents an unmissable and remarkable monument, especially after dark, when its mighty towers seem to dominate the entire panorama of old Prague.
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