Church of Our Lady before Týn

Prague, Czech Republic

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.

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Details

Founded: 14th century
Category: Religious sites in Czech Republic

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Stanislav V (18 months ago)
Second most beautiful place after the castle. Free entry. Just make sure to visit during opening hours as it shuts in the afternoon.
Chellsey Phillips (19 months ago)
Beautiful, very peaceful inside. Arrived around 1630 and enjoyed the amazing inside until closing. Later we went back out. It was dark and I stopped to look at a shrine by the back side of the church. 3 men approached me with black masks and I ran off. Be sure to stay safe and remain in groups.
Christian So (19 months ago)
I caught the Royal Orchastra perform here, and it was disappointing. Half the performance was the pipe organ and the sound was quite grating by the end. The Soprano was amazing though. The church itself was nice, and nice to photograph from the outside, maybe from the above the clock tower.
István Kiss (19 months ago)
Prague is one of the most beautiful city in Europe. This is where the modern meet with the old, some sights kicking back to the medieval times. When you first enter to the Old Town Square the view is gonna be breathtaking. It’s nice to see the government spend a lot of money to renew the historical breakground of Prague. I really enjoyed my first time in Prague and I’m definitely come back as soon as possible!
Linda Hamilton (2 years ago)
It is lovely. Very very ornate, gold leaf statues everywhere. Many paintings. Can stand near the altar for a long time and not look at the same thing twice. Well worth the time and I certainly didn’t see any “forced donation” as was implied in another review.
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